Home Remedies for Insect Bites

Published by: Lisa Meissner

Home Remedies for Insect Bites

Just about the time we start REALLY enjoying the beautiful summer-like weather in late spring, those tiny little vampires arrive--Mosquitos.

Each spring, just before they arrive, Nick and I always seem to have the same conversation: "Hey, the mosquitos aren't here yet. Maybe, just maybe they won't be bad this year..." Then they show up with a vengeance.

And again we wage battle, striving to find ways to minimize their impact.

In an upcoming post we plan on sharing some great tips for keeping mosquitoes away, but right now we are focusing on how to deal with those painful bites--naturally.

So here are just a few of the home remedies for insect bites that we have found to really help in our family...

By the way, here's where I get the TerraShield spray that's in the video

Plantain (by Nancy Meissner)

Yesterday I was working for a very brief time in our garden. It's "bug season" here for another few weeks, so I was doing my chores as quickly as possible.

However, much to my dismay, I was attacked ferociously by a number of insects. As a result I received quite a few bites on my face and neck.

The itching soon became very miserable, and I ended up taking an antihistamine just to get some relief. I received temporary relief.  But it didn't take long before the bites were swelling even larger. And once again I was miserable, itchy, and uncomfortable. I even woke up during the night in misery.

By the morning, it had been about 18 hours since I'd gotten the bites and I was still miserable. Craig asked me, "Did you try plantain?" I had totally forgotten about the wonderful effects I'd had in the past using a simple natural remedy--the leaves of the plantain plant!

What is Plantain?

According to Wikipedia, plantain, is from the genus Plantago. It's a very common weed that grows all over the world including America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and Europe.

Plantain can be found in many different habitats--I've typically found it in lawns, driveways, and places like that. There are broad leaf plantain plants, and narrow leaf plantain plants, however I understand that both will work. You can identify plantain by the 3 - 5 parallel veins that run the length of each leaf. One article I read said that plantain is also called ribwort, pig's ear, and band-aid plant.

Wikipedia states that Plantago species is an herb that has been used as an astringent, anti-toxic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine and many other uses.

Making a poultice of the leaves is useful for insect bites, poison ivy rashes, minor sores, and boils. Personally I've found that it's easier to just pick the plant and squeeze the juices of the leaf right onto the bit. The sooner I do it, the better the results.

So I found some Plantain...

Right after Craig reminded me about plantain, I went outside to find some. Within 10 feet of our front door I found a number of small plantain plants. They're super easy to use--many people just chew them for a minute then apply this to the bug bite. I just tear the leaves, then rub my bites vigorously with the torn leaves so that the juice from the torn leaves can get on the bug bite.

Some folks will make a poultice in their blender. And I read in another article this morning that you can make a plantain oil for winter use. Just place the leaves in a clean pint jar and cover them with 1 - 2 inches of olive oil. You can strain the oil off after a couple of weeks, and save the oil to use as needed.

Within seconds of the time I applied the torn leaves to my bites, I received such relief! Far better than any antihistamine. The swelling went down and there was very little itching in less than an hour. It's just plain dramatic how effective this remedy is!

Essential Oils (back to Lisa here)

There are a number of essential oils that people like to use. Some of the most popular are Melaleuca, Lavender, Peppermint, and I even heard of someone who recommended Clove. Melaleuca is probably our favorite and the one we turn to the most when we don't have plantain on hand. I don't usually dilute it when using it on bites, cuts, scratches, burns, and other skin issues.

So those are our recommendations for dealing with bug bites. What are ways that you deal with bug bites? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.


  1. Jul

    Believe it or not, I accidentally stumbled upon a very fast remedy
    for all kinds of bites.
    Before this, I used to swell up like a balloon with ea bite for days,
    nothing would work.
    Mix actual Clorox with Water 1/2 and 1/2 in Spay Bottle, or
    rub on the bite and there it goes, 5 minutes tops.

    While I do not know if Clorox is bad for the skin, I do know it has
    not damaged my skin in any way.

    • Jamo

      Clorox attacks every cell in your body in a bad way. Please use Basil plant or essential oil or Plantain. Leave the chemicals for the chemical companies.

  2. Carol

    Thx so much for the info on bug bite relief. I went to find out what the leaf looks like & oh yes, I have that 'weed' in my yard/garden as well. Will be a little more careful what I pull up & get rid of.

  3. Oscar Daniels

    Fresh basil. Crumple the leaf in your fingers and rub it on the bite. Instant relief.

  4. Ann

    Cleavers works like magic, too, for irritations. It’s that woods plant with a stalk and rings of narrow leaves (lots of pictures online). I’ve had several cases of wild parsnip that nothing helped except prednisone - but today I mashed a stalk of cleavers in a mortar, put it on the red, swollen, blistering spot and held it there with a bandaid - and four hours later, the redness, swelling, and blistering was gone. The itching stopped right away.

    Ammonia works really well for bee and wasp stings. Just scrape with a fingernail to be sure the stinger is out (if it was a bee), and slosh a little ammonia on.

    • Jamo

      Ammonia is very toxic to your body. It even affects your brain cells. There are lots of good Natural remedies which don't cause damage and actually help the body to be healthier. Please be kind to you. You are worth it.

  5. Sarah D.

    Interesting! I stumbled on the recipe below the other day when my husband was attacked by some kind of bugs (deer flies?) that left lots of painful, itchy welts on his shoulder. He was in a hurry to leave for work, so I quickly put together tea tree, lavender, and peppermint essential oils in plantain oil (I'd soaked the dried plantain leaves in olive oil, then strained them after a few weeks last year). Worked great on his shoulder! I used it on some mosquito bites I got and it was instant relief. =) I also used it (sparingly) on our 2yo; she hasn't itched and the welts are practically gone after 24 hours. So cool!

  6. Jan

    Apple Cider vinegar for mosquitoes. Put on a cotton ball and apply lightly, immediately. Calms and soothes the skin. Takes away the itching.
    Prevents the swelling too. Very gently dab the area for maybe two minutes. Works for me every time.

  7. Jamo

    I have learned that essential oil of Basil works very well, very quickly, as does the basil leaf. Leaf I just crush and rub it on the bite.

  8. Carol Moore

    I've used plantain for over 30 years on my young women campers and grandchildrenfor bee stings and insect bites. It not only helps with discomfort, it encourages healing as well. Wonderful plant.

  9. J.C.

    Lisa & Nick, where do you purchase your essential oils? I’m not looking for any type of ‘kit’, just a place where I can purchase a couple different types and see what works best for me. I’ve read many times that the oils on ‘Amazon’ are not very good, and assume you know the best vendor(s) in terms of quality & price. Thx, J.C.


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