Summer Help is Here

by Michael Braunstein

What’s the matter, Bunky? Are you “up to here” with masks and social distancing? Is the ongoing world war between Anarchy and Civilization getting you down? Is the constant political banter boring you to death? And have you grown fatigued by the constant lies and deception of the clickbait media? (Present sourcing excepted, of course!)

Well, it’s time to lift your spirits and cash the first half of 2020 as just a bad, bounced check! Summer is here. Nature beckons and EGBOK, “everything’s going to be OK.”

Let’s look at some reasons why Nature is going to save your soul this summer and steps you can take to avoid conflict with her.

Sun and Vitamin D Nature’s design is wondrous. Just when we need it most, the sun and human biology step right in to provide one of nature’s strongest medicines, vitamin D. With increased sun exposure in the summer, melanocytes in the basal epidermal layer of the body produce bountiful amounts of vitamin D. Now you may think vitamin D is in food sources like dairy products. Well, yes and no. Milk doesn’t contain vitamin D unless it is artificially added. And vitamin D supplements, while helpful, are not as good as the real thing.

Vitamin D is known to relieve depression, significantly combat cancers, boost the immune system and of course, help build strong body parts, especially bone. It’s linked to lowering blood pressure, promoting insulin regulation, improved digestion and mental clarity. As far as life support is concerned, vitamin D is a superhero and it is free and plentiful. All you have to do is get out in the sun.

Negative ions. Boy, was the “negative ion generator” a thing in the 1970s! You couldn’t go anywhere in Hollywood without finding one in homes, studios, restaurants, theaters. What the trendies were trying to replicate was the generation of negative ions that are naturally created in certain outdoor settings. Negative ions have long been associated with uplifting spirits and overall contentment and are the result of certain natural processes including the agitation of water molecules. Ever notice how hardly anyone is in a bad mood at the beach? Right! And I visited Niagara Falls one time and no one was grumpy there! The same thing happens in verdant forestland. Those towering, leafy trees also generate tons of negative ions. (1) 

Happy Dirt. We’ve touched before on the uplifting benefits of playing in the dirt. You know — gardening, pulling weeds, basic yard work — and we told you one of the reasons why. Mycobacterium vaccae is everywhere you want to be when you play in healthy soil. (2) Contact with this beneficial bacteria improves mood, possibly by stimulating the release of serotonin and other hormones that elevate mood and alleviate depression.

Just in case. Summer also presents challenges that can try men’s souls. Insects are rampant. Soaring temps can dehydrate rapidly. Close encounters with allergenic plant life can trigger epidermal eruptions. Safer, natural methods of addressing these challenges are available if one but looks.

Insects and biters. Repel and quell are things you can do. Keeping the bugs off is step one. Plenty of toxic chemicals are around at the store but you can do better. First, wear clothing that gives some protection. White or light colors help you identify ticks and insect “cling ons.” And keeping your home area devoid of breeding grounds for mosquitoes cannot be emphasized enough. A teaspoon of water is incubating territory for millions of skeeters.

Citronella: Everyone has heard of citronella candles. They work. And they won’t ravage your DNA. They keep bugs at bay.
Lavender oil: As with all essential oils, dilute properly if applying to skin! Absorbent swatches of cloth with full strength though, can be placed around your area. Replace and replenish when no longer effective. Dilute proportions can keep buggers off exposed skin.
Herbs: You can plant some of these around the yard — or in windowsill planters if you happen to be an apartment dweller. Basil, rosemary, mint, lavender, lemongrass — all will help deter the dickens out of those biting fliers and crawlers. (3)

Don’t dry out. It’s just crazy to buy high-priced sugar water at the corner store. You know that junk in wasteful plastic bottles. Usually ends with the letters “ade” something or other.

For starters, nothing hydrates better than water. But if you want to embellish your bottle, then try it the old-fashioned way. Switchel is a word you probably don’t know. A drink called variously switchel, Haymaker’s Punch or ginger water dates as far back as the 1600s in the Western Hemisphere and similar drinks go back even further. Starting with water, you add some vinegar, spice it with ginger and sweeten with honey, maple syrup or molasses. Some historians note that lemon was a favorite additive, also. In the heat of harvesting hay, switchel was a popular drink for farmers in the 1930s. It hydrated and nourished them. The components contain natural elements that are similar to the good things in sport drinks.

So, while you are recovering from the panic of the pandemic, recognize that summer holds some relief from the crazies. Embrace it.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit

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