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It’s summertime and here in the Northeast we have peeled off the layers of winter clothing and are embracing the summer sun. The irony of having summer and summer vacation after months of longing for better weather in the winter is the reality that “Oh, my goodness, the sun will kill us!” We are told by The Media all of the time that the Sun is very dangerous and we should wear sunscreen at all times.

Do we really need the sun? Or, is it better to be sun screened up all of the time?

Yes. Of course we need the sun! Vitamin D is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, from ultraviolet B radiation. If we use sunscreen all of the time, the benefit of Vitamin D does not get produced by the body. Vitamin D is more bioavailable when it is produced by the body that is going to use it, it is fat-soluble and stays in the body for up to 40 days after it’s produced.

A way to make sure you get some sun and still protect your skin is to make sure you get some limited sun exposure without sunscreen every day. I’m not suggesting that anyone should go out and burn themselves, but in measured doses (10-15 minutes at a time in the summer) enjoy some natural Vitamin D synthesis.

A big part of the Vitamin D production in the skin has to do with the melanin, the body’s light filter. Concentration of melanin in the skin has to do with how well the UVB can penetrate and get made by the skin. People with more melanin will require more time in the sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D. The time required to produce an adequate amount of Vitamin D depends on how far they are from the equator and the season, determining the amount of sunlight.

Although it’s best to have the Vitamin D made in your skin, you can get it through nutritional sources. In fact, it seems that most processed food in the US is enriched with Vitamin D. Only fish is naturally rich in Vitamin D, you can get all you need with a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil (the idea of squishing fish livers for their precious oil makes me want to swoon) but fortified foods include many breakfast cereals, milk and soymilk. Many supplements abound fortified with Vitamin D, including Balance Complete™ by Young Living which is a super-food-based meal replacement that is both a powerful nutritive energizer and a cleanser. Offering the benefits of Ningxia wolfberry powder, Balance Complete is high in fiber, high in protein, and contains the good fats, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals needed for a nutritionally dynamic meal. Balance Complete also features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.

According to Wikipedia, diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency include:

· Rickets, a childhood disease which slows long bone growth
· Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder which occurs in adults,
· Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones and loss of calcium

A deficiency of Vitamin D has also been pointed to for many other chronic health problems, although research is less official and other factors may be present. These include:

· High blood pressure
· Depression
· Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
· Cancer
· Periodontal disease (Gum disease)
· Multiple sclerosis
· Chronic pain syndrome

The problem of Vitamin D and The Sun is compounded and exacerbated by our culture of fear of the sun but in measured doses and with care we can help our body get the sun it deserves.

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Yes. It’s summertime and the time when flip-flops are plagued with blow-outs from pop-tops (fun to say and write) but also from fungus, or (cue music:) Mold!

Jimmy Buffet is a lot of fun. Foot fungus is not. Here are today’s suggestions for the evils of summertime mold:

You can soak those nasty flip flops in the pool, the chlorine’ll take care of them. Or, dust them with a baking soda and essential oil paste . Lavender, lemon grass, or tea tree mixed with baking soda would work very nicely. If your feet are the problem you can mix those oils or Roman Chamomile, or rosemary with some carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil or V-6 Mixing oil and liberally massage into your feet as often as you can.

Animal Scents Ointment from Young Living is a natural way to treat many skin disorders, and it has the added benefit of **not** having to be approved by the ADA. So, it assists the body (human or animal) to heal by itself, which is how our bodies are designed to heal. I truly believe it.

One of my favorite lines from Bull Durham is when Kevin Costner is lecturing Tim Robbins about the mold on his shower shoes, “You’ll never make it to the bigs with mold on your shower shoes, win ten in the show and the press thinks you’re colorful. Until then, you’re a slob. Think classy, you’ll be classy.”

Last week I got an email from a friend of mine. She’s going camping in Maine later in June with her two little girls and was wondering if I could suggest any Essential Oils for her Summer Camping Emergency Kit. I said I would be happy to recommend a few oils to put in her fanny pack-style emergency kit along with her sun block and band-aids; oils make the journey smell better and easily solve lots of little problems.

Thinking about which oils to suggest I ran my mind through my camping trip last year on an island on a fresh water river in Maine. The weather was beautiful and we hiked quite a bit. Our two biggest issues were bug bites in the evening and sunburn. Of course everyone got scraped here and there hiking around the island, scraping into the berry brambles and climbing on rocks, but bug bites were definitely our biggest concern.

