Summertime Woes: Herbal Remedies for Poison Oak, Poison Ivy and Bug Bites
By Maria Noël Mandile as published in The Herb Companion
Here are brief excerpts from the helpful information in Ms. Mandile article:
Jewelweed (Impatiens spp.)
This well-known weed tends to grow near poison ivy and historically has been used in all stages of treating a poison ivy rash. Many people simply pick a branch of the juicy herb, crush it up and apply it to the affected area. However, Susun Weed, director of the Wise Woman Center in Woodstock, New York, and author of New Menopausal Years (Ash Tree, 2003), has found another method she says works more effectively. Pick the whole plant — roots and all — and simmer it over the stove for 15 to 30 minutes until the water turns orange. This color is from the reddish roots, which contain chemicals that appear to act like the anti-inflammatory steroid cortisone. Once you strain out the herb and cool the “tea,” you can freeze it in ice-cube trays and apply directly to your skin.
Jewelweed plants will be available for purchase. If you are interested, please eMail your request. I will contact you when the plants are ready to be harvested.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Susun Weed, author of New Menopausal Years, swears by yarrow tincture, which she’s used effectively in the woods of New York, even in the bug-rich evenings. Pick the flowering tops of yarrow and cover them in vodka for six weeks, strain and put in a spray bottle. You also can use the yarrow tincture available in stores.
Yarrow - also known as Soldier's Woundwort and Common Yarrow, is a member of the Asteraceae family
Yarrow plants are available - $4 per 3" pot
To order eMail or call 617.678.1075
Plantain (Plantago spp.)
“I don’t know of any itch that can stand up to plantain,” Weed says. Plantain is a favorite bite and sting remedy of many herbalists, and for good reason. It stops the itch and pulls the bug’s toxins out of your skin. (It also works amazingly well for bee stings, Flint says.) “If it’s growing where you live, bend down, pick up a leaf, chew it (or crush it with a rock) and put it on the itch,” Weed says. “You should experience virtually instant relief.”
Check your yard for plantain. Be sure to collect only in areas away from traffic, chemically treated ground and other pollutants.
When people come to 7Song covered in bug bites, he gives them a calming tea (such as skullcap or passionflower) to help soothe their nerves and then a piece of lemon to rub on the bites. Lemon juice seems to stop the allergic reaction to bug saliva. Baking soda and apple cider vinegar work similarly.
“The onion’s de-toxifying sulphur compounds help neutralize the poison of the bite or venom of the sting, reducing inflammation,” Candee explains. Just slice open an onion and rub it on the bite. Keep doing it as often as necessary until the itching stops.
IMPORTANT: This content is not intended to replace conventional western 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 clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material on this blog is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health and healthcare. If symptoms are severe, consult your physician. If severe breakout occurs in or close around the eyes, mouth, or genital areas, seek immediate medical care. Test all ingredients on a small area of the skin before using on the affected area.