- In The Wild - Natural tips keep gardeners healthy
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More than 41,200 people across the nation were injured in 2012 while working in their gardens, reports the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Conversely, many common flowers and plants have healing properties that can help gardeners treat their injuries.
Made from plants, as well as animals and minerals, homeopathic medicines offer some of the safest options for self-treatable conditions - and can be great for ailments and injuries that befall home gardeners. Because the risk of interaction with other drugs, supplements and herbs is minimal, experts say these natural medicines are a good first choice for early symptoms.
Easily found in health food stores and pharmacies, these non-prescription medicines work naturally with the body instead of masking a problem, which is important if a more serious condition should arise.
With that in mind, here are some homeopathic treatments for common gardener ailments:
• Allergies - Relieving allergy symptoms provides a good example of the principle behind homeopathic medicines. Chopping a red onion has a "toxic" effect, causing eyes to water and burn until exposed to fresh air. When similar symptoms appear from allergies or a cold, a micro-dose of the red onion helps relieve those same symptoms. The red onion in this homeopathic form takes the Latin name of its source, Allium cepa.
Try Ambrosia (Ragweed) for watery nasal discharge with eyes that tear and itch and Sabadilla (Cevadilla) for hypersensitivity to the smell of flowers or itching in the back of the mouth. A good general allergy medicine is Histaminum, which is derived from histamine.
• Sore, stiff muscles - For gardeners suffering back and knee injuries, Arnica montana can be an essential gardening tool.
Commonly known as the mountain daisy, Arnica's healing properties were first recognized in the 16th century. Legend has it mountain climbers chewed the plant to relieve sore, aching muscles and bruises from falls.
Today, this homeopathic medicine is used by professional athletes and surgeons for muscle pain and stiffness, swelling from injuries and bruising. For more information visit www.Arnicare.com.
• Sunburn, blisters & other skin conditions - In its homeopathic form, Calendula (Garden marigold) is one of the most versatile aids for skin irritations. Try a Calendula cream or ointment for blisters and calluses, cuts and scrapes, rashes, and chapped skin caused by wind, dry or cold air, or sun.
Used for centuries as a natural healing and soothing substance, Calendula's wound-healing properties are due to essential oils, saponins, flavonoids and alkaloids. These compounds have skin healing properties.
• Bug bites - To help relieve bee and wasp stings, as well as gnat, black fly or mosquito bites, take five pellets of Apis mellifica (Honey bee) every 30 minutes for up to six doses - and apply Calendula topically.
• Take breaks & relax - While many plants help us nurture our health, remember to practice common sense. Prepare properly by stretching and wearing sun block. Don't overdo it, take breaks and end your day with a soaking bath.
Relieve conditions at the first sign of symptoms before they grow out of control, so you can continue your gardening activities.