Summer is insect season and those pesky bites bother most everyone, even city dwellers – though they can be most tormenting on an outback camping experience. Why not turn to natural homeopathic remedies to help soothe the itch of mosquito bites and the pain of wasp stings? Nothing beats prevention however, so change into long pants and socks when hiking in tall grass to discourage tick bites and add a layer of light coloured clothing when out at dawn and dusk. Mosquito netting is a must while sleeping outdoors. My top favourite homeopathy help for summer bites and stings are short and sweet. Take these along to any camping trip or keep at home in your remedy kit.
Apis mellifica 30ch is homeopathic bee venom so it suits those bites and stings that cause swelling and stinging pains, the type that swell instantly, look hot and red – and you want to apply ice. I once had a sting to the face while hanging out laundry and took Apis immediately. It worked so well that it didn’t swell at all and the pain subsided in minutes. Unfortunately, I didn’t repeat and the next morning I woke up to the shock of a hot, red, swollen face on one side. Fortunately, a couple more doses of the Apis managed the swelling and inflammation quickly and it was all back to normal by evening when I had to give a presentation. Even I forget how well the remedies work and succumb to believing that it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought! Now I always recommend at least three doses of the remedy – if you’re going to take a remedy, you may as well give a few doses in a row. Remember that a remedy is not always necessary, which is why I also recommend topical applications(see below).
Apis 30ch (or 200ch) may also help allergies to stings but repeat frequently, every 5-15 minutes for a few doses, but please don’t rely on it if your life depends on it! Never avoid giving an Epipen if needed and available – though you can always add Apis while on the way to the hospital – I like to use the best of both worlds. Apis 30ch is also a good choice if you have reactions to mosquito bites, if they get very hot, red and swell and feel more hot and stingy rather than itchy, though Ledum is also recommended here.
Ledum palustre 30ch is from the Labrador or marsh tea plant (also known as wild rosemary). This is the most recommended remedy for any bite or sting and it can be hard to tell apart from Apis since there can also be swelling and pain which improves by applying ice. Consider Ledum 30ch a better fit if the bite or sting causes a purple or mottled discolouration and while the affected part may feel cold to touch, it is soothed by the application of ice rather than heat. I find this isn’t typical for a wasp or bee sting (although it can be) but it’s rather for the spider bite or animal bite. Ledum 30ch is the number one remedy for mosquito or tick bites as well. As previously mentioned, consider it over Apis when the bite or sting is cold to touch, though they are both recommended in the literature interchangeably for bites and stings.
Ledum may possibly prevent tick borne Lyme’s disease, although the evidence is anecdotal, as I haven’t been able to find any research supporting the clinical evidence. For Lyme’s the advice of a homeopath is recommended for correct repetition and remedy selection, as when acute problems become chronic, there is rarely just one remedy needed. Both Ledum and Apis are used for overreactions to bites and often you’ll find that after a few doses of the correct remedy, those oversensitivities usually abate – even for future bites. Keep Ledum 30ch in your homeopathic first aid kit, as it is the remedy of choice for all types of puncture wounds, whether it be from a deep painful thorn, an animal bite of insect bite like a tick.
Staphysagria 30ch, the Stavesacre plant, is not as common a homeopathic remedy for bites and stings, but it is heralded for preventing bites if you are susceptible. For instance, if you find you tend to get plagued with multiple bites that itch and torment you, this is the remedy for you, and it can be used both before and after bites. According to one study carried out in 1965, Staphysagria was 90% effective in reducing the number of bites and it is one of the main ingredients in Mozi Q, the insect repellant you eat.
My daughter tried this out when she went on a trip to the Amazon in Peru – and she’s the one in our family who you want in the room if there’s a mosquito because they always go to her, even if you’re usually the one bitten. While there were so many mosquitos in the Amazon it was hard to tell the effect on prevention – and let me just add as a disclaimer that even toxic DEET wasn’t an effective preventative here – she did find relief from the itch and discomfort with the product. The other advantage of Mozi-Q is that you can repeat over long periods, which I would not recommend with a 30ch potency of any remedy unless you’re a homeopath and you know what you’re doing.
Mozi Q contains Ledum and Staphysagria, along with Urtica urens, which is another homeopathic remedy made from stinging nettle that can be really useful if the itch is the main symptom. Homeopathy is based on the principle that “like heals like” so use Urtica urens as a homeopathic medicine when you develop symptoms that appear as if you’ve been stung by stinging nettle, with itching prickling hive-like bumps. It’s the number one remedy for that itchy sunburn, so you get the picture. As for Staphysagria, avoid taking the 30ch potency as a preventative unless you’re also treating bites or as a recommendation by your homeopath. In fact, the same goes for any remedy – don’t be taking the 30ch potency every day or every week unless it’s prescribed by your homeopath. As a preventative before you have symptoms or if you just seem to need it a lot, stick to low potencies, such as the 3x or 4x potencies – as these can be repeated a lot. Or just purchase Mozi Q.
Directions – 30ch potency:
For pain and itch of bites and stings, take 30ch of the selected homeopathic medicine according to the symptoms experienced. Dissolve 3-5 pills on the tongue every 2-4 hours for 3-4 doses and then if symptoms persist, two to three times daily for 2-3 days or so. I recommend 30ch potency because it’s widely available in Canada at your favourite natural pharmacy or health food store. For lower potencies such as the 6c or 6x, just repeat more often. If symptoms persist, it’s better to get a proper diagnosis -remember that homeopathy works by supporting the body’s own healing mechanisms, so as symptoms improve, repeat less and stop the remedies.
As a homeopath, I don’t always rush to homeopathic remedies, but rather let the body sort itself out if it can, so when minor itching or swelling drive you crazy, I recommend homeopathic topical applications. Boiron has a gel for just this purpose, containing both Apis and Ledum, called Dapis Gel, which you can apply topically to ease the discomfort and I find works well to calm the itching and burning without leaving a greasy residue.
Looking for more information on what to bring to the summer cabin? Check out this post on Homeopathic Trio for the Summer Cabin! Prefer to take a short course on using Homeopathic medicines at home? Check out my courses on homeopathy.