Back To Nature

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Nature, Plants, Stream
It is that time of year again. A gorgeous, almost mystical, green is everywhere. Spring flowers dazzle our eyes. Spring greens wake up our taste buds. We outstretch our hibernated bodies and are drawn outdoors with a certain magnetism. Yes, we found a great deal of enjoyment with the winter season (regardless of how endless it seemed!). Still, there is nothing better than going into nature unbundled and unencumbered.


I start receiving inquiries. Ticks. I’m told, “They are worse than ever this year.” People say, “I’m boycotting the outdoors.” Sigh. There was a time where I would have said the same things. I even had daydreams of paving my whole yard – heck, the world. A few years (at least) wiser, I have come to realize that approaching nature in a state of fear or aggression is futile.

Many of us have lost our connection with nature, moving through life as if it is a background set for our very own story. Embracing nature as a gift, not a danger, is essential. In reality, nature is connected to each and every one of us. When we approach it with disdain or fear, when we detach from it, we lose a fundamental part of our self.

I encourage everyone to shed the fear and embrace the joy of nature. This suggestion is coming from a girl who was taken down by the depths of Lyme Disease (and co-infections), yes. Finding my way out the other end of my own healing journey required much more than a simple protocol. Unraveling chronic illness takes patience, dedication and knowledge. Unwrapping the gifts from a true healing journey is a treasure. My most valuable takeaway was to find a way to reconnect with nature, in all forms.

Now, I joyfully move forth into nature with a sense of gratitude and reverence. I have gratefully stepped out of the shadow of fear and overwhelm and cherish each experience. It is my hope that you can, too.

Because I’ve had many people contact me regarding preventing insect bites and wondering what to do in the case of a bite, below is what I would do if it was myself or a family member. This isn’t intended to be medical advice, after my long and drawn out experience with Lyme and co. this is how I would (and have) approach the situation in my own home knowing now what I know.

tincture, insect spray

With me, I bring along some herbal allies to support and protect my family and I when spending time in nature. My own herbal insect spray includes Yarrow tincture (and sometimes only that). In some herbal teachings, Yarrow tincture was said to be tested to outperform the neurotoxic DEET (with more frequent applications). Naturalists tend to recommend rubbing crushed Yarrow flowers and leaves on your skin when in an outdoor situation where you need insect protection and don’t have any with you. I like to add other tinctures to my insect protection as well; Catnip, St. John’s Wort, and Plantain are always great candidates. If you don’t have access to the tinctures on your own, I have some ready made spray for sale (check the bottom of this post).

If you do happen to get caught off guard and find an attached tick, remove it carefully and immediately. Store it in a ziploc bag and you may send it to a lab to be tested, if you wish. Testing only looks for a small few of many tick borne pathogens, so, when my daughter had an engorged tick behind her ear after playing in the schoolyard last year I opted not to test her tick. Once I removed her tick, I rotated through a few different topical applications (see below), starting with Echinacea Root tincture, directly on and liberally around the bite area. I use gauze pads and keep the area moist, with topical applications throughout the day. She didn’t show any signs of fever or other symptoms so I moved forward with an herbal approach to support her immune system and target tick-borne pathogens. Many people would disagree with me and advocate for a course of antibiotics, which was my initial approach (years ago) and we didn’t find ourselves in any better of a situation. Treatment for Lyme is steeped in controversy and many people feel passionately about their perspective. Bacteria are impressively intelligent and are able to evade antibiotics in multiple ways. I’ve found a whole plant based approach (while addressing other contributing factors) to be what was most effective for my own personal healing experience.

TOPICAL (alternate the below, to be immediately applied at the site of the bite)
• Echinacea Root Tincture
• Oregano Essential Oil, diluted in a carrier oil (or Rosemary, Peppermint or Thyme)
I don’t often recommend or use essential oils. See why.
• Plantain Poultice (How to make one)

• Japanese Knotweed – Tincture
• Cat’s Claw – Tablet or Tincture
• Astragalus – Tincture
• Homeopathic Ledum Palustre

• Raw garlic as often as possible. Chop, leave for 10 minutes so that the allicin content increases. Place in a spoon. Wash it down with water.
• Avoid sugar. Sugar inhibits the immune system. If there is a potential infection you want to support the immune system in all ways.
• There is hardly ever a time I wouldn’t recommend Bone Broth. Serve some up.
Fermented food would be beneficial in this situation. Chow down!
• Avoiding any processed foods and eating whole food is advisable.

This approach is something that I would continue for weeks. Internal and external applications would be three times per day. Food recommendations should be taken seriously. It takes commitment and dedication. Much more so than doing a round of antibiotics. I, for one, have found value in doing things the hard way.

Herbal Insecet Spray Bruntil
^^ I have a limited supply of ready-made insect repellent available for sale. $15/bottle. Contains: Yarrow tincture, St. John’s Wort tincture, & Indian Pipe tincture with Garlic, Yarrow, St. John’s Wort, Rue, Pennyroyal, Cinquefoil, & Angelica flower essences. Please contact me via email or message to purchase.

* This post is not intended to be medical advice.*


Heather Bruntil is an herbalist living in the greater Boston area. Heather is committed to empowering others to take their health into their own hands. In her own healing from chronic Lyme Disease, she learned how simple and accessible tools such as herbs, food, and lifestyle changes cultivate wellness and vitality from within. Heather is committed to helping others find their way along their own path to live their most vital and empowered life. Heather is also the founder of PlantSoak, a line of handcrafted herbal wellness bath and shower soaks. ____________ The information published on is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Some links listed within this site may be affiliate links, which support me to continue blogging. All products linked are those I would personally use.

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