It’s summertime and a great time for boating, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities! But do you hate the chemical crap that’s available to keep the bugs away?
Take a look in your general store and you’ll find plenty of manufactured ways to keep bugs off of your skin and to heal bug bites. These commercial sprays and remedies are usually quite effective, but many of them contain chemicals that are harmful to your body and the environment. You may even find yourself having a worse reaction to them than you would have had to any bug! But, what other options are there, really?
Herbs that you can find in specialty stores or oftentimes in your own backyard are a great, natural, non-toxic, and equally effective way to combat bugs and bug bites.
Tea tree oil, lavender essential oil, and peppermint essential oil are the three types of oils most recommended by herbalists for their ability to neutralize the toxicity of a bug bite, stave off itchiness, and reduce skin inflammation. An undiluted drop or two of any of these oils can be applied directly onto the skin or bug bite, or add a few drops into clay, honey, or baking soda mixtures first to increase their efficacy. If you want another essential oil to keep bugs away, choose one that has a spicy, pungent, or woodsy odor, such as cedar wood, citronella, eucalyptus, and rosemary.
The plantain plant makes its home along the roadways and in the backyards of American homes as an unassuming weed. Give it a closer look and learn about its “drawing” properties and you have another treatment for bug bites.
Simply take the fresh herb (or you can dry it out), chop/grind it finely, add water, and then apply this mixture to a sting or bite. You should feel the area begin to warm; this means that the toxins are being drawn from the skin. Continue adding more plantain to the bite until the swelling and pain has subsided.
Native Americans have called plantain “Whiteman’s Foot” because it seems to spring up everywhere. Although many consider plantain to be a noxious weed, it has been used for centuries by many cultures throughout the world, with the Saxons calling it one of their nine sacred herbs.
Although harmful in other forms, tobacco as a topical herb possesses many medicinal properties. A small bunch of loose tobacco leaves, combined with water or apple cider and turned into a paste, can be applied topically to a bite to help ease pain and can remain on the skin until the swelling has subsided. However, if you notice the area becoming irritated, wash away the paste completely.
The next time you’re looking to find a way to stop the bugs from bugging you, look no further than at what nature has provided for you!
Do you have any natural remedies to share? Join the conversation with a reply below…
P.S. Here’s a cool recipe for a backyard salve I found on this blog:
1 part Plantain
1 part Chickweed
1 part Comfrey
Use fresh herbs. Clean them and let them air dry and start to wilt. This helps remove some of the water content which can cause the salve to spoil faster.
▪ Add chopped herbs to a small crock pot or double boiler.
▪ Cover herbs with olive and then about an inch above.
▪ Heat herbs and oil on low for several hours (around 3 hours)
▪ Let this mixture cool
▪ Strain through cheese cloth
▪ Add beeswax to the strained oil, melt (A cup of oil will require 1/2 – 3/4 ounce of beeswax, start small and work up)
▪ To test the hardness, put on metal spoon and let it cool. If it’s too soft, add more beeswax
▪ Pour into jars and allow to cool
*Many beekeepers use toxic chemicals and those chemicals stay in the wax, so always use organic wax. If you can find some from a local trusted beekeeper, even better!