Homeopathic Remedies for Bites and Stings
Running over the hose with the mower wasn't the first or the last of the day's mishaps. Typical for late summer, yellowjackets were everywhere - including in the box containing the spare hose. That cobweb-like sensation on my unsuspecting hand was immediately followed by shocking stings - which was followed by a flick of my hand and a fast exit.
What to do? Homeopathy - straight to the Apis mellifica, a couple of 30c tablets under my tongue. Four red areas with a white raised center in each were visible, with a tiny red speck in the middle of the white welt. I washed my hands and, because I was at the sink with a half of a garlic clove staring me in the face, I pared off four thin slices and stuck them to each bite. Relief was surprisingly fast and complete.
Eating garlic before, during, or after taking any homeopathic remedy orally can hinder its effectiveness, and storing homeopathic remedies beside garlic or any strong-smelling substances will ruin them. However, applying fresh garlic to my extremity (with the homeopathic remedy already in effect) worked wonderfully. It felt nice and cool. ("Cold makes it feel better" is one of the reasons to choose Apis.)
Back to work I went just minutes later, and before long the garlic slices fell off. The moment I felt any sensation of the bites again, I took another dose of Apis. I could barely see where the bites had been except for a very slight redness and swelling in the bony area, and after the third dose of Apis, I felt nothing again except for an occasional itch.
Not end of story…
The next morning, I stood aghast when first seeing the neck on my horse, who had rubbed a large spot of it bare … a massive area of skin swelling surrounded it, extending below it (Photo 1). She had a few smaller swellings on her opposite side and shoulder too.
I tried not to immediately blame the yellowjackets…. but, not seeing any fang marks, I suspected it must have been a whole mess of some kind of bad bug bites or stings, so I again ran for the Apis. This time I brought Ledum as well (the 'puncture wound' remedy), and alternated remedies every 5 minutes, twice each. She stopped rubbing her neck right away, and after 20 minutes the swelling around the rub was beginning to subside by seeping/ sliding down into the cascades of fluidy swelling below it (Photo 2). Gravity was doing that, I presumed. Very interesting.
By afternoon, there was still some swelling (Photo 3) so I administered another Apis followed by Ledum. When I checked on her at 7 PM (Photo 4), the skin had begun to tighten up in the outer areas. The next morning, only a few traces of swelling were left. By that night, all traces of the swelling were gone, and only the rub sore remained - which peeled and healed within a few days, with good hair regrowth beginning.
Biting and stinging insects are everywhere. They are a part of nature, and this is their natural defense (we need to look out for them when entering low-traffic areas) - or in the case of blood-sucking insects, biting is their means of survival. Some insects are valuable pollinators, and many don't bother us if we don't bother them. However, perfumes, cosmetics, hair spray, and food will attract them.
Bites and stings throughout life generally serve to desensitize us and boost our immunity to some extent; once stung, the body registers the information for similar future invasions. When stung, the body responds to the invasion with initial pain (warning!) and sends fluids (inflammation) to the area to counteract or dilute the venom or poison of the bite or sting. Individuals who have allergic reactions to stings are often desensitized conventionally (immunotherapy) with gradually increasing dilutions of venom, injected subcutaneously over a period of time until tolerance develops. Beekeepers find that regular stings keep them immune to the bee venom … in most cases (read Stung by a Bee).
Reactions to stings do vary with each individual - a person who has no reaction on one occasion may respond differently at later time, and vice versa (a serious reaction on one occasion does not guarantee a crisis with subsequent stings). Note also that some drugs have reportedly caused increased sensitivity to stings - particularly those whose names end in 'phen'.
Homeopathic remedies work safely and effectively by stimulating the body to heal itself. What causes a symptom can, in potency, cure a similar symptom. Once a remedy is given, the body needs to be given time and opportunity to respond. Depending on the severity of the situation, that time may be very short, even just a few minutes, such as in sudden and acute cases. When the ailment begins to recur, or the body's response wanes, another stimulation from the remedy is needed. The remedy is repeated only as needed until the problem is resolved. This can be a matter of minutes in some cases, or months to years for chronic cases.
Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic, and if we administer the wrong remedy, there are no ill-effects - we just don't see a change in the symptoms. Another remedy can then be tried, according to the symptoms.
Remedy kits can be purchased, and most come with brief descriptions of each remedy so we know what remedies are generally helpful in a given situation. Here are some helpful remedies to have on hand in summertime for relief from stings and bites.
PLEASE REMEMBER that stings and bites can be very dangerous, depending on the individual's reaction to them. E mergency medical attention is needed for any reactions that cause difficulty breathing or cause a sick feeling/ nausea, or if the sting occurs at one place on the body and the reaction occurs elsewhere. While help is on the way, homeopathic remedies can still be used to minimize the sting's effects and the associated trauma.
Helpful sting and bug bite remedies include (but are not limited to):
Aconitum napellus: Always a helpful remedy for the onset of anything, especially when sudden. It also suits the individual who gets fearful or panicked after being stung. Aconitum can be administered immediately and/or while symptoms are intense, and can be followed by a different remedy as well.
Apis mellifica: Made from the bee, this specially prepared and potentized remedy is miraculous in treating stings, especially if the sting or bite causes puffy, tender swelling that is hot to the touch, and red. Applying something cold brings relief when this remedy is indicated. It aids in reducing the swelling of the passages in those individuals allergic or oversensitive to stings, while help is on the way.
Cantharis: Made from the blister beetle, this remedy is indicated if the area blisters or is red.
Hypericum: This 'nerve' remedy is indicated any time there is pain. It is commonly used along with Ledum for any puncture wounds (stings and bites included). Hypericum is well-known for its relief in any nerve injury, particularly at nerve endings and nerve-rich areas.
Ledum palustre: This 'puncture wound' remedy is indicated when cold applications bring relief (like Apis) - even though the affected area may feel cold. It is also indicated when the area is bluish in color, and when the swelling extends some distance from the bite.
Staphysagria: This remedy is known for relieving mosquito bites, especially in those victims who swell from them or find them very irritating. Staphysagria is reported to help prevent mosquito bites as well.
Stings: A new combination remedy made by Washington Homeopathic Products, this remedy reduces or eliminates swelling and pain associated with fire ant, bee and wasp stings, plus mosquito and nonvenomous snake bites.
Urtica urens: Made from the stinging nettle plant, this remedy is useful when the sting/bite area is itchy and burning (like nettle feels!) There may be red blotches or hives.
Vespa: Made from the wasp, this remedy will be helpful in cases of stings causing fluidy swelling around the eye and head.
Choose the remedy that matches the victim's symptoms, but keep in mind that a remedy that is close will work. Use what you have, and use whatever potency you have. Repeat as necessary.
By Joe Lillard
Probably 25 years ago I kept bees, got
stung, etc. One day I got stung on the temple (thought little
of it), BUT within minutes I started itching under my arms,
then my crotch, and my feet, and I realized I was having
a reaction to the bee sting - I put the hive back together
and started towards the house - 100 yards. In about 75 yards
I crossed a stream - I sat down in it (no help) and the itching
was getting serious. I jumped up out of the creek and calmly
headed straight into the house.
If I had had a higher dose - 30x or 200c - I would have followed the same procedure, but very likely would not have taken 5 or 6 doses before feeling relief.
Joe Lillard is proprietor of Washington Homeopathic Products. WHP recently moved its Bethesda, MD store to join its Berkeley Springs, WV location, lock, stock and all 1,700 remedies. Consider a visit - it's a spa town - plenty to do. On Saturdays at 10AM there's a tour of their facility - they even have a suite for visitors. And they have plenty of homeopathic remedies - including those for stings.
Washington Homeopathic Products
33 Fairfax St., Berkeley Springs, WV 25411