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Green Witch
by Jennifer Erwin

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Beltane 2004, Vol 3-3
MatriFocus, a Cross-Quarterly Web Magazine for Goddess Women Near & Far
aloe veraVacation Herbal

Summer is finally here! Now we can finally go on all those exciting vacations our families have been eagerly planning all winter long. Of course, no vacation is ever perfect. Inevitably, someone will get a sunburn, motion sickness, or some other common ailment. Luckily, with a little planning, these annoyances will not have to bring a quick end to your family's summer fun.

As you are packing for your summer trips, whether you are going across the country or just to a nearby state park, be sure you remember to bring along your emergency outdoor kit. Besides the usual bandages and whatnot that are a part of every good first aid kit, you should include a few of our natural allies as well.

Aloe Vera. Be sure that you buy a gel that is at least 99% aloe vera, and one that is not green. True aloe is clear. Aloe is one of the best treatments you can use for sunburn. Simply gently spread it over the affected area repeatedly until your skin can't soak up any more. It will quickly begin to reduce inflammation and relive pain, and it also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties. You may even decide to keep an aloe plant in your kitchen window for when you accidentally burn yourself while cooking. I don't think there's a woman I know who doesn't keep one around, just in case!

Arnica. This is a wonderful treatment for bruises, sprains, or strains. Anytime I go out hiking I make sure I have a tube with me. Like the aloe, simply apply repeatedly to the affected area until your skin can not soak up any more. If you use the salve, remember not to put it on open skin. If you hurt yourself quite badly, you may want to also take Arnica homeopathic tablets.

Ginger. Ginger is my favorite treatment for any kind of motion sickness, dizziness, or nausea. There are many ways you can use ginger to treat these ailments. Try drinking ginger tea or chewing on a piece of ginger root. If you find the taste a bit strong, instead you can eat pieces of crystallized ginger. If you know that you are going to get motion sickness when you travel, about thirty minutes to an hour ahead of time take two 500 milligram capsules of ginger.

Lavender Oil. If you chose to use lavender oil for its medicinal properties, be absolutely sure that it is true lavender and not the fake, chemically scented oil that is so common these days. True lavender oil is gentle enough to use straight out of the bottle. It is useful to speed healing in cuts and blisters. To speed healing from burns, you may add a few drops to a handful of aloe vera oil before applying it. You can also put a few drops of lavender oil on a piece of cloth and inhale to ease headaches or to treat insomnia. I have found it to be very effective myself. Of course, if I am at home I usually prefer to just light lavender candles and/or take a lavender scented bath.

Peppermint Oil. Again, be sure you get true peppermint oil and not one of the fake chemical varieties. Also, make sure that you select an edible oil. To ease heartburn, simply add a drop to a cup of water. If you prefer, you can also drink some hot peppermint tea.

Tea Tree Oil. This is a wonderful treatment for cuts and scrapes. In fact, it was the disinfectant and antibiotic used before the discovery of penicillin. You can also apply one drop to insect bites for fast relief. Just remember, tea tree oil is very strong and should be diluted prior to application. If you don't want to mess with that part yourself, you can seek a pre-diluted type at your local health food store. There are several good brands out there to select from. Out of all of the herbs listed, this is possibly the one that is the most useful. No medicine cabinet should be without it!

Even if your family is not heading out on vacation this summer, these remedies are very useful to keep in your home. After all, it never hurts to be prepared!

+ Francis, Therese. 20 Herbs to Take Outdoors. Santa Fe, NM: Crossquarter Breeze. 1999.
+ Gottlieb, Bill (ed.) New Choices in Natural Healing Rondale Press, Inc: Emmaus, Pennsylvania. 1995.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to replace the services of trained health professionals. You are advised to consult with your health care professional with regard to matters relating to your health, and in particular regarding matters that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

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