Insect bites and stings are particularly common during the summer — luckily, the same time your healing garden is at its peak. An herb garden can take away the “ouch” after a bite or sting.
A poultice of fresh plantain leaves is the easiest and safest remedy for mosquito bites and wasp stings. Plantain is an extremely common weed in yards and gardens but serves as an excellent medicine. Simply chew up a leaf (from a plant not sprayed with chemicals) and apply it to the sting.
Lavender oil is indispensable for this purpose. Keep it on hand to ease the discomfort of insect bites; rub a little onto the affected area. To make lavender oil, cover finely chopped lavender flowers with 1/4 inch vegetable oil; gently heat lavender and oil together until the mixture is warm and fragrant. Strain and store in a cool dark place. This mixture retains its healing properties for about six months.
Mosquito bites and wasp stings can also be treated with a lotion made of witch hazel, or use a strong infusion of plantain or witch hazel as a soothing wash. A swab of mint tea will put a stop to itching. Both chamomile and goldenrod poultices are very effective in preventing redness and swelling.
For bee stings, after the stinger is removed, run cold water over the stung area and then apply a paste made of baking soda or a plantain poultice. Use lavender oil later to calm the stinging. A marshmallow root or seed poultice soothes the inflammation and irritation that accompanies a sting.
A few herbs may help repel insects, possibly preventing bites and stings from occurring in the first place. Applied externally, wormwood, lavender, and citronella will deter some pesky bugs.
Wormwood is especially good for fleas, whereas lavender and citronella work well against mosquitoes. Infuse their essences into oils or creams, and apply to skin.
If you have severe or allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings, seek medical attention immediately.