Summer is the season of outdoor fun—but that fun can come with serious irritations, like allergies, insect bites, poison ivy, and sunburn. Luckily, the ingredients for an herbal first aid kit are easy to find and even easier to use. Keep these five herbs around for emergencies and you’ll be able to enjoy an outdoor summer without worry.
When you think of catnip, you probably picture dopey, happy kittens, not an ancient herbal remedy. However, this herb has been grown for medicinal use since the Roman Empire. You can steep the leaves in boiling water to make a minty-tasting tea that is excellent for relieving stress and upset stomachs, reducing fevers, and combatting headache pain. But during the summer, its best use is keeping bugs away.
Plant catnip around your deck or patio, and you’ll notice fewer mosquitos hovering around. That’s because the oil in catnip—nepetalactone—works as a natural insect repellent. In fact, researchers presenting to the American Chemical Society found that nepetalactone is several times more effective than DEET, which is the active ingredient in many commercial bug sprays.