Dr. Erika’s Five Natural First Aid Favourites

May 14th, 2015

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I don’t know about you, but I see my scarred knees and elbows as a badge of honour for my childhood escapades.  I was definitely the truest of tomboys!  Barbies. . .bahhh!  I just wanted tree houses and Tonka trunks.  But with this rough and tumble existence came a few tears, for both myself and my mom.  Too bad homeopathy wasn’t as common in the 80’s or I might have prettier knees today (and my mom calmer nerves)!

No mom leaves the house without a mini first-aid kit.  But today, we’re seeing some new additions to the basics of Band-aids and alcohol swabs.  In a world where so many things are going green, it only makes sense that this extends to our first-aid kits.  With the ongoing concerns about chemicals and their impact on children, parents are looking for natural alternatives in all aspects of pediatric health.

It’s amazing how easy, inexpensive and effective a naturopathic first aid kit is to put together.  The most important item in my experience is homeopathic Arnica.  This remedy, available in oral and topical form, is the gold standard for any playground trauma.  Its indications include sprains, strains, bruises or any pain of a bruising nature.  The great thing about homeopathics is that kids love their natural sweet taste.  After an injury, have the child (or adult) dissolve 2 pellets under their tongue immediately.  This can be repeated every 30 minutes for pain management.  Arnica in gel or cream form (often available in combination remedies such as Traumacare or Traumeel) can also help speed recovery and reduce pain, which is important for any rambunctious youngster’s lifestyle.

Unfortunately, scrapes and bleeds often accompany bumps and bruises. In this case, follow standard first aid procedures.  To review, wipe away the tears, allow wound to bleed a bit to flush it, cleanse with water, apply pressure with a sterile cloth and finally apply a kiss to the forehead.  However, your work doesn’t stop there.  For superficial scrapes, Calendula is your new best friend.  This sunny orange-yellow flower in tincture form is a great antiseptic with the added benefit of speeding tissue healing.  However do not use for deep wounds, as Calendula heals the surface skin first, which increases the risk of trapping bacteria in the deeper part of the wound.  For ease of use, Calendula is also available in an oil or cream form.

Traumas aren’t always of the physical nature.  For the shock of injuries, my first-aid kit would not be without Rescue Remedy.  This is a combination of Bach Flower Remedies specially selected for their calming effect on the nervous system.  With specific indications of nervousness, trembling, anxiety, fear, panic and apprehension it is sure to calm down your little one, but don’t be afraid to take a dose and a few deep breaths yourself!

Another natural remedy with calming effects is Lavender Essential Oil.  In fact, you could call Lavender a first-aid kit in a bottle.  Not only does its scent trigger a relaxation response, the oil itself has anti-microbial properties.  Remember to dilute before using and only use topically.  Another great benefit of this herb is that is makes a great smelling insect repellent, and after bites brings down the swelling and stops little hands from scratching as it relieves the itch.

As careful as you can be, an active child’s summer is rarely without a sunburn or two.  Obviously follow the rules for safe sun, but if this fails, Aloe vera is the common houseplant to reach for.  The gel contained in its succulent leaves has many medicinal properties. In addition to hydrating and moisturizing the skin, it relieves the pain and itching commonly experienced after a day out in the sun.  Simply cut off a leaf, slice it in half and apply the gel to the affected area.  If you’re out for the day, bring a few pieces with you or look for an all-natural aloe vera gel or spray product from your local health store.

If most children are anything like I was there will definitely be some traumas along the way.  However, I hope they will have prettier knees than I do, and I’m sure they will with the help of these natural additions to your first-aid kit.

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Mosquito Mayhem!

July 15th, 2010

It seems like I can’t even enjoy my garden without the constant slap and scratch of my dear friends the mosquitoes.  Now I’m a nature girl.  I like getting out in the woods.  I can look for the purpose in mostly pesky bugs, but I can see no purpose to mosquitoes but to bug me!  Luckily Mother Nature gave us some gifts to help us cope with these menaces.

Essential oil of lavender is a Godsend this time of year.  Not only does it act as an insect repellent, but it also is a great itch reliever.  It’s lovely aroma makes it a pleasure to wear.  Lavender is a key ingredient in one of my favourite essential oil combinations, Solvarome by Unda (sold in Canada by Genestra).  In a 1:3 ratio with water it makes an easy to apply spray repellent (shake well first).  But even more remarkable is a single drop on the most annoying of bites will bring down swelling and itching.

