Woman on a beach on holiday

Hot weather herbs: natural support for summer ailments

Whether you are holidaying abroad or staying closer to home, warmer days don’t come without health hazards

Editor Jane Garton shares her pick of the herbal bunch to help you stay well all summer long.


Arnica – for bumps and bruises

Close up of a bruised knee

Holidays can be physically demanding times with unused muscles being suddenly asked to do too much. If you accidentally have a tumble, Arnica cream helps to speed recovery reducing swelling and inflammation from strains, sprains bumps and bruises. Only use on unbroken skin, as it can be toxic if it enters the bloodstream in large quantities.

Artichoke Extract – for indigestion

Close up of woman holding her tummmy to represent indigestion

Foreign foods or overdoing it at the barbecue can lead to indigestion, bloating and heartburn. Stocking up on artichoke extracts can help you through uncomfortable moments. They help the digestive process by stimulating the production of bile and breaking down and eliminating fatty foods and alcohol from the body. Take every day as a protective measure while on holiday or occasionally for fast relief from symptoms if you overdo it.

Ginger – for travel sickness and nausea

Close up of woman on a boat suffering with travel sickness

If you or any of the family are prone to travel sickness peppermint and ginger are popular herbal remedies. Try peppermint or ginger capsules, chew crystallised ginger or take an infusion of ginger in a flask or water bottle to sip on the journey.

Opening windows and sitting in the front seat can help if travelling by car. On boats get some fresh air out on the deck and keep your eyes firmly on the land.

Valerian – for sleep

Close up of woman sleeping well

Sleep can be hard to come by on holiday, whether due to late nights, hot evenings or eating and drinking more that we would normally. If you have trouble sleeping on holiday, the calming herb valerian can help to relieve sleep disturbances.

Lavender Oil – for sleep, soothing and relaxation

Image of woman relaxing on holiday looking out at the sea

Soothing lavender oil is regarded as one of the most versatile essential oils and is one of the few that can be used neat on the skin. It can help soothe skin inflammation, is mildly antiseptic and can be dabbed on to burns, cuts, and insect bites. It can also be massaged onto temples to help with headaches or aid relaxation, while a drop or two on the pillow can hasten sleep on hot balmy nights.

Aloe Vera – for sun-stressed skin

Close up of woman's shoulder with sun burn

If you accidentally stay too long on the sun lounger aloe vera can help to cool things down. You also need to get plenty of rest and drink lots to rehydrate the whole of your body as well as your skin.

Turmeric – for indigestion

Close up of woman holding stomach to represent indigestion

Unfamiliar foreign foods or food that has been left in the sun too long or that has not been sufficiently cooked can be all it takes to turn your tum. Bigger, richer meals than perhaps you are used to at home can also play havoc with digestion. Common symptoms include indigestion, heartburn, upset stomach, wind and bloating. If these sound familiar turmeric may help to calm things down.

It works by helping to increase bile flow, thus preventing the fermentation of undigested fats in the intestine, which can lead to flatulence, bloating and cramps.

Tea Tree oil – for cuts and scrapes

Close up of woman's leg with a scrape injury

An excellent natural antiseptic, tea tree oil can be applied directly to cuts and grazes making it a useful addition to your hot-weather first aid kit especially if you have children.

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