I am not a tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing hippie by any stretch of the imagination. But, I do know that some natural remedies work very well. Here are the 8 natural remedies I think all cruisers should know about.
Some of these I’ve always used. Some I’ve learned from other cruisers. Some are local knowledge from Islanders I’ve learned along the way. If the injury is severe, my advice always is to go to the doctor.
4 Essential Oils I Keep On The Boat
Lavender is the most amazing essential oil. I’ve had lavender on hand for as long as I can remember. I keep a bottle handy for all kinds of emergencies. In the event of a burn, cut, or sting put a few drops of lavender essential oil directly onto the affected area.
When I was a landlubber, lavender was my go-to for burns and to help relaxation and bring on sleep. As a remedy for burns, it is fantastic, no matter how bad the burn is. Put straight lavender on the burn, it takes the stinging, burning, feeling away. Lavender also helps to prevent some blistering from occurring with bad burns.
Now that I’m a cruiser, I use lavender for sunburn. I put the lavender essential oil directly on the sunburn to take the sting out. As with regular burns, it helps avoid blistering.
Lavender is lovely for relaxing. It helps bring on sleep, on those nights that you toss and turn and, your mind runs wild. A few drops of lavender on your pillow and glorious sleep!
Lavender is also good for headaches. Put a few drops on your forehead to ease your headache.
Orange Essential Oil Cleaner
Instead of using harsh chemicals for cleaning my galley, I make my own cleaner. It cuts grease, is non-toxic, and smells good too.
Orange Vinegar Cleaning Solution Recipe
- 1/4 cup White Vinegar
- 1 3/4 Cup Water
- 20 drops Orange Essential Oil
- 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
- 1 drop dishwashing soap
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Add the water in at the end. Sometimes for a change in smell, I add lavender oil instead of orange.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is a great antiseptic and is really good for cuts and bites. Put a drop of tea tree directly onto the cut or bite. I also use tea tree in my cleaning solution, see the recipe above.
Oil of Oregano
When someone in the family starts feeling like they are getting the flu, I bring out the oil of oregano. Put 2 to 3 drops of oil of oregano in a quarter glass of water. Drink this morning and evening for 3 – 4 days, or until you feel better. Do not take for more than a week. There is always lots of complaining because it tastes awful.
When I have menstrual cramps I add 2 to 3 drops of Oil of Oregano to about a tablespoon of olive oil and rub it onto my abdomen to help ease the cramps.
Natural Remedies for Injuries From Ocean Creatures
The best remedy for injuries from the ocean is to avoid them in the first place. When you are swimming, snorkeling or diving, keep your hands to yourself and be careful. If you injure yourself badly, get medical help. The following suggestions are for treating minor injuries with natural remedies.
Fire Coral and Cuts and Grazes from the Ocean
If you come into contact with fire coral, you will know all about it. You have an unpleasant burning, itching sensation on your skin. When dealing with cuts and scratches from coral make sure you clean out the wound thoroughly. Squeeze fresh lime juice on the affected skin as soon as you get out of the water to ease the pain.
When you live on a boat, you find that cuts and scratches tend to get infected quickly. You often get cuts or grazes from coral, barnacles, rocks, shells, etc. Treat injuries from the ocean with fresh lime juice until the wound has healed. If you don’t have any limes available, you should treat these kinds of injuries with tea tree essential oil. Apply the tea tree oil directly onto the wound.
If you get poked by a sea urchin spine, remove all the spines from your skin (with a pair of tweezers) and disinfect thoroughly. One option of treatment is to urinate on the wound. The ammonia in urine neutralizes the proteins.
If you are not up for being peed on or peeing on your friend for that matter, boil the kettle and fill a coffee mug with boiling water. Put the cup of hot water against the area of the sting. The hotter the water the better, but don’t burn yourself. The heat breaks down the proteins in the venom, relieving the symptoms.
The hot water method also works for relief from no-see-um bites and mosquito bites.
If you accidentally touch a spine of a Lionfish, remove any spines with a pair of tweezers. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and clean water. Apply heat, the hot water method used for sea urchins to break down the venom. You will probably need to take ibuprofen or paracetamol for the pain.
When we were in the San Blas Islands of Panama, we were killing as many Lionfish as we could find. Not only are they great eating, but they decimate the reef fish populations in the Caribbean as they are not natural to this environment.
My husband got a spine in his hand and used the hot water method. He faired much better than a friend of ours who applied antiseptic when he got injured the month before and nearly lost his thumb.
Jelly Fish Natural Remedy
There are many different species of jellyfish. Some species of jellyfish can be deadly. The best option is not to go swimming if you see jellyfish in the water. When you are stung by a jellyfish, burning welts form on the skin. To ease the burning, pour white vinegar on the affected area as soon as you get out of the water.
In Polynesia, the locals grate the meat of a ripe coconut and squeeze the pulp to extract the coconut cream. They apply the thick oily coconut cream to the affected area.
These 8 natural remedies all cruisers should know are for small ailments. They are good ideas that hopefully could get you out of a bind in out of the way places. Please Note: I am not a doctor and don’t offer medical advice. If the injury is severe, seek professional medical advice. I hope you found this post helpful.