There are many other nature cures out there.  So I open it up to you.  Share your ideas.  What gift of Mother Nature do you use to cope with our national insect, the mosquito?

Dandelions: Menace or Medicine

May 18th, 2010

Since expanding Aqua Vitalis last month, my duties as “Chief Naturopathic Officer”  have extended to many non-medical things, but still very Naturopathic.  On Tuesday my job of the day was digging dandelions.  And when I say digging, I mean digging.  Green medicine extends to the garden you know.

I must say I found this experience strangely rewarding.  There is something inspiring about being in the garden.  You begin to look at weeds in a whole new way.

Have you noticed the sudden explosion of dandelions?  Their bright yellow colour seems to blanket our boulevards here in Whitby.  Not that most people would find them inspiring or beautiful.  Most people think of them as a menace.  But did you know that dandelions are medicinal?  And I wonder if the sudden population explosion is Mother Nature’s way of providing us with something we really need.

The dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, is a common and useful botanical medicine with many beneficial properties.  The bitterness of the leaves makes them a great digestive aid and when made into a tea acts as a diuretic (that’s a fancy way of saying it makes you pee more).   A tea of the roots affects the other route of elimination, having a laxative effect.  Taraxacum is also known as a liver herb, aiding in detoxification and bile flow.  In Traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is looked at from both a physical and emotional perspective.  The emotion of the liver is irritability, making one wonder even more about this herbs sudden abundance in our stress-driven society.

So next time you feel stressed out, instead of stopping to smell the roses, maybe you should stop and dig dandelions instead!

Colonial Retirement Home Health Fair

May 18th, 2010

Join us as we support our friends at The Colonial Retirement Home for their first Health Fair. 

We will be there from 10 am – 2pm on Wednesday May 26th, 2010. 

The Colonial is located at the corner of Brock and Manning in Whitby.

See you there!

Thanks for a great welcome!

May 18th, 2010

Thanks to all for the great turn out to our Grand Opening!  We especially appreciated the participation of our dignitaries.  Our mayor, Pat Perkins, shared a wonderful welcome.  Reflections shared by Tina Dezsi and Lia Bandola definitely brought a smile and a tear to my eye.   Thanks also to Pastor Derrick Nichols for offering a Prayer of Dedication.  It truly set the tone for what I hope to be a place of peace and healing for many.  As always the support of everyone from the Whitby Chamber of Commerce made the event one of ease.  And we can’t forget Steve from SNAP Whitby for his coverage of the event.  Please check out the June issue for pictures –  www.snapwhitby.com 

Please check back as our pictures will go up shortly.

I also wanted to share with you an excerpt from my musings about my journey over the last 6 years.  Even if you couldn’t attend on the 7th, these words were also intended for you:

I look out and see a group of clients, colleagues, family, but what I really see is a group of friends who have been my encouragement and support in this journey.  Some of you I’ve just met and some of you I’ve know my whole life. 

I wanted to take this moment to thank you all.  To my clients, thanks for your trust I me as your doctor, your willingness to be an active part of your health and to share your success with others.  To my Networking colleagues, thank you for your belief in me and the wisdom you have shared over the years.  To my family and friends, I thank you for your love and believing in my dreams as much as I did and all the hours of physical labour put into making it a reality.

I could say this is a dream 6 years in the making, but this dream started way before “Naturopathic Doctor” was added to the end of my name.  Like most young girls dream and plan out her future wedding, every first year Naturopathic Student has a “dream clinic” planned out in his/her head.

That takes us back 10 years, but I think the first dreams were started way back when I was 3 years old, with my cat in my high chair trying to get him to open his mouth and say “ahhh”.

Yes, it’s been quite a journey and I know it is only just beginning again.  I look forward to travelling with you all.

Thanks again!

Dr. Erika

Aqua Vitalis Grand Opening!

April 16th, 2010

All are welcome to the Grand Opening Celebration and Dedication on Friday May 7th from 6pm-8pm.  Ribbon cutting to take place at 6:30 pm with speeches from local dignitaries.

We looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you in this celebration of Health and Wellness for Durham region.

Light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP:  (905) 666-3826

We’re moving!

March 9th, 2010

On April 5, 2010 we’re moving from our Green Street location to our new larger facilities at 712 Dundas Street West, Whitby.

Give us a call at our new phone number…
905-666-3826.