It’s that time of year, bugs, bugs, and more bugs. There are few things more annoying than bites and stings that keep coming to bother you for days. Anti-itch creams only work so well, and for those who have a more severe reaction there isn’t much you can do besides take a Benadryl, which may or may not help.
I have two alternative tips: a household remedy and an herbal remedy.
Household remedy: I read a hilarious article about a man who received so much conflicting advice after being stung, that he conducted his own experiment. He went to a beekeeper to be stung on a regular basis so that he could try each remedy and tracked its effects every half hour that he was awake. We can be the beneficiaries of his bravery. The winners? Toothpaste and ice! Both are simple, cheap, and effective. As a novice beekeeper myself, I agree. Rub in the regular minty toothpaste, ice it for 20 minutes anytime it starts hurting or itching, and you’re good to go.
Look no further than the annoying weeds you’ve been trying to get out of your grass. Plantain is a great herb for bites, stings, and wounds, and grows everywhere weeds do. Once you learn to identify it, you can grab a few leaves, chew or crush them to release the juices, and apply. Tape a bandage over the green pulp and you’ll be surprised how well it heals a sting, usually relieving the pain within 15 minutes. It works just as well on cuts and absesses, so keep the green pulp in mind next time you get an injury in the yard. You’ll never look at weeds quite the same again.
Tips to recognize plantain: The Common Plantain has more rounded leaves while the Ribwort has long straight ones. They both work equally well. They have skinny flower stalks that shoot high from the center with distinctive cone or spike-shaped flower clusters. (They make great substitute swords or targets for swords, according to my boys.)
So, next time you’ve got an annoying insect injury, chew a weed while you ice it, spit the green mush onto it, and mix in a little toothpaste while you brush that grassy taste out of your mouth. Now aren’t you glad you know all this?