Let's revisit two of my all time favorite, easy to grow, easy to use backyard herbs. Comfrey & Plantain. I'm not a certified herbalist, I'm just a girl with a garden. So trust me, if I can grow and use these two herbs so can you.
my backyard comfrey
My herbal knowledge is pretty much limited to topical skin preparations. Our plant based diet keeps us extremely healthy and now that our children have outgrown the sniffles that seem to plague little ones we are very rarely ill. I think two of us caught a cold in the past 18 months, which we treated with ginger, lemon, garlic, echinacea, vitamin C and elderberry.
But throat soothing teas aren't really where my knowledge lies. My knowledge, whatever little I have, is mostly in plants for the skin. You probably already know about comfrey and plantain and this is a simple recipe using those herbs to make a poultice or paste to relieve itchy insect bites.
- 1 tsp Powdered Herb & Clay Mix (see below)
- 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (regular would probably work fine also, this happens to be what I have)
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Preparation & Usage
- Mix three ingredients together. I find a chopstick works well. You may notice a slight fizzing which I assume is the vinegar reacting with the clay.
- Apply to affected skin. As the paste dries it will start to flake off the skin. It looks like dried mud but cleans up easy.
- You should notice relief fairly soon after application. We've never had to re-apply, either the bites weren't that bad or the kids didn't notice it any more. You should be able to re-apply as often as necessary but watch for irritation or rash in case of sensitive skin.
- The quantities I've given make enough paste to thoroughly cover a large area of bites. We always have more than we need for a single application.
I'm not exactly sure which component of this recipe is most effective at relieving the itch. Is it the herbs? Maybe the clay? The apple cider vinegar? Or the tea tree oil? You may have success with just one of these ingredients or various combinations of them.
Experiment mixing your own proportions according to what you have available. None of these ingredients are harmful to skin though I wouldn't recommend applying this paste to an open sore.
Directions for Powdered Herb & Clay Mix
During the summer it's great to use fresh herbs on your skin, especially chewed up plantain which has relieved our family of bee sting and mosquito bite itches. However, I find this dried herb and clay mix to yield a better consistency for applying to the skin. Also, this mix will store well for years in a dark cupboard and be handy whenever you need it.
- Harvest a handful or two of comfrey and plantain leaves, roughly equal amounts of each.
- Wash well and hang from ceiling to dry (can't be too humid), use oven at low temperature or dehydrator.
- When completely dry pulverize the herbs in the blender till they are a fine green powder.
- To 1 part of dried herbs add 1/2 part bentonite clay. Better to add less to begin with and use more later if needed for individual applications.
- Label jar and store in cupboard.
If you are new to herbs and want to learn more I've got a great resource to recommend. Making Herbs Simple is a DVD that explains in very simple, easy to understand instructions how to find and identify herbs in the wild, drying and storing herbs, and how to prepare tinctures and poultices. I like the video format and learned a lot from watching it.
I am downsizing my library and selling my copy which has been watched only a few times. The DVD is $24.95 new and I'm selling mine for $10.00 plus shipping. If you'd like to buy it please use this link to contact me.
What natural remedies do you use to relieve insect bites?
Related Posts:Home Remedies Carnival at Keeper of the Home.