The Best Home Remedies For Bug Bites And Poison Ivy

Here are the most effective home remedies to help bring you relief!

August 21, 2017
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mosquito bite
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It's been scientifically proven that nature makes you a better person, and what better time to head outside than summer. Whether you're taking a stroll to enjoy butterflies, native plants, or some quiet reflective time along a pond, being outside helps you become more attentive, kind, and nurturing. But if you happen to step into a patch of poison or become a mosquito's favorite meal source, you may be the one needing nurturing. 

Related: 6 Surprising Mosquito Repellents

We combed through some our favorite Rodale home-remedy books to share the best ways to deal with summer bug bites and poison.

Here's some all-natural poison relief from The Big Doctor's Book of Home Remedies

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Stop it from setting in

When it comes to coming into contact with common poison plants that cause rashes, there is a certain window of time where you can try to wash the affected area to keep a rash from breaking out. According to The Big Doctor's Book of Home Remedies, time is of the essence. "You can stop an outbreak if you act quickly enough," says Richard Antaya, MD, professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. "If you have access to soap and water, wash any exposed areas as quickly as possible. Or pour rubbing alcohol over your skin immediately. Don't use a washcloth, though. It just picks up the urushiol oil in poison ivy and spreads it around. 

Related: The Best, And Worst, Bug Repellents

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Use jewelweed for relief

The most popular herbal treatment is jewelweed, also known as impatiens or touch-me-not. James Duke, PhD, says he uses jewelweed to stop the rash from developing. "I ball up the whole plant and make sort of a washrag out of it to wipe the poison sap off," he says. "Jewelweed is fairly easy to find in the wild, if you know what to look for. The succulent plant has orange and yellow flowers, which bloom from June through September in moist, shaded areas. You can even order a bottle from several online suppliers (like this No Rein's Jewelweed Salve). Slather it on skin to soothe the itching.

Related: 8 Bug Killers that Aren't Worth Your Money

We hope you enjoy the products we're recommending as much as we do! Just so you know, Organic Life may get a share of sales from the links on this page.
mud pack
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Get muddy

Find a bentonite clay "mud pack" at a health food store (like this Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay), and mix it with water until it forms a thick goo. Spread it over the infected skin to dry up blisters and control the itch of poison, then remove it when it starts to flake off or gets itchy. For more relief, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of powdered Oregon grape root to the clay poultice to fight infection. If the rash feels hot, add a drop of lavender essential oil to produce a cooling effect. 

Related: 5 Essential Oils That Will Replace Your Entire Medicine Cabinet

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Try a cool dressing or compress

Another simple way to bring relief to poison-laden skin is to moisten a sheet or pillowcase and lay it over the affected area. "This produces a cooling, calming effect," says Dr. Antaya. "I tell my patients to leave it there until it dries. You can also add a bit of tea to your dressing or compress for additional relief. Any common black tea contains tannins that are very helpful. Let the tea cool, dampen a cloth, and apply it for 10 minutes every three to four hours. 

Related: 16 Home Health Remedies From Your Fridge

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Give other herbs a try

To help fight inflammation in blistered, irritated skin, mix 1 part echinacea tincture with 3 parts water and rinse the poison-affected areas with the mixture several times a day.

Related: Kitchen Cures For Summer Skin And Hair

Check out these other natural poison and bug-bite relief from Joey Green's Magic Health Remedies:

Corn starch
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Corn starch and apple cider vinegar

Mix 1 teaspoon of corn starch with enough apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste, and apply it over an insect bite. The cornstarch sucks out venom from the bite, and the vinegar soothes the burning itch. 

Related: The Best Herbal Remedies To Treat Your Sunburn

Apple cider vinegar
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Apple cider vinegar

To soothe a rash from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and cold water in a trigger spray bottle, and mist the rash with the tangy solution.

Related: 10 Natural Solutions For Fleas

witch hazel
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Witch hazel

A few drops of witch hazel applied with a cotton ball to an insect bite or sting instantly relieves the pain. Witch hazel is an astringent. 

Related: 5 Foods Making Your Pain Feel Worse

Vanilla extract
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Vanilla extract

Your pantry could hold the key ingredient to keeping mosquitoes at bay! Mix 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract and 1 cup of water in a trigger-spray bottle and mist yourself with the fragrant solution. The vanilla you use for baking repels mosquitoes. (Try these other 5 Surprising Mosquito Repellents.)

Epsom salt
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Epsom salt

Dissolve 2 tablespoons epsom salt in 1 cup water, saturate a washcloth with the solution, and place the damp cloth over the affected area to relieve the inflammation caused by poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. 

More: 4 Cures to the Most Common Skin Ailments

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To remove the resin from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac from your skin immediately to prevent or minimize a reaction, pour vodka over the affected area. The alcohol disperses the urushiol and removes it from the skin.

The article The Best Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Poison Ivy originally appeared on Rodale Wellness.