Good for: Insect bites, stings or skin irritation
Because: Calendula (made from marigolds) is a centuries-old remedy for any skin itch or ouch, from bee stings to sunburn to eczema. The plant’s skin-relieving properties come from its mixture of essential oils, which are both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
How to: Apply an ointment containing 2 to 5 percent calendula, as needed, up to four times daily.
Tip: If you have ragweed allergies, apply a dime-size test patch the first time and watch for an allergic reaction (red or itchy bumps). Why? Because calendula (i.e., marigolds) and ragweed are both members of the Aster (Compositae) family and may cause an allergic reaction in those who are hypersensitive.
Lavender & Tea Tree Oil
Good for: Cuts, burns, athlete’s foot, minor infections or as a natural disinfectant
Because: Both are natural antiseptics, so they are great for killing germs, and each has its own medicinal prowess. Although best known for its relaxing aroma, which is proven to quell anxiety, lavender can also cool the pain of minor kitchen burns and sunburns, as well as prevent scarring. Meanwhile, tea tree oil is an equally powerful disinfectant, so a drop or two of essential oil can be smoothed onto cuts to stave off infection. Plus, its antifungal properties make it a natural weapon against the common toe fungus that causes athlete’s foot. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, tea tree oil was more than twice as effective as a placebo in relieving the burning and itching of athlete’s foot.
How to: Both essential oils are natural antiseptics, and too much may dry the skin, so use sparingly.
Tip: Add a few drops of lavender and tea tree essential oil to a spray bottle filled with water to make a disinfecting spritz for countertops, doorknobs and even yoga mats.