I came up with the following oils for the

Summer Camping First-Aid Kit:



Idaho Tansy

Pan Away Roman Chamomile


Tea Tree

Eucalyptus globules Cypress


Lemon mixed with distilled water in a spray bottle is a great disinfectant. This spray can be used in areas for food preparation. Lemon oil, even in a spray bottle will induce a photosensitive reaction on skin exposed to sunlight, so take care not to spray this on people. Since Lemon is a natural mosquito-repellent and since it smells so wonderful and is anti-bacterial, feel free to spray it liberally around the campsite. Peppermint mixed with lemon will also repel mosquitoes.

Maine is famous for it’s black flies—some people call them horse flies. These flies bite, they take chunks out of flesh and the bites are very painful. It’s awful to be in a tent and to hear the buzzing of the fly and know you have to get up and get it out of the tent. Now! The same is true of the mosquitoes and their little squeaky buzzing, then the silence, as you know they are sucking your blood! A spray of Idaho Tansy and water will repel the horse flies as the lemon and peppermint spray will get rid of the mosquitoes. Pan-Away is great for taking the sting out of black fly bites.

If, however, is too late and you have been bitten by the bugs the First-Aid Spray below will help you. The anti-fungal and healing properties of the Lavender and Tea Tree will free you from the poison and invite your body to heal itself.

Even though it’s in the 80s and 90s in the rest of the Northeast, something particular to Maine is the coolness of its weather, particularly at night. The sun in Maine, particularly along the ocean, is as scorching as anywhere else. Prevention is the easiest way to deal with sunburn, don’t let it happen to you. Put on liberal amounts of sunscreen as the manufacturer suggests. One of the most cooling remedies to sunburn is Aloe, a gel widely available from the Aloe Vera plant. Mix Lavender Oil or Tea Tree with Aloe for a wonderfully cooling balm for the burn.

In the evening chill, campers may catch a cold! Eucalyptus globules inhaled or gargled with some water will take care of chest congestion or cough. A warm compress can be made with Eucalptus and warm water on a towel and applied to the chest, over the throat and upper back, if the congestion is bad. In camping style the water for the compress would, of course, have to be heated over the campfire unless the camper in charge also brought instant heat packs.

Peppermint oil is the super oil, good for easing queasy stomachs during long car or boat rides, indigestion, vomiting, fever, gas, headaches or abdominal cramps. Peppermint is also a great pick-me-up. Just add a drop or two in a bottle of water and experience sudden clarity.

During the day hikers may climb mountains or walk miles on the beach. Getting back to the campsite they may realize how exhausted they are and in need of a muscular pick-me-up. Pan-away oil can take the pain out of sore muscles and renew the vitality of a hiker who has to go and lug some more water back to the campsite. Pan-away or Lavender mixed with Aloe gel can also ease scrapes and scratches gotten on the trail. Cypress is also handy for campers who have walked many miles. Cypress is a natural deodorant and astringent, so you can mix it with water to wash your face as well as rub it on your body so you don’t smell like the trail!

At the end of the day and after many s’mores sometimes campers, especially the little ones lie awake in their tents. Roman Chamomile or Lavender rubbed on the feet can ease the body into sleep. Roman Chamomile added to a cup of warm water is also lovely as an instant tea at the end of a long day. As the events of the day wind down and campers go to sleep remember to keep your insect-repellent spray of Lemon and water nearby along with your flashlight to shoo any last-minute mosquitoes.

Recipe for a First-Aid Spray

5 drops Lavender

3 drops Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

2 drops Cypress

8 oz. Distilled Water

Mix oils into ½ teaspoon of salt. Put the salt and 8 ounces of distilled water into a spray bottle and shake vigorously. This is a great first-aid spray.

To get an added benefit, add Tea Tree directly to any open wounds in addition to using the First-Aid spray daily until healed.


Enthusiasm is contagious. Not having enthusiasm is also contagious.--Fortune Cookie

The Future

When we look into the long avenue of the future, and see the good there is for each one of us to do, we realize, after all, what a beautiful thing it is to work, and to live, and to be happy. --Robert Louis Stevenson