The Natural Way

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Spring moving into summer means outdoor fun. Romping at the lake, hiking around Leatherwood and working in the garden are just a few of the many terrific activities we have in our special part of the world. Being active outdoors sometimes puts us in contact with spiders and plants we'd rather not make an acquaintance with.

We are smack dab in the middle of the part of the country where the brown recluse prefers to live. Though the spider is normally shy and retiring, which is why it is called a recluse, it can become very aggressive when cornered, as when you are going to swat it with the fly swatter. Must be a self preservation thing. They jump, land and inflict a nasty bite. The ground zero of the bite often turns black as the skin dies. A large red circular welt rings the black center. Many times without good first aid the infection from the bite can last for weeks or months. In diabetics this can be very dangerous because of blood flow problems if bitten on an extremity.

Some care for this bite by saturating the area with a turpentine like solvent called DMSO. I've also seen people take good care of themselves by putting an herbal plaster of basil, feverfew and witch hazel directly on the bite secured with a bandage, taking enteric coated garlic supplements, grapefruit seed extract or my favorite, Monolauren. Boosting the immune system with mushroom extract or echinacea is good to do.

Poison ivy and poison oak often can be avoided but sometimes exposure happens by accident. If you can, right at the scene of exposure, try to find a very common plant called jewelweed. Crumble the leaves and stems then rub over any area you thought might have been exposed. In many people, this stops poison ivy or poison oak cold. Other herbal washes are available. Baking soda can help dry the blisters.

Go out, have fun, enjoy life.

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