7 All-Natural Ways to Treat Insect Bites
I’ve been focusing on insect repellents this month. I’ve looked at the negative impact that DEET can have on our health, and my last post highlighted Bug Defense, a 100% natural alternative to DEET-based bug repellents. Taking preventative measures can help reduce the chances of getting bitten, but it’s not always possible to avoid insect bites altogether. In addition to being itchy and irritating, insect bites and stings can transfer bacteria or other microbes to the skin, so it’s important treat them.
If you get bitten there are many treatment options. Calamine lotion is popular for use on bug bites, but it’s often loaded with unwanted, or even toxic, ingredients, such as parabens and artificial fragrances. In contrast, there are many natural methods of treating bites that both safe and effective. The next time you have a bug bite, try one or more of the following.
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can lower inflammation and relieve itching. To treat bites, make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the bite.
Lavender Essential Oil
With its antimicrobial properties, lavender essential oil is ideal for insect bites. As an anti-inflammatory agent, lavender oil also helps to reduce redness, itching, and swelling.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Like lavender essential oil, tea tree oil is antimicrobial, making it useful for healing infections. It is anti-inflammatory as well, so it can decrease itching, swelling, and pain. To treat insect stings with tea tree essential oil, first remove the stinger. Then apply tea tree oil diluted with a carrier oil to the affected area.
Peppermint Essential Oil
This essential oil creates a cooling sensation, which reaches the brain faster than that itchy feeling caused by insect bites. The brain can only perceive one sensation at a time, so peppermint oil can essentially block the itching, providing temporary relief (source).
Found in the nut of a tropical tree, tamanu oil has a wealth of properties that make it well-suited for treating insect bites and stings. It helps relieve pain and itching associated with bites. Tamanu oil also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce swelling and redness. Finally, it promotes healing of tissues and supports the formation of new, healthy skin. Tamanu oil is found in Verefina First Aid Stick and First Aid Ointment. These first aid products also contain lavender and tea tree essential oils, so they are excellent for use on insect bites.
Aloe vera is probably best known for its ability to heal sunburns. However, it is also useful for treating bug bites. Aloe vera contains over 130 active compounds and 34 amino acids that nourish the skin and support its health. It can also help reduce inflammation, itching, and swelling around the bite.
With its high aloe content, After-Sun Mist is useful for insect bites as well. This product also contains lavender and peppermint essential oils.
A cooled tea bag can work wonders for bites. The tannins in the tea help to reduce swelling by drawing excess fluids out of the affected area. Tannins also help pull toxins from insect bites.
With so many natural ways to soothe and heal insect bites, you’ll never want to reach for that bottle of calamine lotion again.
Gardenista. “5 Natural Ways to Ease Bug Bite Itching.” Care2. 27 July 2013. Web 23 July 2015.
Isaacs, Tony. “Natural Remedies and Repellents for Biting and Stinging Insects.” Natural News. 12 September 2008. Web. 24 July 2015.
Kilham, Chris. “Natural Remedies for Bug Bites.” Fox News. 26 June 2012. Web. 23 July 2015.
Klein, Sarah. “Mosquito Bite Treatment: 14 Natural Ways to Ease the Itch.” Huffington Post. 20 June 2012. Web. 23 July 2015.
Mercola, Joseph. “Baking Soda Uses: To Remove Splinters-- and to Address Many Other Health Needs.” Mercola.com. 27 August 2012. Web. 24 July 2015.
Mercola, Joseph. “How to Prevent and Treat Insect Bites Without Harsh Chemicals.” Mercola.com. 22 July 2013. Web. 24 July 2015.
Mercola, Joseph. “Lavender Oil: A Love for Lavender Oil.” Mercola.com. Web. 23 July 2015.
Photo courtesy of Verefina
About the Author
Katie Zapotoczny is a Verefina Affiliate and the creator of An Ever Green Life, a blog that seeks to empower readers to make changes that will improve their health and help protect our environment.