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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Natural Remedies for Insect Bites And Stings

Jun 01, 2012 01:07PM ● By Dr. Rebeca Gracia

Have you noticed more bugs this season?  Our mild Texas winter and recent rains have created a proliferation of pests. Pest control companies, especially those utilizing green and environmentally conscious methods and products, are in high demand and already working overtime. Gnats, flies, ants and mosquitoes are not only pesky, but carry the risk of disease. Here are some tips on how to repel insects using natural products:

Mosquitoes and other insects may be attracted to certain scents in perfumes, detergents and even human sweat. Try using fragrance-free soaps, shampoos, lotions and laundry detergents before any outdoor activity.

B vitamins, especially vitamin B1 (thiamine), may reduce mosquito bites. It is recommended to take 25 to 50 mg, three times daily, and may take up to two weeks to accumulate sufficient amounts in the skin to repel insects.

Some people take garlic pills to ward off mosquitoes because the smell excreted from the skin and in sweat may disguise the human scent. It may take two to four weeks to see the full effect and produce a noticeable aroma.

Certain essential oils and blends are very effective topically as natural insect repellents. Do not apply undiluted essential oil directly to the skin. An essential oil blend can be made by mixing 13.5 percent by volume of various essential oils with a base oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Recommended oils include basil, castor, catnip, cedar, cinnamon, citronella, clove, garlic, geranium, lavender, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus, neem seed, peppermint, pennyroyal, rosemary, tansy, thyme and tea tree oil.

If you do get bit or stung, try not to scratch. Scratching will only cause more damage to the skin and may introduce bacteria into the wound. For mild irritation, try a warm or cold compress to reduce inflammation the area.

Natural skin calming remedies include aloe vera, chamomile, lavender and yucca root. Whole Life Pharmacy makes a Bug Bite Balm in a Shea/aloe base with chamomile, yucca, tea tree oil, lavender, turmeric and eucalyptus oil.

Watch for signs of serious allergic reaction and infection. Contact your health care professional if severe swelling, redness and/or itching occur.

Rebeca Gracia, PharmD, is a Board Certified Toxicologist andDirector of Whole Life Pharmacy, 1130 Dragon St., Dallas. Contact her at 214-741-3332 or

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