Written by Michael Tucker

            Ah, summertime: plenty of sunshine, hot days, swimming holes, firefly-lit nights, and the full-tilt peak of festival season. Here are some cruelty-free, ecologically-conscious hacks courtesy of everyone’s favorite generous handy-woman, Mother Nature, to make your summer more enjoyable:

1.) Nature’s Band Aid

            If you ever end up with a cut, insect bite or poison ivy while on a hike or away from civilization without access to a first aid kit, Mother Nature has a solution: a plant called plantain (plantago major) which can be found nearly everywhere, from alongside hiking trails to cracks between sidewalks. This particular plantain is not the cousin of the banana that is delicious when fried, but it is a common “weed” that grows in every back yard with bright green oval leaves and a “spike” that kids of all ages enjoy running their fingers down to strip it of seeds. Plantain is a completely non-toxic plant with antiseptic, antihistamine, and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps heal, clean and protect cuts and relieve the painful itch of insect stings and poisonous plants. It can even help temporarily mitigate the onset of severe allergic reactions. Here are some instructions to make a plantain poultice:

How to Make a Plantain Poultice

  1. Collect a few plantain leaves.
  2. Clean them.
  3. Chew on the leaves. This will break down the cell walls and release the active ingredients. If the person with the injury is able to do the chewing, some of the plant’s healing properties will be ingested.
  4. Apply the chewed leaves to the affected area.
  5. Cover with cloth (if available)
  6. Repeat the process if the poultice dries up.
  7. Depending on the severity of the situation, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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2.) Natural Insect Repellant

            Bugs can be a real pain while camping, hiking, or hanging out at a festival. Avoid environmentally destructive, unhealthy DEET containing store-bought insect repellants. Try this homemade, natural version instead:

Bug Off Essential Oil Spray

Mix together the following essential oils in a bottle with a dropper:

Lemongrass 8 drops

Lavender      6 drops

Peppermint 4 drops

Thyme 4 drops

Add 7 drops of the essential oil blend above to a spray bottle filled with 1/2 cup water and 2 T. witch hazel. Shake well. Apply to skin.

As with all essential oil containing products, avoid use on pets or young children


3.) Natural Hydrating, Electrolyte Replenishing Drink

Skip store-bought electrolyte drinks, which are high in processed sugars and contain artificial dyes and other sketchy ingredients. Try this natural, homemade version when you need to stay hydrated and replenished after dancing at a festival, hiking, or taking part in other sweat inducing summertime fun:

Cool Electrolyte Sports Drink

4 cups spring water

1/2 cup freshly- squeezed lemon or lime juice

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon real salt, Celtic sea salt, or Himalayan pink salt

4 drops of ColloidaLife Trace Minerals or other trace mineral drops (optional)

Mix all ingredients together. Keep cold and enjoy.


4.) Natural Sunburn Relief

Too much fun in the sun (and not enough sunscreen) can leave you looking like a cooked lobster and feeling sore and itchy. Try this natural remedy instead of expensive store-bought products for sunburn relief:

5.) Oatmeal Bath

1 cup oatmeal, finely ground in a food processor or coffee grinder

1 bathtub full of lukewarm water

Sprinkle ground oatmeal in tub of water. Stir with hands until all clumps are dissolved.

Relax and soak away itchiness and achiness for at least 15 minutes.


6.) Natural Deodorant

Stay fresh smelling during hot days and nights without aluminum, other toxic chemicals or synthetic fragrances with this simple 5 ingredient, all natural deodorant:

7.) Simple Deodorant

6 Tablespoons Shea Butter

4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

6 Tablespoons Baking Soda

4 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

Few Drops Essential Oil (I like Tea Tree)

Melt coconut oil and shea butter in a double boiler or microwave. Take off heat. Mix in arrowroot and baking soda. Mix well. Add essential oil of your choice. Mix well. Store in a glass jar with a lid. Allow to harden. Apply to underarm area as needed.

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Happy Summer Everybody!