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Treating Bug Bites Naturally

Updated on October 26, 2017
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Melody has volunteered with the CDC and is a member of the Medical Reserve Corps. She brings awareness to public health concerns.

Making Bites Go Away

Make bug bites go away naturally with household items.
Make bug bites go away naturally with household items. | Source

Treating Bug Bites Naturally

The intense itching of bug bites can drive you crazy, and the redness can be a real eyesore. Treating bug bites naturally can remedy both problems. Below, you will learn about natural, herbal, and home remedies for minor bug bites. How you treat your bite, or rash, might depend on what bit you.

Herbal and Home Remedies for Bug Bites:

  • Witch Hazel
  • Baking Soda Paste
  • Juniper Berries
  • Aloe
  • Mint Oil
  • Lavender
  • Other Essential Oils
  • Herbs
  • Cinnamon and Honey
  • Ayurvedic Remedies

Bugs That Bite You

If you are like most people, you are looking for ways to prevent bites from driving you crazy. If you have chronic bites, you may have a problem with bugs that cause infestations, like bed bugs and fleas. In those cases, you must cure both the bite and the infestation.

Common biting bugs:

  • Bed bugs
  • Mosquitos
  • Spiders
  • Mites
  • Fleas

Options for treating bug bite or rashes:

  • Herbal treatments, such as essential oils and oats
  • Over-the-counter medicines and creams
  • Prescription medicines and creams

Redness and Irritation

These are bed bug bites. They come in clusters, usually of threes.
These are bed bug bites. They come in clusters, usually of threes. | Source

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel, a member of the family, Hamamelidaceae, is the most popular natural treatment for bug bites. It works well without leaving strange smells behind.

Buyer beware: the witch hazel astringent found in the drugstore (the stuff used for removing makeup and as a facial cleanser), does not contain a decent dose of the active ingredient.

The active ingredient in witch hazel is tannin. That is what causes cessation of itching and redness. Witch hazel is an ingredient in hemorrhoid products and some hydrocortisone products. True witch hazel, the type with high levels of tannin, kills the pain and shrinks tissue. This is why it is one of the best natural treatments for bug bites.

I know this suggestion sounds odd, and of course consult your doctor, but some people like to buy hemorrhoids pads and wipe the affected area to stop itching. Alternatively, you can get the liquid and make your own pads by soaking pads in witch hazel and then sealing them in ziplock baggies.

Baking Soda Paste, Juniper Berries, Aloe Vera

The following section covers these natural treatments for bug bites:

  • Baking Soda
  • Juniper Berries and Cloves
  • Aloe Vera

Some bugs inject an anticoagulant when they bite you. This is especially true in cases of blood-sucking insects like mosquitoes and bed bugs. Be extra sure to clean these bite with soap and water before applying treatment.

Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda is a mineral. Its medicinal use is well documented, including as an anti-itch medicine. It is the cheapest natural treatment for bites.

Directions:

Use 1 tsp of water for every 3 tsp of baking soda. Apply this to the skin, let it dry, or use it as a compress.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a plant that helps with everything from athlete’s foot to sunburns. Mother nature gifted humanity when she created this plant.

You can get aloe from almost any store, however, using aloe fresh from the plant is a great way to harness the anti-itch properties. It is commonly used to treat all types of bug bites, even those of spiders and fleas.

You can get the plant from most Home & Garden centers. Thankfully, this is a versatile indoor-outdoor plant. It grows fast enough to provide as much aloe as you need. Of course, most people chose to buy prepared aloe.

Directions:

If you use aloe from a store, simple massage an ample amount of the bug bite after you wash it and let it dry. To use aloe straight from the plant, snap off a portion of the plant. You can squeeze it in an upward motion towards the base where it was snapped from the plant. A clear, gooey liquid will ooze out. Apply this directly to the wound.

You can also make a small incision down the edge of an aloe leaf, and open the plant. You can then apply it directly to the skin. If you are allergic to aloe, chose another method.

Juniper Berries and Cloves

*Not For Pregnant Women

Juniper Berries and cloves are old world natural treatments for rashes, and also happen to work on the bite of most bugs.

These berries are dark purple and are a member of the family Cupressaceae. They contain copious amounts of vitamin C, and the byproduct is regarded as an oil. Not only do the oils reduce itching, vitamin C can actually be taken to help fortify the immune response. Cloves, like basil, contains eugenol, which also helps numb skin irritation.

Directions:

A great recipe for an all natural anti-itch salve you can use comes from the Farmer's Almanac.

Melt two tablespoons of beeswax in a saucepan, add about 1/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/3 cup ground juniper berries, and a tablespoon of ground cloves and stir. Allow the salve to cool before applying to itchy skin.

Natures Way

Many herbs help with skin conditions, such as itching and swelling.
Many herbs help with skin conditions, such as itching and swelling. | Source

Mint and Other Members of Lamiaceae

Lamiaceae is a family of plants that naturalists use for thousands of medicinal purposes. They are perfect for reducing swelling, redness, and irritation from bug bites.

Each member of this family has specialized properties, each one working to heal multiple types of skin irritation. These special plants are mint, basil, lavender and a few others.

Mint

Menthol is the active ingredient in mint. It is a remedy for a number of illnesses, such as upset stomach and inflammation.

