With the warm sun in the sky, the soft grass under our feet and the beautiful array of Summer flowers in full bloom its hard for most of us to see how anybody could not be enjoying this time of year. (Mind you, at the time of going to press who knows what the Kent weather will be like, but we can hope…) However, there are a number of health conditions made worse by the heat of Summer.
Some conditions are exacerbated by heat, some even being caused by an excess of internal heat within the body. Eczema can be particularly bad during the Summer months and a real danger period (especially for children) is the warm nights. It can be more difficult to concentrate on not scratching when half asleep, causing skin to break and be more susceptible to infection. A soothing wash with cooled and refrigerated tea of Chamomilla recutita (chamomile) and/or Mentha piperita (peppermint) may provide some relief. The latter has the benefit of also being a mild insect repellent too! Remember to keep the tea in the fridge though, and discard after 48 hours. More difficult cases may respond to a cream made from Stellaria media (chickweed) – this helps cool the skin, heal and relieve the ‘itchy’ sensation. Chronic cases of eczema may require consultation with a qualified Medical Herbalist to address the condition internally too.
Another irritating problem of the Summer is insect bites. Some lucky people just don’t get bitten… others do but only mild irritation is caused. However, some approach the Summer with dread, knowing that they will be covered in huge, inflamed bites once the insects are around. To help reduce inflammation, relieve the itch and provide antiseptic protection you can try applying pure essential oil of Lavandula officinalis (lavender). Herbal lotions are available too with a combination of ingredients should you need something stronger. If you are very prone to being bitten you might benefit from a one to one consultation with a Medical Herbalist – it may be that the toxic load of your body is too great and there may be changes you can make to make you less susceptible. An individualised prescription of herbs may be necessary to help balance your body – hypersensitivity to bites can be indicative of a poorly functioning immune system.
Lynda Jones BSc (Hons) Medical Herbalist