July 10, 2013

Naturally Dealing With An Insect Sting

I was pruning back the monster that is our boysenberry bush this morning, cutting back the dead and dying canes and training the new growth that will gives us next year's berries, when I found a nest of loving and sweet wasps. Or rather, one of them found me. I didn't even see the stupid thing but I certainly felt him on the back of my hand as he told me, repeatedly, to get away from his home.

I smacked at my hand before I even knew what was going on and my work glove was off in an instant. As soon as I saw what it was, I knew what needed to be done.

I'm not one for taking drugs. I hate taking drugs. I will even go hours with a headache because I don't like to take drugs. So my first thought was not "Go get the Benedryl!" It was "Off to the mud!"

I've always treated stings with mud, so a quick cake of mud on the back of the hand it was. I'm not sure how it works exactly, but one would assume that as the mud dries it pulls the toxins out of the wound. I let that sit for a little bit and it immediately felt better as soon as the cool mud hit my skin.

Then I remembered that I had some lemon balm growing in my herb pot. I'm very interested in herbal healing, and am slowly learning more and more about what herbs are good for what ailments. Lemon Balm is a cooling herb and can help to reduce swelling and irritation from insect stings and bites. The essential oil is the best way to get these healing properties, but I don't have just the oil, so I did what I could.

I removed the mud I had put on at first. Then I took four leaves from the plant and crushed them up a bit with my teeth, then placed them directly on the sting. I then covered them with a whole leaf that I had bruised, and covered all of it with a coat of mud.

Then I cut a strip of old T-shirt and tied it around my hand, mostly to keep the mud in place and from me brushing up against stuff with a muddy hand. Just make sure to tie it so that when you pick up your knitting the yarn isn't running through the mud....

The sting feels amazingly better! I kept all that on for an hour, then removed it all and put a fresh batch on for another 30 minutes or so. There is barely any swelling (just a tiny bit) and it hardly hurts at all. I'm really impressed with how quickly it all worked, and how much better it feels.

And now, I'm off to spray the whole stupid nest with RAID.

Happy Herbing!


Kessie said...

Wow, smart thinking! I know aloe vera is great for wasp stings, too. I guess when they call it balm, they're not kidding!

Our Neck of the Woods said...

I'm glad your natural method worked! I'll have to keep that in mind for the summer. Wasp stings are just about the worst things to me. They hurt so bad!

While at a lavender farm over the weekend, the owner was giving a talk and said that lavender oil can help to relieve pain from stings and bites as well. Good to know!

Farm Girl said...

Great idea and I am glad it worked. I hope you obliterated those wasps!! At least it wasn't the kids.
Comfrey works too. If you have any, I think the balm would work just as well. Do you know since it has been hot I have a hen who wants to sit in the mint? I think it must make her feel cooler.
You are a true blogger. :)

MarmePurl said...

OUCH. I can handle just about anything except burns and stings.
Such good ideas (along with yours) in the comments section.

Kim said...

Toothpaste also helps with insect bites.

Amber said...

Wow. This is good to know!

danika said...

To get rid of the wasps try mixing dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle and spray them with it. This works wonderfully for the big red wasps we get here. They die immediately, not exactly sure how it works but I believe something in the soap does not allow them to breathe. We always have a bottle handy when outside. Hope this helps!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Hmmm...I've never used mud, only baking soda/water mix. I'll have to try that next time. Have you tried applying pressure to the point between your thumb and first finger when you have a headache? I don't like meds either and usually try that first. :) Hope all is better!!

myletterstoemily said...

look at you, dr. quinn medicine woman!
i just ordered some essential oils from
janette (janette's sage) and look forward
to learning all about them.

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