Directions:

Having your own mint plant is optimal, but most drug stores sell peppermint oil for under $7 a bottle.

Having your own plant is best because you can also use leaves to make tea. The expense of mint turns some people off. Growing your own plant is far more economical.

Basil

When most people think about basil, they think about the little jar of it on the spice rack. It is widely used to make foods spicier, but can also be used to cure itching.

Basil is more amazing than most people realize. It contains a substance called Eugenol. It's a painkiller that numbs the nerves. It is also an analgesic and antiseptic.

It is so good at what it does that it is used in dental work. If it can stop the dental pain, it will certainly work to help stop bug bite itching.

Directions:

To use basil as a natural remedy either use basil essential oil or make a paste with dried basil leaves. If you use the essential oil, dab it onto a cotton ball and then apply to the wound.

To make your own basil paste you can add basil to a baking soda paste mixture or dampen the basil and apply a compress.

Cinnamon and Honey

You probably have cinnamon and honey in your kitchen. They are much more than popular food items. Both have unique properties, which make them a perfect mix for treating bug bites. Honey is quite amazing and can help relieve, prevent, and even cure allergic reactions of all kinds. When you get honey, you should always make sure that it came from a local honey farm.

Bees make this miraculous nectar from local pollen, which means that not all honey is the same. To get protection from local allergies, you need to use local honey. Honey does many things when it comes to curing skin irritation. First, it moisturizes the skin, reducing the chance that the area will become dry, crack and turn into an open sore that could get infected.

Honey is also known to work with the body, helping it to heal itself faster. Using honey helps reduce redness and swelling, and reduces the length of time it will be visible.

These are just a few of many reasons you should use honey in this mixture. There are two main reasons that cinnamon and honey make one of the best bug bite treatment. One reason is that you want to mix a dry item and a wet item to make a paste which will dry on the skin. Honey is the wet item, and cinnamon is the dry item.

An even more important reason to use cinnamon is that it is known to be a prostaglandin inhibitor. Prostaglandin inhibitors reduce inflammation, soothe itchiness, and alleviate pain.

Lavender

Lavender is an interesting natural remedy for bug bites. It treats itching but doesn't leave an odd smell. Symbolically it is also said to ward off bugs and evil.

It immediately stops the itch, plus many people claim that taking a lavender bath before you go to sleep is claimed to ward off some bugs, like fleas and bed bugs, through the night.

Directions:

Take a warm lavender bath.

Some suggest using a mixture of juniper berries and lavender oil in your bath to increase the healing powers of lavender.

Ayurvedic Home Remedies

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Over-the-Counter Creams

A more traditional way to treat itchy bites and rashes, is with over-the-counter creams. There are tons on the market, and you may already have a favorite. Out of the entire over the counter creams, my favorite is Maximum Strength Cortisone.

Cortisone is one of many hydrocortisone products. You can find a full list of them at Mayoclinic.com. These products work by inhibiting the natural inflammatory response.

To use:

  • Wash rash
  • Dry rash completely
  • Apply cream to rash

The benefit of using cortisone over other products is how quickly it reduces redness. This product is also prescribed by doctors. The con is that it is not considered to be a natural treatment, which turns some people away.

If You Feel in Danger From a Bug Bite Call a Doctor

Make sure to use common sense. If you are really worried about your bite, call a doctor.
Make sure to use common sense. If you are really worried about your bite, call a doctor. | Source

Medical Care for Bug Bites

Consult a doctor if you cannot positively identify your bite rash and it seems serious. Due to the nature of rash diseases, it is vital to rule out other causes of the rash, especially in children. It might not be a bite at all.

Once a rash is identified, your doctor will probably not have you come every time something bites you. However, if the itching is intense, you may wish to go to the doctor to get prescription creams or a shot to reduce the allergic reaction.

Preventing itching is important because scratching the bite can open it up, which can lead to an infection. If the bite does open, it is a sign you need to go to the doctor to get something to help stop the itch.

You may also be given antibiotics if there is a worry about infection. Most bug bites do not cause fevers. Any rash accompanied by a fever needs to be treated by a doctor. If the rash causes a fever, you may need to address the possibility of a poisonous spider bite.

This Hub is for general advice only and should not be used as medical Advice. You should seek a doctors opinion before trying anything you see here.

Work Cited

Ph. D., Martini, Frederic and Judi L. Nath, Ph. D. Anatomy & Physiology 2nd Ed. San Francisco: Pearson. 2012. Print.

© 2012 Melody Trent

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    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 4 years ago from London, UK

      Very interesting and useful read. How many years do you think people should keep Mattresses? For Kids and For Adults. It's probably the best way to avoid these bugs.

      Thanks

    • website-redesign profile image

      website-redesign 5 years ago from califronia

      hmm this is one of those articles i don't need now but will hit the bookmark pile for when i do need it :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You have listed some really good natural remedies here for easing the itching from bedbug bites. I have tried aloe vera for burns and cuts and it does work miracles. Baking soda is so useful for so many other ailments, including bedbug bites. Well done and voted way up!

    • Jenn-Anne profile image

      Jenn-Anne 5 years ago

      Lots of useful info!

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      Great Hub, by the looks of the pics im glad to say i don't have them but i hope this may be of use to anybody that does