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Herbs Helping Summer Ailments

Thursday, 25 May 2006

HERBS HELPING SUMMER AILMENTS

Herbal help is at hand today to tackle all those annoying summer time ailments! Nicky Treacy- Kohler is back with her favourite plants that are good for seasonal problems such as sunburn, heat rashes, tummy upsets, insect bites, insomnia, hot flushes and excess sweating.

Peppermint
This herb is found most commonly as a cooling and refreshing essential oil in the shops. It has digestive, carminative and anti - nausea properties. Peppermint can be taken a number of ways.
In the summertime peppermint essential oil is good for cooling the skin, reducing redness and calming irritation and itchiness that is caused by insect bites. Peppermint oil has a fresh, sharp, menthol smell, is clear to pale yellow in color and watery in viscosity.
As a tea, it helps to ease migraine and headaches; it is good for tummy upsets, helps to prevent vomiting in nausea and flatulence.
Do not use peppermint if you are pregnant.
Chamomile
Its key actions are anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic, relaxant and carminative. It can be taken as a tea, oil and the flowers from the plant are edible and nice in salads.
Chamomile flower tea is used as a sedative and is good for insomnia and many other nervous conditions. It is good for painful swellings. It is also an antispasmodic for intestinal cramps, relieving gas pains, acts as a very mild but efficient laxative, and loosens tight muscles. It is also very good for treating headaches, fevers and colds.
A strong chamomile infusion in a bath of warm water can be used to treat heat rash, and you can make a pulp of the flower heads and water to treat sciatica and other nerve spasms such as neuralgia but spreading the pulp on the affected area.
Sage
The therapeutic properties of sage oil are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, digestive, diuretic, laxative, stomachic and tonic. Even though too high amounts of this essential oil can cause problems, it can be used with great effect on a variety of problems, as long as low percentages are used
Taken as a tea this herb is very good in the treatment of hot flushes as it is anti-hydratic, which means it prevents excessive sweating. For the treatment of flatulence a sage and peppermint tea is a good remedy.
Sage is also extremely effective in the treatment of sore throats, a hazard at this time of year when it looks warmer outside than it actually is!
Do not take sage if you suffer with high blood pressure, epilepsy or are pregnant.
Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera gel is a mixture of an antibiotic, an astringent coagulating agent, a pain inhibitor and a growth stimulator (also called a "wound hormone"), whose function is to accelerate the healing of injured surfaces. Therefore, during the summer it is perfect for treating sunburn and prickly heat.
Aloe Vera appears to speed up the healing of damaged tissue by
. Providing essential micronutrients
. An anti-inflammatory effect
. An antimicrobial effect
Aloe Vera is an aid to growing new tissue and alleviating the advance of skin cancer caused by the sun. It is a treatment for ringworm, boils, inflamed joints, scalds, itchy allergic conditions, insect stings and bites.
The aloe plant, being a cactus plant, is between 99 and 99.5 per cent water. It is a drier plant than most and usually is potted on its own.
Aloe Vera seeds are not available in this country as it's extremely hard to grow them under Irish weather conditions.
Lavender
Lavender is an aromatic, tonic herb with a sweet scent. It relaxes spasms, benefits the digestion, stimulates peripheral circulation and the uterus and lowers fever. It is anti-septic and has an anti-depressant effect.
Lavender is a small shrub with gray, downy, linear leaves with blue to violet flowers.
It can be taken internally for indigestion, irritability, anxiety, exhaustion, tension headaches, migraine and bronchial complaints.
Externally it is used to treat most type of burns, including sunburn, muscular pains, neuralgia, cold sores and insect bites. As an essential oil, lavender can be burned to help people suffering with insomnia to relax easier.

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