Those Bug Bites with Easy Herbs
an article by Susun S. Weed
means insect bites and stings. Ouch! Take a leaf
from Susun S. Weed's storehouse of natural remedies:
Soothe, heal, and prevent bites with safe herbal
remedies that grow right where you live: north or
south, east or west, city or country. The best natural
remedies for insect bites are right underfoot.
Plantain, also called ribwort, pig's ear, and the
band-aid plant, is a common weed of lawns, driveways,
parks and playgrounds. Identify it by the five parallel
veins running the length of each leaf. (Most leaves
have a central vein with smaller ones branching
out from it.) You may find broad leaf plantain (Plantago
majus), with wide leaves and a tall seed head, or
narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata), with
long thin leaves and a small flower head that looks
like a flying saucer. Many Plantago species have
seeds and leaves that can be used as food or medicine.
A South American variety (Plantago psyllium) is
used to make MetamucilÔ.
How to use plantain? Make a fresh leaf poultice.
Pick a leaf, chew it well and put it on the bite.
"Like magic" the pain, heat, and swelling
- even allergic reactions - disappear, fast! (Yes,
you can dry plantain leaves and carry them in your
first aid kit. Chew like you would fresh leaves.)
Poultices ease pain, reduce swelling, and help heal.
No wonder they're the number one natural choice
for treating insect bites, bee and wasp stings.
Mud is the oldest and simplest poultice. Powdered
white clay, which should be mixed with a little
water or herb tea, can be applied directly to the
sting as soon as possible. Clay can be kept on hand
at all times and is less likely to contain fungal
spores than the real thing. Finely ground grains
such as rice or oatmeal, or bland starchy substances
like mallow root, grated potato, or arrowroot powder
are also used as soothing poultices to ease itching
and pain from insect bites.
Fresh-herb poultices are a little more complicated,
but not by much. Just find a healing leaf, pluck
it, chew it, and apply it directly to the sting/bite.
If you wish, use a large leaf or an adhesive bandage
to hold the poultice in place. Plantain, comfrey
(Symphytum uplandica x), yellow dock (Rumex species),
wild geranium (Geranium maculatum), wild mallow
(Malva neglecta), chickweed (Stellaria media), and
yarrow are only a few of the possibilities.
In the woods, you can take a leaf from a tree, chew
it and apply that to the bite. Any tree will do
in an emergency, but if you have a choice, the best
leaves are those from witch hazel, willow, oak or
maple. Play it safe: learn to recognize witch hazel
(Hamamelis virginia) and willow (Salix species)
leaves before you chew on them. Maple (Acer) or
oak (Quercus) leaves are easier to recognize and
safer to chew - unless you live where poison oak
grows. If uncertain, avoid all shrubs and any trees
with slick or shiny leaves. If the leaf you are
chewing tastes extremely bitter or burns your mouth,
spit it out at once.
To repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies, try
a diluted tincture of yarrow (Alchellia millefolium)
flowers directly on all exposed skin. A recent US
Army study showed yarrow tincture to be more effective
than DEET as an insect repellent.
If youve spent the day in an area where lyme
disease is common, take a shower right away and
scrub yourself with a bodybrush. Have a friend check
you out for ticks. Also, it takes the tick some
time to make up its mind where to bite, so most
are unattached and will wash off.
"If the worst happens and I do get a bite,
I help my immune system by taking a daily dose of
2-6 dropperfuls of Echinacea tincture. I avoid Goldenseal
as I believe it could have adverse effects. If I
have symptoms, I use a dropperful of St. Joan's
wort (Hypericum) tincture three times a day to ensure
the lyme's organism is inactive."
Disclaimer: This content is not intended
to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions
made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose,
treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or
symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided
by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare
practitioner with a specific formula for you. All
material on this website/email is provided for general
information purposes only and should not be considered
medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable
healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical
care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second
PO Box 64
Susun Weed at: www.susunweed.com and www.ashtreepublishing.com
For permission to reprint this article, contact
and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international
reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings,
and writings on health and nutrition. She challenges
conventional medical approaches with humor, insight,
and her vast encyclopedic knowledge of herbal medicine.
Unabashedly pro-woman, her animated and enthusiastic
lectures are engaging and often profoundly provocative.
Susun is one
of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine
and natural approaches to women's health. Her four
best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists
and well-known physicians and are used and cherished
by millions of women around the world. Learn more
article is © copyright Susun
S. Weed 2000 - Republished here with kind permission.