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Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity:: Summer Trouble: Relieve Bug Bites and Poison Ivy Naturally

All summer long the elements give you reasons to itch and scratch. When the bee stings, the mosquito bites, or the poison ivy comes creeping, simply remember these all-natural remedies for a quick anti-itch fix.

 Relief from Poison Ivy and its Cousins

Poison oak, ivy, and sumac all contain an oily chemical known as urushiol, which irritates your skin and can produce a severe allergic reaction. Between 15 and 30 percent of people are immune to these urushiol-induced allergies.

For those of us who are not so lucky, contact with this plant spells serious discomfort – with progressively worsening symptoms of itching, redness, oozing skin, and severe burning pain at the site of contact.

A neighbor friend of mine was hiking in the woods when, in a sudden sinus allergy, he reached for a palm-sized leaf to blow his nose into – a poison ivy leaf. When I saw him that evening, despite having used antihistamines, he had welts and a rash covering his entire face and hands.

The unbearable itch was the least of his problems; he couldn’t even breathe from his nose because it was swollen shut. I immediately pulled up a couple of dandelion plants from my backyard and put them into a blender with honey and the gel scraped from an aloe leaf. After smearing the poultice all over his face, I sent him home with dandelions to make into a tea. By the next morning his itching and rash were 75% better!


Here are more natural ways to relieve your itching:

1. Wash the contact area thoroughly. Because urushiol is an oily substance, water alone will not remove it; be sure to scrub with soap and water.

2. Crush dandelion greens. Apply to affected area as poultice, changing every hour. You can also put into these into a blender with aloe gel and honey to make a smoother poultice. This poultice is helpful for alleviating any skin irritations.

3. Calamine lotion is still a popular standby for soothing the itch.

4. Scrape aloe gel directly from the plant and apply generously to the affected area. This can lessen the symptoms of burning, itching, and pain.

5. Mash plantain leaves and apply as poultice, changing every hour to relieve itching.

6. Chickweed Root, Magnolia Flower, Chrysanthemum Flower and Kudzu Root are used traditionally to reduce the allergic and inflammatory responses. They are part of a formula Allergy Tamer that contains other Chinese herbs for relief of symptoms. Click here to find out about Allergy Tamer.

7. Take beta-carotene and vitamin C, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can speed up skin healing.

As difficult as it may be, resist the temptation to scratch your itch; it exposes the skin to secondary infections. Also avoid exposure to temperature changes, cold or hot water and detergent use.


Take the Itch Out of Insect Bites

It’s humans versus bugs and, unfortunately, we lose most of the time. Though the bug bite itself is rarely painful, the body’s reaction can cause pain, itching, redness, and swelling; in some cases, a serious allergic reaction called anaphylactic shock occurs, which can involve breathing difficulties and requires immediate medical attention.

Prevention is the easiest way to avoid dealing with insect bites. Get the bugs to back off without the toxic chemicals found in commercial insect repellents; instead, use natural alternatives, including oils made from lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, wintergreen, lavender, and turmeric.


Once bitten, find relief in these ways:

1. Remove stinger, if any and clean area with water and use ice pack for temporary relief of severe itching and swelling.

2. Be as cool as a cucumber. Place cucumber skins on top of the bites to sooth the itching and irritation. You can also cut 2-inch round slices from a fresh eggplant and place on top of bite to draw out toxins and sooth the irritation.

3. Apply honey to a bug bite to sooth the skin. Because honey is a natural antibiotic, it can also help prevent infections.

4. Apply Tonic Oil – made from essential oils of eucalyptus, winter green and peppermint or tea tree oil to bites every 2 to 3 hours to relieve itching and aid healing. Click here to find Tonic Oil.

I hope you find the ways to take the sting out of summer! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.


May you live long, live strong, and live happy! 

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