Wasp stings and Mosquito Bites – Toothpaste, Ice, and Plantain


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.

Herbal remedy:


Common Plantain

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.)


English/Ribwort Plantain

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?


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11 comments to Wasp stings and Mosquito Bites – Toothpaste, Ice, and Plantain

  • Wendy,

    I appreciate comments, but yours is a bit inflammatory. You’re welcome to share information and evidence to back up your claims, but please do so with a kinder and understanding attitude.

    Sure there are poisonous plants. No one is saying there aren’t. The point is that herbs that are correctly used in appropriate amounts are pretty safe in comparison to comparable drugs. For example, the pain reliever Tylenol, which was one of the most frequent medications we used on the pediatric hospital unit because it was considered one of the safest medications, kills an estimated 450 people per year, with many more suffering lasting liver and other damage. Many people are uninformed and shocked by this. There is also the estimate that medical mistakes have moved up as high as the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

    The point is that nothing is completely safe – modern medications all have a list of side effects packaged with them and some plants can be used incorrectly and cause problems. However, taken on average, herbs used correctly are by every study and measure I’ve researched much safer than comparable medications. If you disagree, I’d be happy to take a look at the data you’re using for your conclusions.



  • Wendy Lohr

    There are PLENTY of herbs and plants that have side effects. Go out in your flower bed and eat some foxglove, oh, have an ambulance on the way first. How about mushrooms? Aconite will kill you. Angelica is carcinogenic. Bayberry can cause cancer. Blue cohosh damages the heart and the seeds are poisonous. Comfrey can cause cancer. Hemlock, just ask Socrates. Jimsonweed can kill you. You might kiss under Mistletoe but you better not eat it, it’ll kill you. Pennyroyal = severe liver damage. Sassafras damages the heart, liver and lungs. 10 drops of Tansy oil will kill you… I could go on and on.

    Please don’t endanger people by saying there are “no side effects” or “way safer than conventional drugs” There are legitimate uses for herbs, but you had better be educated about them first.

  • Delena,

    That is very kind of you – I guess I should look into that. It would help with hosting fees and other expenses. Glad you enjoyed the blog!


  • It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  • I agree. Herbs are a great place to start because there is very little risk and cost.

    I’ve also been having great luck using plantain for infections, since it is such a good drawing herb. My daughter has had two small gum infections that were swollen and painful. A wad of chewed up plantain stuck in the cheek for a couple evenings did the trick. Pretty amazing. A dentist would have put her on systemic antibiotics.

    I love herbs, too.


  • herbal remedies are the best! i have some sprains and some indigestion and herbal remedies cured it”-,

  • Herbal remedies take a long time to effect but at least they are way safer than conventional drugs*;~

  • I use plantain all the time now, especially with mosquito bites this season. My nephew is also a believer now – he had two big itchy welts on his back from an unknown bite. He put a bit of frozen chopped plantain on with band-aids and they stopped itching almost immediately. It’s truly an awesome herb that most think is just a lawn weed.

  • good little read i always use the herbs

  • Exactly, John! I like that herbs give a pretty safe alternative to try before resorting to prescription medications which always have side effects.


  • the good thing about herbal remedies is that they do not have side effects.*`-

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