Midsummer Herbal Magic
Centuries ago, Midsummer was thought to be a time of magic, when evil spirits were said to appear. To thwart them, Pagans often wore protective garlands of herbs and flowers. One of the most powerful of them was a plant called ‘chase-devil’, which is known today as St. John’s Wort and still used by modern herbalists as a mood stabilizer.
Airmid is the Celtic Goddess of Herbs and Healing. The ancient lore has it that she resides in the mountains of Ireland where she heals elves, faeries, and humans. She uses practical knowledge and magic to bring health and happiness to those she touches.
In honor of Airmid and our approaching Midsummer, this post will be dedicated to healing all the ailments of summertime: sunburn, rashes, bug bites, heat exhaustion, excessive perspiration, BO – you name it, I’ve got a remedy for it!
Thyme and Orange Peel Deodorant – Place a palm sized amount of fresh thyme sprigs and the zest of 1 orange in a jar and pour 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar over them. Cover with a nonmetal lid and steep the mix for up to 2 weeks. Shake daily. To use, soak a cotton ball in the mix and dab under your arms.
Apple cider vinegar eliminates under arm body odor when used in place of deodorant because it reduces the pH of the skin. Bacteria can’t live in areas with low pH. Try bathing in an apple cider vinegar wash twice a week. Pour 2 cups of apple vinegar in your bath. The vinegar smell is gone in minutes and you should be smell-free all day.
Sage: Herbalists suggest drinking a cup of sage tea daily to reduce sweat gland activity. This is especially true for those who perspire excessively due to tension. Use 11/2 teaspoonsful of dried sage or two tea bags in one cup of water; steep for ten minutes; drink in small doses throughout the day.
Dry dandelion flowers and leaves by spreading on a cookie sheet and baking in a very low oven (150 – 200 degrees) for up to 10 minutes. Crumble and sprinkle into a cool sitz bath (bath water to just above hip height) and soak for up to 20 minutes. Will cure any yeast infection almost instantly. (This is particularly good for summer yeast infections from excessive sweating due to heavy sports and other outdoor activity as well as diet that is perhaps too high in sugars and carbs.)
Fatigue and adrenal exhaustion:
(due to too much activity and not enough sleep – especially common with long days and short nights as well as summer vacations) Licorice made into a tea by steeping the dried herb in hot (not boiling water) for 10 minutes, strain, and then served hot or cold over ice will perk up the adrenal glands and purify the liver and kidneys.
Ginger – If bumpy airline flights and long car trips make your stomach turn, try a piece of crystallized or pickled ginger. Ginger works better than dimenhydrinate (the active ingredient in over-the-counter motion-sickness meds) at preventing and treating motion sickness, according to Brigham Young University research.
Parsley juice soothes itch of bug bites. Run a batch of fresh parsley through a juicer. Dab on the affected area with a cottonball soaked in the juice. Keep in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Make your own by mixing 1 cup of your favorite all purpose organic, body lotion with a 1/4 cup of zinc powder (can be ordered easily and cheaply online from Amazon). Tint to skin tone by mixing in organic liquid makeup. This will give you a 20 spf chemical free, inexpensive sunscreen.
Make a wash using 24 drops of lavender essential oil in 3 tablespoons of distilled water. Dab the area gently with a cotton ball soaked in the mixture.
Tea bath: drop 4 – 5 large family-sized black tea (Lipton is great for this) bags into a lukewarm bath. Steep for 10 minutes then get in and lay down in the tea bath. Soak for 20 minutes. The tannins in the tea will neutralize the sunburn, draw out the heat, and tamp down the pain.
Overheated and Irritated:
Make a Chilled Peppermint tea from the dried leaves of the herb. Pour boiling water over the leaves and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and chill in the fridge for a few hours. Pour some into a spray bottle and dilute with distilled water. Spritz onto your face throughout the day for an instant pick me up. Pour the majority of the tea into a bowl big enough to soak your feet at the end of a long hot day. Add some tap water to dilute the mixture. Peppermint neutralizes irritability and hostility.
Lemon Verbena Iced Tea:
If you can find them, fresh Lemon Verbena leaves are the best to make this tea with. Otherwise, dried are fine. Steep the leaves in a small pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Strain and dilute the tea with filtered cold water. Serve over ice. This herb is renowned for calming and soothing an upset and stressed out countenance.