Bug bites are an inevitable part of summer. And let’s face it, for many of us, our arms, legs, neck and ankles are a veritable smorgasbord for those biting pests. Bumps
and itchiness that accompany bites develop from an anticoagulant that
the bug injects to prevent your blood from clotting. What follows is a
mild allergic reaction and typical round, red bumps. Fortunately, there are many remedies to soothe those bites, and they don’t involve applying toxic chemicals to your skin.
Although aloe is about 99 percent
water, the remaining one percent contains over 100 active compounds and
amino acids, beneficial to your skin. Aloe speeds wound healing by
improving blood circulation, preventing cell death, according to a pharmacognosy study published in the National Library of Medicine (NCBI) .
harvest aloe from the plant, make sure the aloe plant is mature, at
least eight inches in length, and the leaves are fleshy and green. Use
the outside leaves, since they are the oldest and contain the thick
nutrient-rich gel. Once cut, the wound will seal and new growth will
sprout from the center. Carefully split open the leaf to extract the gel
and rub it on your bug bite.
- Aloe Vera
Using vinegar to fight infections and
other acute conditions dates back to 460-377 BC, when Hippocrates the
father of modern medicine, recommended vinegar for cleaning ulcerations
and treating sores, suggests research from the Department of Nutrition, Arizona State University. Apple cider vinegar is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it ideal for soothing and disinfecting bug bites.
Add a little vinegar to a cotton ball
and gently dab the bite. For all-over body bites, add two-thirds cup to
a warm bath and soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Apple cider vinegar
Baking soda, a natural disinfectant,
reduces inflammation. Witch hazel, a natural astringent, draws out
excess fluid. Combining the two ingredients provides quick itch relief
while reducing swelling.
- Baking soda and witch hazel
Peel a banana and rub the soft interior of the peel over your bug bite. The fruit acids, vitamins and minerals in the peel help to soothe away pain and itching.
- Banana peel
Basil, a culinary and medicinal herb, is ideal for bug bites thanks to chemical compounds like eugenol that relieves itchy skin. To make a basil rub:
Dip a washcloth into it the steeped
basil water and rub it gently on your bites. Alternately, chop a few
fresh basil leaves until very fine and rub them on to your bite.
- Boil two cups of water and remove from heat.
- Add 1/2 ounce of dried basil leaves.
- Allow the mixture to steep until it is cool.
Raw honey is another ancient remedy.
The healing property of honey is due to its antibacterial activity and
because it helps maintains a moist wound condition, suggests research
conducted by the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, KPC Medical
College and Hospital, India. Additionally, its high viscosity helps
provide a protective barrier on the bite, preventing infection. Dab a
small amount of raw honey onto your bite to reduce swelling and help it
- Raw honey
Citrus juice not only stops the itch,
but also supplies quick antimicrobial relief, preventing infection. Dab
lemon or lime juice over fresh bites with a cotton ball. Let it dry,
then rinse well. The natural antioxidants and alpha-hydroxy acids found
in citrus juice work to naturally cleanse the bug bite.
- Lemon or lime juice
Proteins naturally present in milk
are both anti-inflammatory and anti-itch. Soak a cotton ball in milk and
dab your bug bite. Use skim milk for best results, but if you only have
high-fat milk on hand, that will do.
The cooling oils naturally present in
peppermint help stop pain and itching. Apply crushed, fresh peppermint
leaves over bug bites or lightly dab the bite with a drop of peppermint
essential oil for fast relief.
Tea bags draw fluid from bug bites,
reducing itching and swelling. Gently rub a cool, moist tea bag over the
bite, the natural tannins in the leaves will draw out excess fluid to
reduce pain and swelling.
- Tea bag
Used for centuries by the aboriginal
people of Australia, tea tree oil is used topically to heal a wide array
of skin infections. The U.S. Department of Health
and Human Resources, National Center for Complementary and Integrative
Health, suggests tea tree oil may be used for wounds, fungal infections
and skin lesions.
- Tea tree oil
You probably never thought of using coconut oil on insect bites, but it actually works wonders to stop the itch and pain. A study
conducted by the Department of Biochemistry, University of Kerala,
India, applied virgin coconut oil to the wounds of young rats. They
found that the wounds healed much faster and collagen levels increased.
Coconut oil kills harmful microbes
and bacteria from affected areas, healing the wound faster and without
infection. Additionally, coconut oil rejuvenates skin cells, helps in
shedding of dead skin cells and provides necessary moisture to the skin,
which results in less scarring.
- Virgin coconut oil
- Create your own bug bite balm
Make your own kid-safe bug bite balm for camping trips or backyard
barbecues. A few simple ingredients melted together and you have instant
relief. To make your bug balm:
Gently melt beeswax and cocoa butter
in a double boiler. Once the mixture is melted, stir in essential oils.
Transfer the mixture to a pourable container and pour into individual
lip balm tubes or jars. Allow to cool before using.
Here’s to a bite-free summer!
- 1 Tbsp, plus 1 tsp grated beeswax, packed
- 2 tsp cocoa butter
- 1 tsp tea tree essential oil
- 1 tsp lavender essential oil
Post a Comment