Naturals for July

Where is the summer going? We've whipped right past Fathers Day and 4th of July headed straight for those ''dog days'' of summer from mid-July through August. And what deliriously delightful temps out there-- perfect for anything fun in the great outdoors whether it be biking, tennis, water sports or hiking. Boy can Monday be a bummer after a weekend of fun-- sore joints, achy muscles, frizzy hair, and sunburned skin.

Here are some of my best tips to help you avoid the down side of too much summer:

For achy sore muscles and joints-- First things first, stretching pre- and post-exercise is a must, plus a warm up and cool down period. Drink plenty of water before and throughout your exercise. If you have pushed yourself to the max, following your exercise program use a potassium/magnesium supplement to help replenish the cells.

Try some flower power! Don't laugh until you've tried it. A homeopathic remedy known as Rescue Remedy is good for physical or emotional trauma. Use four drops under the tongue immediately following your exercise, then put four more drops in a glass of water and sip throughout the remainder of the day. Or, put a few drops in a bath.

Speaking of baths, try a bath of epsom salts, vinegar, baking soda or powdered ginger. About one cup of any of the above will help the body shed lactic acid and help the muscles relax.

Remember the Arnica gel! Also made from a flowering plant, Arnica can be rubbed directly onto sore joints or muscles following exercise. Keep a tube in your gym bag. Arnica is also good for any kind of injury where the skin is not broken. The pain and trauma of strains, sprains, and bruises will be lessened when you use Arnica. Of course, if you have severely strained or sprained a joint, be sure to use some ice as soon as you can. Don't continue with ice for more than 48 hours as this will only reduce much needed circulation to the injured part. Switch to heat or warm bathes.

For sunburn: with all the wonderful sun blockers on the market these days, there's really no reason for anyone to suffer with sunburn. If you are fair, start with at least an SPF 30 and be sure to reapply following a swim. If you find yourself at the end of the day with a sore painful sunburn, again remember the Rescue Remedy. Soak in a tub of cool water with 1 cup vinegar. You can reapply vinegar directly to the skin following the bath if your skin is still burning. Or apply aloe vera gel and then moisturize with an aloe vera cream.

To prevent frizzy hair: if water is your thing, but you hate the frizzies from the chlorine, try this solution. Before getting in the water, wet your hair thoroughly, then comb through a very small amount of your favorite conditioner. Caps aren't exactly fashion statements but it works best with a cap.

Feeling overly exhausted and can't seem to get up: if you've over done the exercise, it may take 24-48 hours for the body to regroup. Try simple foods and rest along with a sublingual B-12 or some ginseng. Good health, good energy go together, they do not come from one thing. When you're tired and taxed, rest! Don't take supplements and keep pushing the envelope.

Other supportive supplements for summer time use: Vitamin C helps repair injuries while vitamin E and zinc facilitate healing. The flavonoid quercetin also has anti-inflammatory effects and limits tissue destruction associated with injury. Evidence shows that citrus bioflavonoids, taken as supplements, speed recovery time by half. Another good anit-inflammatory is bromelain found in fresh pineapple.

Herbs such as alfalfa and dandelion help strengthen tendons and ligaments and help prevent injury. Echinachea, golden seal and cats claw help keep the immune system strong and adaptable during more strenuous summertime activities.

Remember Balance. Enjoy the weather, play hard but play safe. Play a little, rest a little. When the body is tired, work the mind; when the mind is tired, work the body.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online July 13, 1999

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