Too much sun can happen. It can happen unintentionally after a day of play outside, or simply because you forgot to reapply that second round of sunscreen after swimming. Whatever brought you to that moment when “too much” hits, you don’t have to suffer without help — there are plenty of natural options to help alleviate the pain of sunburn. And, while aloe also helps, isn’t the answer here.
Chelsea Farley, who studied Western Herbalism at the California School of Herbal Studies, said that broadleaf plantain and marshmallow root is a good choice to relieve sunburn naturally.
“I make body wraps soaked in a cold plantain leaf and marshmallow root tea,” said Farley. After you get the wraps nice and wet, apply directly to skin for a cooling and healing effect. Repeat as needed, but you should start to notice relief rather quickly, she said.
You can also make a plantain and marshmallow infused honey to apply directly to your skin. “It’s sticky, but it works,” said Farley.
This plantain is not that large banana you fry up for a delicious snack, but a common backyard or roadside weed (depending on what part of the country you live in). It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and has also been purported to relieve the itchy/burning sensation one experiences with a reaction to poison ivy.
If you can’t find plantain lurking about in nature, you can usually find it in the bulk herb section of your local health food store.
Marshmallow Root, another common herb found on health food store shelves, commonly shows up alongside other ingredients in teas for cold and mucous relief. But, that relief isn’t limited internally; its inflammation reducing properties can be transferred to the skin as well.