Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 00:11:31 -0700
From: Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM>
Subject: Re: Sunburn

The best sunburn treatment I have found to be plant tannins. Tannins are found in most plants, and are particularly high is many plants. They bind with alkaloids and proteins. This is helpful in the case of burnt skin --- broken proteins. The tannins bind with the broken skin proteins to form a layer of tanneoproteins, or was that proteotannins (it's a little late). This layer is protective and soothing.

I generally throw some Manzanita leaves into water and boil. If you're preparing a wash for sunburn and are primarily concerned with extracting tannins, you can just boil it, no matter what the herb. You can wash the sunburn with the tea when it cools.

Some astringents with tannins: (To name a few)
Uva ursi (kinnikkinik)

Polygonum roots (bistort)
Heuchera (alum root)
Currant and Gooseberry Bark (Ribes)
Rosa's Bark and roots
Rubus (blackberry root)
Ceanothus bark and root
Cornus Dogwood Bark
Chimaphila Prince's Pine pipsissewa
Black Tea

(These contain salicylates which may have some topical analgesic effects) :
Willow Bark
Oak Bark
Poplar Bark
Spirea (= Filipendula)

From: Satin <satin.TOPAZ.USAFA.AF.MIL>

I use an aloe and comfrey lotion on sunburn. I am a strawberry blonde with my red-headed Mom's complexion - I don't tan. It's either burn or nothing. So I wear sunscreen and keep the aloe/comfrey lotion on hand.

From: "Patricia A. Bush" <vicpat.USA.PIPELINE.COM>

As a fair-skinned redhead with brown haired parents who can lay in the sun w/o blistering sunburns, I can empathize with you and your child. Since childhood sunburns are linked to later in life melanomas, please use a sunscreen when your baby is out in the sun for any length of time.

I have splashed apple cider vinegar on my sunburns, that also helps, but nothing (and I am now 40) worked like the aloe gel.

From: Maria Minno <afn10853.AFN.ORG>

My kids are both fair redheads. 15 minutes in the north Florida sun is about all they can take - any more is asking for trouble. All the old timers here have holes in the tops of their ears and many scars from so many melanomas being removed. Our ozone filter is much weaker now than it was when the oldtimers grew up and got their UV exposure. As the native Tahitians say to their children, "stay out of the sun!"

From: Melissa Weaver <Lalalawyr.AOL.COM>

>Anyother tips for sunburn since that season is upon us?

Aloe vera, straight from the leaf. Very soothing and promotes quick healing. I know it's an old stand-by, but it really does help.

In a pinch, you can use aloe vera gel from the drug store - but I think the life force (chi, qi, prana, what have you) also plays a part in the healing, so I prefer the leaves. Always keep an aloe vera plant around for burns and skin irritations!

From: Craige Roberts <croberts.MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU>

Regarding treatments for sunburn:

For some reason, aloe vera hasn't proven to be the miracle for my skin that it is for some people's.

One of the best burn treatments I know of is lavender essential oil, applied neat. The aromatherapy literature is full of references and documentation of its use in this connection and the impressive results. Since lavender e.o. is quite benign and doesn't sting, this would be quite good for a child. In my experience, the burning and redness begin to subside quite soon after application. In contrast, the aloe takes much longer and at least initially the relief seems to be due more to the cooling effect of its evaporation.

Another therapy that has been used for burns, as well as infected wounds, for thousands of years is human urine, or its derivative, urea. There are a number of articles on this and other medicinal uses of human urine and its derivatives in the contemporary establishment medical literature, such as The Lancet and JAMA, for those who find this reassuring. (As usual, a simple, inexpensive remedy doesn't receive the press or research money that patentable, synthetic drugs do.) I haven't tried this myself on burns yet, but apparently one applies urine or urea-soaked compresses to the affected area, keeping them wet with fresh applications of urine. Though urea is said to sting a bit, straight urine supposedly does not.