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Bites and Stings

Always clean the area well and remove any stings (eg in the case of a bee). To clean, wipe with diluted hydrogen peroxide solution or any other antiseptic on hand. The pain from a bite or sting usually comes from the venom or poison injected into the skin rather than the actual piercing of the skin. It is this that needs to be removed. That is why you need to use a remedy that draws.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal is a great drawer. It literally draws poison or venom from a bite or sting site. It is also used internally in case of poisoning. Make this mix up below and store it in the freezer so that it is on hand as soon as it is needed. It may be used on any bite or sting including ants, spiders and snakes. Of course if the bite or sting comes from a highly venomous animal seek medical attention as well. We use this remedy regularly for ant bites (we have some really nasty ones in our yard), bee and wasp stings and spider bites. Have also used on paralysis tick bites with great success.

  • 1 part psyllium husk
  • 3 parts activated charcoal powder
  • Enough water to make a soft jelly
  1. Mix the above into a dough like consistency.
  2. Roll the mix out between two sheets of glad wrap until it is only 1-2mm thick.
  3. Put the sheet into a container or zip lock bag and store in the freezer.
  4. If and when a person is stung or bitten, cut a peice of this sheet off. Remove one side of the glad wrap leaving the other on and place face down over the sting. Secure on with a band aid or bandage and leave for at least an hour. The cold of the mix will reduce the pain and the charcoal will immediately start drawing the venom or poison from the site.

Note: This remedy was taken from a video provided by Barbara O’Niell (Author and Naturopath). See the full poultice video here.


If you don’t have activated charcoal, turmeric is another great drawer. Mix enough olive oil with turmeric powder to form a paste. Apply directly to the cleaned bite/sting area and cover well (turmeric will stain clothes). Leave for at least an hour to ease pain and swelling and draw poison/venom out. We have used this on ant bites, spider bites and paralysis ticks.

Wounds, Sunburn and Infection

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, it is always important to clean a wound, (especially a deep one) to prevent infection. It is also important to cover an open wound until the scab has formed. I say this first and foremost because my son has managed to develop an infection 3 times! This happened because he insisted on not covering wounds and then played outside and subsequently got dirt into the cuts.

To clean wounds use diluted hydrogen peroxide or saline solution. For deeper cuts, make sure no dirt or other foreign substances remain.

General healing (including Sunburn)– The two herbs we favour for sunburn and wound healing are Aloe Vera and Calendula.

Aloe is always best used fresh and according to Isabell Shipard (Author of “How I can use Herbs in my Daily Life”) the two most potent of the substantial number of Aloe varieties are Aloe Barbadensis and Aloe Candelabra.

To use, fillet the aloe leaf by closely trimming the spikey edges and peeling the top layer of thick skin. The clear flesh underneath will be covered by a yellow substance. This is the bit that tastes bad, smells bad and if taken internally leads to stomach cramps. Whether using internally or externally I always wash this off. After rinsing, apply the clear gel to the wound several times a day. This is one of the fastest healers on the planet.

Calendula is a flower with excellent skin healing properties. It maybe used as a tea wash or as a cream or balm. My proffered method is as a balm (it sticks to the skin for longer). You can purchase this from various health food shops and markets or make your own. Just Google the recipe.

In case of Infection

So what to do if the wound does start to swell and fester? It is important to treat as soon as you see signs of infection. There are two steps to ensure that the wound may expel what it needs to and prevent blood poisoning. As I said, I have had this happen 3 times with my son and once with my husband and we used the methods below successfully every time (once with the approval of a doctor). The benefit was we avoided the use of antibiotics each time.

Step 1: Hydrotherapy

This is less complicated than it sounds and can be done at home. In order to move the stagnant blood that sets around an infection and bring in fresh blood that has healing properties, the wound needs to be submerged in hot and cold water alternatively.

  1. Submerge wound in water as hot as the patient can stand for 3 minutes
  2. Submerge the wound in ice cold water (we add ice cubes) for 30 seconds.
  3. Repeat the above 3 times over – making sure the hot water stays hot and the cold water stays cold.

Depending on where the wound is you may need to use a bath. Sometimes it is possible to
just use a bucket (as in the case of a hand or foot wound).

Step 2: Apply a potato poultice

Potato is a great drawer. It will pull the infection from the wound. Apparently it is also a great boil remedy but having never had boils in the family I cannot vouch for that. 

  1. Make a poultice from clean, raw, grated potato. Use a clean piece of thin cloth such as cheese cloth, muslin or a chux wipe. Place potato in the middle and wrap up like a parcel.
  2. Apply the poultice over the wound and secure with a bandage. Leave for 1-2hrs.
  3. Check the wound and if the swelling hasn’t gone down, repeat the hydrotherapy and poultice.

I have found that doing the above twice has been enough each time to heal all infection and avoid antibiotics.

I sourced this method from Barbara O’Niell in this video: She demonstrates the making of the poultice and relays a story about a terrible wound that she treated this way.



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