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.