The Natural Way

Wednesday, April 2, 2003

Springtime is bursting forth - I've already been asked about brown recluse spider bites and poison ivy. We get our fair share of itchies and nasties from both bugs and plants.

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 (that's 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.

If attended to right away, there usually isn't much of a problem. Many people (me included) like to deal with this nasty by using a three-step method, namely: take something to kill bacteria; boost the immune system; and use a topical right on the bite. I've seen people take good care of themselves by putting an herbal plaster of basil, feverfew and witch hazel directly on the bite securing it with a bandage, taking enteric-coated garlic supplements and, of course, boosting the immune system with mushroom extract, Beta Glucans or ModuCare.

You might even consider using an old fashioned black ointment. This one is a blend of chapparral, comfrey, red clover, mullein, plantain, chickweed, lobelia, goldenseal, marshmallow, poke root and pine tar. The old ones considered this to be a "drawing" remedy.

Poison ivy/oak often can be avoided but sometimes exposure happens by accident. Suggestions for dealing with exposure include the homeopathic Rhus Tox X6, Oregon Grape root tea or chamomile tea as a wash and baking soda as a powder to dry the blisters. If the exposure is severe or in a delicate part of the body, prompt medical care is a very good thing.

Spring is my favorite time of the year, so have fun and enjoy.

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