The Healing Homestead

Summer is upon us. We are planning our family vacations, beach time, summer gatherings, and ball games. But along with the fun comes bug bites, booboos and sun burns. No matter how we protect our children, they are, after all, children and we want them to play and have fun. As moms, we need to be prepared with remedies.

Right in our own yard nature abounds with medicinal weeds popping up. By planting our own small crop of medicinal plants like aloe vera, mints, oregano or rosemary we can be equipped to make our own homespun remedies. If you live in the country as we do, poison ivy is everywhere and someone is eventually going to get it on them (or develop a rash). Aloe vera is great to have on hand for this and many other skin issues like scrapes and cuts. You can use the leaf fresh by, cutting it open and applying it directly on the site or it may be added to lotions, creams, and salves. The rash is often healed by the next day... Other great herbs to keep on hand for poultices are St. John’s wort, calendula and arnica. [1]

Each year, I make a batch of balm for bug bites. These handy little roll-ons are great and when applied, they stop the itch. See recipe page (to be added). To help minimize the bugs, you can plant lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint and vetiver throughout the yard.

Let’s not forget the weeds as there are many that are medicinal. In your weed patch, you may find weeds such as plantain or dandelion. Both plantain and dandelion have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The greens of the dandelion is highly nutritional. Dandelion is very rich in protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B, C, D, G and E. The leaves, amazingly enough, contain 7,000 units of vitamin A per ounce. In comparison to lettuce being 1,200 units per ounce of vitamin C, and to carrot being 1,275 units per ounce is quite astounding.(5) Then there is that sticky little Chickweed also referred to as “catchweed” that is so soothing and healing to the skin. Chickweed is also full of nutrients in its sweet little tender greens and is great in salads. You can grab a handful of chickweed tops and mash them with a little water and make a mash. Place the mash in a cloth and hold to the scrapes and irritated skin as a poultice.