When the spider bites. When the bee stings. When you're feeling bad.
The practice of using poultices to draw out toxins and cleanse wounds is age-old. This is pretty much medieval medicine we're talking about here.
While great advances have been made since people started slopping mud onto insect stings, there is still some virtue to be found in the original idea.
Bentonite Clay, most well known under the Aztec Clay brand, is extremely effective at pulling out nasties from deep under the skin. This makes it a great first-aid treatment for bug bites, bee stings, or spider bites.
You can mix this with plain water to make the most simple of treatments, but I like brewing a cup of chamomile tea instead. The soothing anti-inflamatory properties of the tea can help take the edge off any itchiness and discomfort you may be dealing with.
The addition of honey is totally optional as well. Manuka honey is the best choice. It is a bit pricey, but the only variety of honey that has been documented to have real medicinal and antibacterial properties. (You can geek out about that over here.) All honey, however, is known to have humectant properties. That means that it can help draw moisture and keep things well hydrated. That's a helpful quality to have in a poultice too. Also keep in mind that honey may not be safe for kids under one year old.
Reality Check: Just in case this doesn't go without saying, this is a home remedy – on par with gargling salt water to treat a sore throat. It's lovely and all, but no replacement for modern medicine. If you have a serious injury, an allergic reaction, or a gnarly festering wound, get thee to a doctor! Post. Haste.
Honey & Chamomile Clay Poultice
Makes about 1/2 cup
- Whisk together clay, tea, and honey.
- Refrigerate any unused portion in an airtight container for up to one week.
How to Use
- Apply a liberal dollop of the clay poultice to a piece of gauze.
- Using medical tape, adhere the gauze to the skin, covering the sting or bite with the poultice.
- Let the poultice set for 2-3 hours before removing. Cleanse the skin and dress the wound accordingly.
- Repeat 2-3 times per day as needed.
What are your favorite methods for treating bug bites and other minor injuries. Share your tips, recipes, and links in the comments below. I'll share my favorites on Twitter and Facebook.