MUST-HAVES Po Sum On oil, calendula ointment, pure aloe gel, witch hazel astringent, calamine lotion
For stings and itching, a Chinese tea-based herbal oil called Po Sum On (available from Solstice Medicine Company at sosusaco.com) comes highly favored by Burris. The tea leaves contain flavonoids and tannins that together fight off bacteria and reduce inflammation. "Po Sum On facilitates blood flow and healing--and it's miraculous for relieving itching from minor rashes and bites," she says. "But don't put it on broken skin or burns." Apply the oil one to five times a day as needed; wear gloves or wash your hands afterward to avoid accidentally irritating your eyes.
Calendula ointment (see "Cuts/Scrapes") in a 2 percent to 5 percent strength applied three to four times a day is also great for insect bites, stings, and burns, as are pure aloe gel or a witch hazel astringent. Apply either with a cotton ball as needed. And if you live near poison ivy, stock a supply of calamine lotion.