Natural Summer Remedies
One of the joys of living on the Riviera is the long hot summers, when our terraces and balconies become additional rooms, and wonderful places for dining and relaxing.
Less relaxing, however, are all the uninvited guests that also join us – mosquitoes, flies, wasps and ants – not to mention that awful feeling when you've overdone the sun-bathing. If you want to avoid having too many chemicals in and around your home, there are a number of natural alternatives to try, from essential oils and aloe vera plants to everyday household items.
Peppermint * Lavender * Thyme
In general, the essential oils most creepy-crawlies hate are lavender, citronella, peppermint, lemongrass, cinnamon and thyme. Flies and moths particularly dislike lavender oil, while mosquitoes hate peppermint. All these oils can be diffused or added to an unscented candle, or can be sprinkled onto a pad and wiped around window frames or places where insects might enter – not only is this an effective deterrent, it'll also smell lovely in the summer breeze.
BITES AND STINGS
If you are prone to getting bitten and stung, try mixing eight drops of lemongrass with four drops each of thyme, lavender and peppermint. Add droplets to a cotton wool pad to keep by your bedside overnight as a repellent, or add a couple of drops to your usual body lotion and apply directly to your skin – but remember, with the occasional exception of lavender, never apply essential oils directly to the skin, only ever in diluted form.
You could also try making up a herbal repellent spray , using either fresh or dried herbs or essential oils – try a mix of lavender, mint, rosemary, sage and thyme with 3-4 cloves. Steep in boiling water and allow to cool, then strain and add the same amount of witch hazel (hamamélis in French) before pouring into a spray bottle.
If you've already been stung, apply either a drop of lavender oil directly onto the sting or try some lemon or lime juice. Alternatively, make up a blend of ten drops each of lavender, eucalyptus and thyme mixed with five drops of lemongrass. Dilute in two tablespoons of vegetable oil and massage into any infected areas.
Aloe vera plants are not only attractive to have in the home, they have wonderful healing properties. Just remove a fleshy stalk, snip off its sharp edges and open it up lengthways, then apply the gel directly to the sting.
Finally, the inside of a banana peel will also soothe stings, and might be a popular choice among children!
If you get stung by a wasp, mix two drops each of lavender and chamomile essential oils with one teaspoon of either cider or wine vinegar, and apply three times daily.
To deter ants, put droplets of either mint or citronella essential oils onto a pad and wipe along anywhere they might come in. A sprinkling of cayenne pepper or freshly-squeezed lemon juice should also keep them at bay.
AFTER SUN CARE
To hydrate your skin after sunbathing, try massaging in some almond oil, into which you've added ten drops of lavender, five of chamomile, two of geranium and one of bergamot.
For a luxuriously hydrating after-sun soak, add four drops of chamomile, three of geranium and one of peppermint, diluted in a tablespoon of jojoba oil, to your bath water.
If you're a little sunburnt, an aloe vera plant is incredibly effective. As before, cut off one fleshy stalk, snip away the sharp edges and open it in half lengthways, then rub the gel onto any sunburnt areas. Store any leftovers in the fridge for some extra-refreshing comfort!
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Alexandra Sutcliffe is a...
Riviera-based life coach who will shortly be
offering three specific course packages:
Making Positive Change.
Her website is: alexandralifecoach.blogspot.fr
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