I like to have certain supplies during the year that I count on. Sometimes I will use them all year round, but there are one or two things I particularly use during the Summer regardless of the weather!!
I have a kind of first aid cupboard in which I store all these items when Im not using them, and get them out as and when required. Im sure lots of people do this, but I thought I might share my own ideas with you and hope any comments made will include your ideas too! Please do remember though, that Im not a doctor or health specialist, and these are my ideas. Not to be used instead of medical diagnosis.
Items I use all year round;
Manuka Honey - great for keeping your immune system healthy and helping to ward off infections. Its also supposed to be good for putting onto infections apparently, although ive not done this myself. I read somewhere that it was being researched in its use against the MRSA infection.
We all have a teaspoon every day, and 2 or 3 if feeling sniffly.
Cidar Vinegar - I use this for anti acid and mild tummy upsets. I have a gall stone which I am controlling by diet as its not causing me any problesm at the moment, but I do get acid reflux sometimes and a teaspoon of cidar vinegar in hot water is a great way to stop it. It is supposed to have other great health benefits too.
Garden Mint - I also have various mints growing in my herb garden and I use them too - steeped in hot water and honey for a refreshing tea that helps settle an upset tummy. I find it good for my children's tummy aches.
Elderberry cordial - good all year, but particularly in the autumn and winter. Its supposed to have properties that fight flu infections. I forage in the late summer for the berries and make my own (recipe below), though you can buy it from health food shops, but it is quite expensive as it's sold like a medicine syrup in small bottles. I use a cordial recipe and it lasts in sterilised bottles for about 12months until im ready to go foraging for the next batch!
"The first shoots of the Common Elder boiled like asparagus, and the young leaves and stalks boiled in fat broth, do mightily carry forth phlegm and choler. The middle or inward bark boiled in water, and given in drink works much more violently; and the berries, either green or dry, expel the same humour, and are often given with good success to help the dropsy; the bark of the root boiled in wine, or the juice thereof drank, works the same effects, but much more powerfully than either the leaves or fruit. The juice of the root taken, mightily procures vomiting, and purges the watery humours of the dropsy..."Please note
Nicholas Culpeper, 17th century herbalist
For safety reasons DO NOT use the leaves, bark or roots of Elder for consumtion
They can be poisonous!!!
Tea tree oil - useful for infections and cleanser. I also rub a few drops in my hands with lavender and rub it through my daughters hair in the morning before brushing it. This is wonderful for preventing nit infections.
Lavender oil - with the tea tree oil I mentioned above, but also for relaxation, drip a drop or two in the bath, or on a light bulb before turning on. On a pillow before sleep.
Arnica cream - always useful all year round for bruises.
Oats - I make little muslin bags of these and maybe other herbs or soak them in an aromatherpy oil for a few minutes and hang them under a bath tap for a relaxing bath that leaves my skin really soft.
Bicarbonate of soda - Useful to relieve mild sunburn. Also good for relieving other itchy skin. I put a few teaspoons in a warm bath and soak for a bit. I also used this made into a paste on my daughters chicken pox spots when she was a baby, and this really relieved her itching.
Local Honey - I find this really good for hayfever. I suppose it works similar to homeopathic treatments. I suffer from hayfever caused by the local pollen. The local honey comes from bees that use the local pollen.
Citronella Oil - wonderful for keeping midges and mosquitoes away from me. Its not a very 'oily' oil so i often rub it neat on my legs and arms - specially if Im camping or dancing around some field somewhere (I get terrible midge bites at lammas in the corn fields!!!) I also get citronella candles or make my own for summer evenings in the garden, or inside!
a>Various summer fruits - I will forage, pick my own, ask friends for gluts from their gardens and allotments, or just buy loads of summer fruit and freeze. They are great to keep all year round too. I will put yoghurt and a banana with some of the frozen fruit into a blender for a really nutritious and delicious breakfast smoothie. Lovely on an early summers morning.
You can also add the manuka honey or local honey to it to sweeten it a bit more.
Finally I always have the usual necessities - plasters, bandages and suncream. I must confess though - although I have feverfew growing in my herb patch which is good for headaches (chew a few leaves), when I get a headache I tend to reach for a painkiller capsule! This might be because it tastes absolutely disgusting!!!
Elderberry Cordial Recipe
Pick the fruit on a dry day and stew in a large stainless steel saucepan, with just enough water to cover.
Strain through muslin squeezing to get all the juice.
To each pint of juice add 1 lb of white granulated sugar and 10 cloves.
Boil for 10 minutes.
Allow to cool and bottle in sterile bottles making sure you distribute the cloves evenly amongst the bottles - they are a preservative.
The cordial can be used immediately, and willkeep for at least a year.
Take one or two teaspoons a day in hot or cold water