Natural First Aid for Summer

Natural First Aid for Summer

By Jane Sheppard

Summer brings plenty of opportunities for kids to be outdoors. More time in nature is healthy, but children can be vulnerable to certain hazards – sunburn, insect bites, poison oak or ivy, cuts, abrasions, and other injuries.

The good news is you don’t need to expose your kids to toxic drugs or chemicals to keep them safe and well. There are plenty of natural remedies to have on hand in your summer wellness kit. Here are some remedies you may want to include:

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a general detoxifier, and applied to an insect bite, is capable of absorbing the offending poison. Activated charcoal is an absorbing agent that comes in capsules or bulk powder. For external use, wet powder and apply as a poultice for itching, bites, stings, etc. This helps draw out toxins and reduces swelling. Internally, use 1-2 capsules (or one teaspoon in a cup of water) every hour or two for problems like diarrhea, intestinal flu, food and chemical poisoning. Charcoal absorbs the poisons that are irritating the bowel. Too much, however, may cause constipation. NOTE: If chemical poisoning is suspected, contact your doctor and poison center hotline immediately and only use activated charcoal if advised. NEVER use regular charcoal briquettes as a substitute for activated charcoal.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is soothing and healing. It is anti-inflammatory and has an anesthetizing effect on the tissues. The best aloe comes directly from a plant you can easily grow in your own home. Cut open a leaf and apply the gel generously (externally only) for sunburn and all types of burns, cuts, abrasions and other injuries.

Arnica Gel or Cream

Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that has anti-inflammatory properties and it stimulates circulation to help heal sore muscles, sprains, strains and bruises. As soon as possible following an injury that involves muscles, joints, or bruising, take Arnica 30C, two pellets every hour for three doses, then every three hours while awake for at least three days. Apply Arnica gel to the area two to three times per day. Do not apply Arnica externally to skin that is raw from scrapes or cuts.

Black Salve

Black Salve is also called drawing salve. It’s used externally to draw infection, slivers, acne, boils and warts. Apply generously and cover with a bandage.

Breast Milk

If you are breastfeeding, you have an amazing healing substance with you at all times – and it’s free! The antibodies and other healing properties in expressed breast milk can heal cuts and scrapes, prickly heat rashes, and other skin irritations. Breast milk can also be expressed directly into the eye to clear up pinkeye.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender has strong antibiotic, analgesic, antiviral, antifungal, antispasmodic, and sedative properties. It is a non-toxic antiseptic and works well on cuts, wounds, dermatitis, eczema, diaper rash, pimples and burns. Lavender repels mosquitoes and can give relief to bug bites. Apply lavender oil to a minor burn after plunging it into cold water. 10 drops of lavender oil can be added to a cool bath to soothe a minor sunburn.


Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is used externally to promote wound healing and reduce inflammation. It has antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. It has a healing effect on cuts, scrapes, bites, stings, bruises, and burns. For a wound-healing compress that is also excellent for burns and stings, use two teaspoonfuls of calendula tincture in one cup of water. It quickly soothes the pain and prevents infection. It relieves the itching and irritation of skin eruptions and diaper rash. Calendula is gentle enough to use on a baby.


Comfrey stimulates the growth of new tissue and helps heal wounds. It is sometimes used with calendula in a healing salve.

Neem oil

Neem oil is a highly effective, non-toxic, child-safe bug repellent that can also be used on open sores and wounds. Neem heals wounds, cuts, sores, poison oak or ivy, and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.

Raw Honey

Raw honey can be used as an antibacterial treatment and dressing for a minor cut or scrape. It is also great for bee stings. When a wound is covered with honey, hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced in contact with body fluids, and has an antiseptic action. Make sure the honey is raw and not processed or pasteurized.

Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy relieves stress and emotional imbalances in children (and adults!). This is a great remedy for soothing a stressed child. It’s good for stress, anxiety, impatience, irritation, agitation, tantrums, and general meltdowns. Rescue Remedy is completely safe to use for all ages.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is renowned for its antifungal and antiseptic qualities. It speeds healing and has a mild analgesic effect, reducing pain and inflammation. Tea tree oil can be used for burns, cuts, rashes, including diaper rash, psoriasis, eczema, fungal infections such as athletes foot and ringworm, poison ivy, and insect bites. It kills germs that cause acne, warts, and boils and inhibits infection.

Mix 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil with 1/8 cup of a cold-pressed “carrier” oil (sweet almond or similar oil). Apply with a cotton ball directly to the affected area. Apply 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil undiluted directly to ringworm, athlete’s foot, warts and boils. Do not apply undiluted to the face.

Witch Hazel Extract

Distilled witch hazel is a mild astringent, and has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s great for skin irritations and insect bites. It can be used as a base for diluting essential oils. Witch hazel should not be taken internally.

Where to Find Natural Remedies

I recommend as the best place to find quality natural remedies. iHerb was named the #1 online supplement store for customer satisfaction 4 years in a row! Click here to go to and a coupon for $5.00 off your first order will automatically be placed in your shopping cart.

If you like to make your own remedies, here are a few recipes:

Clay Poultice

(extracted from Herbal Healing for Children: A Parent’s Guide to Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses, by Demetria Clark)

Yield: Enough for 1 or 2 poultices

As the clay mixture dries on the skin, it pulls toxins and pus from stings and bites to keep the pain from spreading.

1 tablespoon bentonite clay
1 teaspoon echinacea root tincture
1 teaspoon chamomile tincture
1 teaspoon plantain tincture
12 drops lavender essential oil

Put the clay in the container the poultice will be stored in. Gradually add the tinctures, stirring between each addition so the clay absorbs the liquid. Sprinkle with the lavender oil, stirring to distribute it evenly in the clay mixture. Covered tightly and stored at room temperature, Clay Poultice will keep for 3 to 4 months. If the clay dries out, sprinkle it with a little distilled water to reconstitute it.

Application Instructions: For children ten years of age and older: Dab onto the affected areas, allow to dry, and wipe off with warm water.

Insect Bite Gel

(extracted from Herbal Healing for Children: A Parent’s Guide to Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses, by Demetria Clark)

Yield: About 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
5 drops lavender or tea tree essential oil

Combine the aloe vera gel and essential oil in a roll-on stick. Sealed tightly and stored in the refrigerator, Insect Bite Gel will keep for 8 months.

Application Instructions: For children 10 months of age and older: Apply to insect bites every few hours to soothe and relieve soreness.

Motion Sickness Blend

(extracted from Herbal Healing for Children: A Parent’s Guide to Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses, by Demetria Clark)

Yield: Enough for dozens of dosages

This remedy also works for adults who get carsick – adults can take the same dosage as older children.

½ cup dried chamomile flowers
¼ cup dried peppermint leaves
¼ cup dried lemon balm leaves
2 tablespoons dried hops flowers

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Stored in a sealed jar at room temperature, Motion Sickness Blend will keep for 6 months. To use, add 2 tablespoons of the mixture to 1 cup boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the herbs. Give the first dose about 30 minutes to 1 hour before a trip.


For babies six month to two years of age: Seek medical advice.
For children three to five years of age: ½ cup, 1 to 2 times a day.
For children six years of age and older: Up to 2 cups a day.

The above recipes were extracted from Herbal Healing for Children: A Parent’s Guide to Treatments for Common Childhood Illnesses, by Demetria Clark. This is an excellent book that provides many easy recipes for homemade remedies as well as great information on remedies for common childhood illnesses.




One Comment

  1. Love this book! It is a must have for every parent. Demetria Clark really makes herbalism easy for parents.

Comments are closed.