As a young girl, I heard experts on our old black-and-white TV say that chemicals were a marvel of the modern era.
But my family learned the hard way that harsh chemicals also contributed to my mother’s decline in health from allergies, asthma, anxiety and more. Her sensitive system needed natural products that her body “recognized and agreed” with.
Fast forward to raising my own four daughters. My husband and I realized the countless chemicals bombarding our home, food, and bathroom shelves were the last thing we needed — especially for Heidi. She was born with Down syndrome, and her fragile system had been overwhelmed after years of chemicals, surgeries, vaccines and prescription drugs. Similar to her grandma, Heidi digressed before our eyes. She was dual-diagnosed with Down syndrome and autism. It was a heart-wrenching, bittersweet and exhausting era for our family.
Our skin is our largest organ — like a huge sponge — drawing substances into our system. So when Heidi was a teenager, I found natural clinics and herbalists who helped me diligently detoxify her polluted body. We also nourished her brain with vitamins, minerals, and oils that gradually unlocked some skills and trapped emotions like a butterfly’s cocoon.
Today, she’s grown and doing well, and we’re all staying with good old-fashioned remedies that are safe, economical and surprisingly efficient. This summer we’re prepared and empowered with our natural first-aid kit. Here’s what you need to create one for you and your family.
• Aloe Vera Gel: You know it cools sunburns, but did you know it also soothes scrapes and insect bites? The aloe vera plant offers antibacterial properties so it may also be used on cuts, blemishes and eczema. It can be a shaving gel too, preventing shaving burn. Herbalists and naturopaths recommend good food grade Aloe Vera (from a health food store) to help soothe an inflamed GI tract, and it naturally contains several minerals.
• Epsom Salt: Traditionally, this was used to soak away sore muscles after strenuous work or sports. This simple home remedy is magnesium sulfate, and can also be used as a natural laxative or detoxifier. A cheap, easy way to help cleanse Heidi was having her soak in a hot bath tub with a couple of cups thrown in (for about 20 minutes). Her bio-medical doctor recommended this safe, economical method. The magnesium is calming to her central nervous system, and the sulfate gently draws out the chemicals that tend to collect in all of us.
• Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Oil: It’s an essential oil, similar to eucalyptus, frankincense, and lavender oils. My nickname for tea tree oil is “first-aid-kit-in-a-bottle.” Many studies confirm various essential oils to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, plus more — so it naturally helps our family be equipped against any “flu-bug” or illness. I keep a bottle in my purse, car and emergency packs.
• Bentonite Clay: It’s a wonderful natural remedy that is multi-purpose for internal and external needs. Adding a little water makes a helpful paste that is anti-inflammatory for most skin problems such as hives, acne and psoriasis. A lesser known method is internally, because over time, it can soothe GI tract complications of stomach and bowel issues. It gently detoxifies, as it binds and expels chemicals and harmful substances. We stir a 1/2 teaspoon into a glass of water/juice and drink it. We use Utah’s Own Redmond Clay brand.
• Baking Soda: Years ago, “soda baths” (from the bright yellow box) helped our daughters get through the chicken pox. Make a paste by adding some water and dab on bug bites, hives, and seasonal rashes. It can also reduce itching and inflammation. Baking soda baths can help in a holistic manner, in that it may help neutralizes negative “acidic” emotions. I feel more clear and balanced after a soothing soda soak.
• Coconut Oil: Research confirms coconut oil is an outstanding replacement of unhealthy fats in our diet. I also replaced chemically-laden lotions with this cheap way to soothe peeling skin, cracked heels, and remove make-up. For generations, island families knew coconut oil is also a naturally mild sunscreen to help protect the skin from the tropical sun. It is estimated at a 10 SPF protection. As an experiment, my son-in-law used coconut oil on a day at the water park, and didn’t get sunburned.
• Insect Repellent: We use a nice spray from Whole Foods of lemongrass oil, citronella oil, and peppermint oil to banish bugs. I love that the blend is chemical-free. Mosquitoes don’t like the smell of it, but we do. And if we forget it and get bitten, a little Redmond clay with water added (creating a paste) makes a natural poultice to help draw out the irritation and soothe the itch.
The above recommendations have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always use common sense.
Enjoy safe, happy times this season with your special loved ones.
Pearson is a Special Needs Emergency/Preparedness Specialist from northern Utah. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback or speaking invitations.