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Natural Treatments for Insect Bites and Stings

Spending time outdoors can unfortunately come with the drawback of pests.

Bites and stings are a nuisance, but there are natural treatments to help ease irritation and itchiness without using a fog of chemically laden products.

For bites and stings that are bothersome, looking in the kitchen or pantry is likely to turn up some effective natural remedies.

Though a normal reaction may be to swat at the area or incessantly scratch it, this can worsen the problem and cause more of an insect’s irritating poison to enter the system. Instead, calmly remove any stingers or remnants and clean the area with water. Simply applying an ice pack can help with many mild stings or bites.

Ground oatmeal, vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda can all be used to alleviate problems associated with itchy skin. Mixing any of these with a little water and gently applying to the affected area can help, but don’t do this if there are any open sores.

Onions are comprised of enzymes which have healing properties and can supposedly reduce mild stinging sensations when they are allowed to set on the skin. Pure honey, which is a naturally soothing antimicrobial, can be topically applied for relief, too.

Teas can also be used in soothing home remedies. Brewed, cooled natural teas can help decrease discomfort when used as a soak or rinse. Also, herbs like mint, thyme and basil can be steeped in teas for added benefits. All of these contain natural compounds that help alleviate itchiness and inflammation.

The Aloe Vera plant is popularly used for minor cuts, rashes, scrapes and stings. The thick inner gel of the leaves provides a natural cooling effect.

Consider adding a few essential oils to the pantry or cabinet to have on hand for treating skin discomforts caused by insects and bugs. For instance, lavender oil can be calming when applied and tea tree oil can decrease irritation and lessen the chance for infection.

Other useful oils for insect bites and stings are tamanu and manuka oils. Recommended by a medicine hunter, these are powerful first aid tools.

Perfect for insect induced skin irritations, tamanu oil helps with the itching and pain. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Further, it is a cicatrizing agent which aids in developing fresh skin tissue. Tamanu oil comes from tropical tree nuts, so be sure when purchasing it that the oil is ethically and sustainably produced. Manuka oil grows naturally in New Zealand. In addition to reducing pain and redness it is also a strong antibacterial.

If you are out in the middle of nowhere with nothing around and happen to get a dreadful bite or sting, try using mud. Many report that putting it on the affected area can provide some comfort until a better treatment is available.

Sometimes the best ailments for minor symptoms are the simplest ones.

Image Source: WikimediaCommons

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