Summer “Burns”

Sunny flowers from Huntington Gardens

Sunburn Solutions

Sunburn is no fun. One of the best treatments I know is iced tea (non-herbal) that you can pat on with a cotton ball or soft cloth soaked in the tea. Then I came across an article in the July 2007 issue of The Herb Companion and found a long list of remedies that the magazine found in Max Green Alchemy, Kiss My Face, and Apothena. I will pass on some of the remedies in case you get “burned” this summer.

Any of the following can be used as a spray or compress for sunburn:

  1. One cup water mixed with one tablespoon white vinegar
  2. Club soda, Gin, or white wine
  3. Buttermilk (rinse of after 15 min. to prevent spoiling)
  4. Aloe Vera Gel
  5. Strong Chamomile tea
  6. Fresh watermelon juice

Herbal Companion also lists skin packs or masks to spread on sunburned skin:

  1. Mashed fresh apricots (Pricey! ES)
  2. Baking soda or cornstarch mixed with water into a paste
  3. Cold mashed potatoes (That’s a new one for me! ES)

For the complete article, see the July 2007 issue of Herbal Companion, pages 15-16.

BBQ: Yes or No?

My husband and I disagree with the issue of cooking foods outside on the grill. I did some research and here is some information that may help. The sources are:

Barbeque Cancer Warning (
BBQ Causes Cancer (
Cancer-Proof Your Barbeque (
Does Barbecuing Cause Cancer?
The Straight Dope by Adams (
Summer Hazards:Sunburn…and Barbeque by
Deborah Franklin

After reading and reviewing the above articles, here is my distillation of the information on the pros and cons of grilling foods, BBQ-style.

  • Grilling over an open flame with high heat generates HCAs and PAHs, two potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • HCAs are considered more harmful than PAHs, because they form inside the meat when it is grilled, and cannot be scraped off as PAHs can be.
  • Grilled meat contains known carcinogens. Whether they contain enough to increase cancer risks significantly has not been firmly established. However, a study by a French environ-mental group found that a typical BBQ can release the same level of dioxins as 220,000 cigarettes. (Dioxins are a group of chemicals that are known to cause cancer.)
  • To offset grilling risks, several articles recommend marinating your meat, chicken, or fish for at least 10 minutes, because the moisture of the marinade offers some protections against carcinogens from forming.
  • Whenever appropriate, wrap foods in foil to keep moisture in.
  • When making burgers, dilute the meat levels with potato starch or soy granules. (Some butchers already do this. One butcher in N. Michigan mixes ground cherries in his beef. Antioxidants in citrus fruits also block HCAs.) [Sounds weird, but maybe the beef overpowers the flavor of fruit. ES]
  • Add lots of grilled veggies with your meat. HCAs do not form on vegetables. [Good news for me! ES]
  • Microwave your meat first before grilling and discard the juices. This eliminates many of the HCAs.
  • Break open Vitamin E capsule(s) to raw ground meat to hinder HCAs.
  • Add garlic and herbs to your meat or marinades. Tests have shown that garlic, rosemary, and sage reduce harmful HCAs.
  • If you love to BBQ, I suggest you read some of these articles on the ‘Net to get ” the rest of the story.” The one with the most suggestions is “Cancer-Proof Your BBQ” from

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