When I step outside in the summer and fall, it is the same as ringing a dinner bell for mosquitoes and other biting insects. Something about my blood chemistry is particularly attractive and within minutes I am swatting and inevitably running. There are plenty of insect repellents on the market, but either they aren’t very effective or the chemicals used are the stuff of nightmares.
It’s helpful to have some natural, handy ways of dealing with the itching and swelling these little critters leave behind. Rule number one is do not scratch a bug bite. For many people, scratching leads to a rash or an infection and can leave you with uneven pigmentation. Give the bite a slap or a pinch until you can use one of the natural itch relief remedies below.
Cold therapy can provide relief from itching and keep the swelling down. A cube of ice on the bite will numb the nerves so itching and pain are reduced. It is a temporary measure to be sure, but does provide quick relief.
2. Real aloe
I was fortunate enough to walk through a Hawaiian jungle a number of years ago. But the experience left me literally covered in bites from head to toe. I was miserable. An elderly Hawaiian gardener saw my skin. He told me to wait and disappeared into his garden. He came back with a spear from the aloe plant. Breaking it in half, he squeezed the gel onto my bites. He gave me the aloe piece and told me to apply it several times a day and the bites would go away quickly. Aloe is very soothing on the skin and great for itching and swelling. Try to use the real plant if possible rather than a bottle of processed gel from the store. The only caveat here is that aloe allergies do exist, so know your own skin and any sensitivity you may have.
3. Real lemon balm
It’s a common plant, easy to grow and it is particularly fragrant when the stems are crushed or broken. Lemon is a natural repellent. We have a huge patch behind our house and before heading to the barn in the summer, I will grab a nice handful and rub the plant directly on my skin, crushing the stems and leaves. Pesky skeeters leave me alone.
4. Real basil
Your herb garden isn’t there just to help you create culinary masterpieces, it is a medicine cabinet as well. Basil is so easy to grow, a little patch is worth the time. As soon as you have been bitten, grab a few leaves to crush and roll between your fingers. Gently rub into the bite and find immediate relief.
5. Essential oils and blends
Various essential oils and combination blends can be helpful in deterring our needle-nosed nemesis. Citronella, lemongrass, sweet basil, tea tree and lavender are all gifted with deterrent properties by Mother Nature. Hint… check out our Essential Oil Based Natural Bug Spray.
6. White vinegar
An old-timers remedy, the acidity in vinegar helps to stop itching; however, being an acid, it can sting. Be sure to dilute at least 1:1 with water. Great to dry up oozing rashes, and it is antibacterial. Diluted cold vinegar compresses can relieve the sting of sunburn as well.
7. Raw organic honey
Honey is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. A few drops of honey can help ease the itch of bug bites.
For large, inflamed bites lay thin slices of cucumber or eggplant over the inflamed area. These help to draw out the toxins and soothe the inflammation.
9. Dandelion leaves
Well known as a poison ivy treatment, blending together dandelion leaves, honey and aloe vera will give you a wonderful poultice. Works for insect bites too!
10. Milk compresses
Last but not least, miraculous milk… It doesn’t have to be goat milk, but it should contain a healthy amount of fat and cream to nourish/heal the skin and reduce inflammation! Apply the compress for at least three to five minutes. Learn more about the power of goat milk!