I taught a class on herbal first-aid recently and we went over a variety of home remedies for simple concerns that arise with more time outside when the weather is nice — bites, stings, rashes, cuts, etc.
My favorite is very simple and we’ve used it three times in the past year!
Before applying anything, try to remove the stinger. Use tweezers or even scrape a credit card along the skin to dislodge it. This will go a long way in preventing the area from continuing to be painful and irritated.
Then, make a thick paste with equal parts baking soda and clay to neutralize the area and remove toxins that cause the sting. Seriously, that’s it!
Get a tablespoon or so of both baking soda and clay (I use kaolin), add enough water to form a paste, and apply this to the bite. Allow to dry and just let it sit there for as long as necessary. You can reapply every 30 minutes or so to keep soothing the area. Also, I often add a drop or two of tea tree or lavender essential oil to the paste to further help relieve the sting and calm the area.
I have a few packets of the mix leftover if you’re looking to have some on hand!
You can also buy your own baking soda and kaolin clay. I recommend using Mountain Rose Herbs, especially because they have aluminum-free baking soda!
And, another trick for stings if you’re away from home – grab a leaf of the common weed Plantain (Plantago major), crush it up in your hands (or even chew it!) to release the juices and stick this wad of goopy plant material right on your sting. It will help to relieve the sting quickly and also helps to draw out toxins. In fact, it’s a good plant to know for any bug bites you get while outdoors (you should see me while camping, I have tend to have little wads of plantain all over!).