Medicinal Herbal Remedies for Summer Skin Problems

Much as we love nature, outdoor encounters sometimes put us face to face with burns, itches and ouches. These medicinal herbal remedies for summer skin problems can help.


| June/July 2006



Try these herbal remedies for summer skin problems.

Try these herbal remedies for summer skin problems.

Photo By Fotolia/Ludmila Smite

With the joy of gardening comes the challenge of fending off biting bugs, harmful sun rays and irritating plant oils, as well as healing the damage to our skin. To be well and at ease outdoors, we humans just have to be smarter than the natural forces that surround us. With a little planning and discipline—plus the tips and recipes we offer here—you can make it through this summer with minimal impact to the skin you’re in.

Herbal Remedies for Summer Skin Problems

Antiseptic Insect Repellent Skin Oil recipe
Insect Repellent Neat's-foot Oil recipe
Gardener's Foot Powder recipe
Herbal Insect Repellent Vinegar recipe
Jewelweed Vinegar recipe

Defend Your Skin

Our first line of defense is internal. Drinking lots of water will keep you hydrated in hot weather. During the gardening season, eat garlic and increase your intake of vitamin C for energy and a healthy immune system. If you notice the beginning of a poison ivy rash, or get some bug bites, use echinacea tincture for several days to boost your immune system.

Your level of protection may depend on the type of gardening you do, and the length of time you spend in the garden. Tina Marie, a full-time gardener in Arkansas, takes the more cautious approach: she applies Antiseptic Insect Repellent Oil to her entire body before dressing; wears white, long-sleeved blouses; wears trousers, gloves and boots; tucks pant legs into the tops of her boots and secures them with elastic straps that fasten with Velcro (available in sporting-goods stores); waterproofs boots with Insect Repellent Neat’s-foot Oil; dusts feet and inside of boots with Gardener’s Foot Powder; and drapes white cotton tea towels sprayed with insect repellent across the back of her neck to absorb perspiration and reflect the sun’s rays.

Susan, on the other hand, is more comfortable wearing minimal clothing and going barefoot in the garden. If you are more inclined to this relaxed approach, make sure to take plenty of showers, use protective lotions and salves, and wear a hat. When possible, work in the morning or evening rather than the heat of the day, and use Jewelweed Vinegar with insect-repellent herbs to keep biting flies and mosquitoes away.

Stop Chiggers, Mosquitoes and Ticks

It is hard to imagine anything itchier than a chigger bite. Also known as red bugs, these soft-bodied mites pester gardeners in the temperate, humid areas of the United States. As we work in the garden, chiggers climb onto our bodies, find a nice tender place and take a nip. Rather than burrowing in and taking up residence under the skin, as some believe, chigger larvae feed by injecting an enzyme into the skin. The enzyme simultaneously breaks down the skin cells and creates intense itching at the site of the bite. To kill them before they bite you, frequently brush up and down to rub the soft-bodied mites off your skin and clothing when you’re working in the garden.





elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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