Insect Bites, Dog Bites, Bee Stings, 
Snake Bites, Marine Animal Envenomations

For more uses of plants for first-aid, bites, stings, repellants and natural health, 
see Jim Meuninck's video: LITTLE MEDICINE, The Wisdom to Avoid Big Medicine 
(60 minutes full motion, color). Broadcast quality VHS. Call 800 487-0522.

Copyright Jim Meuninck 2000. All Rights Reserved

INDEX:   Click and go...

Bites and Stings     Bee Stings      Dog Bites      Repellents      Snake bites      Marine Animals      

Feral dog and wolf bites can prove fatal.  Discover how Native Americans treated these wilderness injuries. First People were called "Redskins" because of the ritual of painting blood root wash over their bodies to repel insects. Indios kids having fun and inviting danger...Could a stingray or sea urchin spoil their good time.



Insect bites and sting

Several plant materials used for treatment of bites and stings were chewed by primal people before being applied to the wound. Defensin in our saliva is a naturally occurring antibiotic. It is anti-microbial and stimulates immune function both systemically and at the wound site. By chewing and mixing saliva with plant parts we release plant chemistry plus enzymes from our mouth and antibiotics to increase immune response and accelerate the healing process. I prefer chewing my own poultice, my mouth flora--the bacteria, fungi and viruses in my mouth-- are my own. If someone else chews your poultice you get what they have in their mouth, including potential disease causing organisms. NOTE: Urine (your own) is an antiseptic wash to irrigate wounds and neutralize venom. Urine for irrigation is used worldwide by people who have nothing else that is clean to irrigate a wound. Urine works, it has venom neutralizing acidic pH, and if it is your own-is antiseptic. In addition, a few venoms are denatured or neutralized by acids such as: vinegar, acetic acid, malic acid and urine.

Aloe, Aloe vera, Leaves may be cut from the plant, placed cut surface down in a bowl and the gel will exude from the leaf. This gel, turns to a liquid that is an excellent wash or bites, stings, burns scrapes and wounds.

Burdock, Arctium lappa, root slices, leafy second year stems, poulticed over bites, stings.

Canada lily, Lilium canadense, root poultice over spider bites.

Dioscorea, wild yam, Dioscorea villosa , D. opposita, D. hypoglauca, tubers are used as a poultice to bite, sting. Contains saponin phytosterols, steroid like compounds analogous to cortisone. Used to treat spider bites.

Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida, root chewed and applied to bites, stings, wounds snake bites.

Goatsbeard, Aruncus dioicus, chewed and poulticed root over bites, stings.

Hound's tongue, Cynoglossum officinale, leaf poulticed used to apply to bites.

Jewelweed, spotted touch-me-not, Impatiens capensis, crushed whole plant except roots applied to bites, stings and poison ivy.

Jimsonweed, datura, Datura stramonium, leaf chewed and applied, contains scopolamine and atropine. Used for bites, stings, and snake bites.

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, leaves are chewed or crushed and applied to bite or sting (poultice).

Lopseed, Phryma leptostachya, root poultice for bites.

Mayweed, or dog fennel, Anthemis catula, leaves crushed and rubbed over insect stings.

Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, yellow flower mortared with epsom salts and vinegar and used as a wash for spider bites. Claimed very effective for ulcerated wound of Brown Recluse bite.

Plantain, Plantago ovata, Plantago lanceolata, leaves crushed, chewed or used as wash (tea) over bites and stings.

Prickly pear, Opuntia spp., leaf pad sliced in half, inner half applied to bite, hydrophilic, draws serum, lymph, and immune system cells and chemistry to wound site.

Spiderwort, Tradescantia virginiana, smashed, crushed or chewed leaf applied to bite, sting.

Sunflower, Helianthus borealis, leaves poulticed for spider bites.

Wild Strawberry, strawberry, Duchesnea indica, whole plant crushed or poultice over bite or sting, also used to treat excema.


Bee Stings

Bowman's root, Gillenia trifoliata, poulticed leaf applied to sting.

Goat's Beard, Aruncus dioicus, poulticed root applied to sting.

Beebalm, Monarda didyma, fistulosa, crushed flowers and leaves applied to sting.

Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis, also was crushed aerial parts, flowers, leaves, succulent stem applied, actually rubbed into sting.

Prickly pear, Opuntia spp., leaf pad sliced in half, inner half applied to bite, hydrophilic, draws serum, lymph, and immune system cells and chemistry to wound site. ONE OF MY FAVORITES!

Dog Bites:

Butterflyweed, pleurisy root, Asclepias tuberosa, roots crushed and poulticed over bite.

Clintonia, bluebeard lily, Clintonia borealis, poulticed leaves over sting.

Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium, crushed leaves over bite.

Prickly pear, Opuntia spp., leaf pad sliced in half, inner half applied to bite, hydrophilic, draws serum, lymph, and immune system cells and chemistry to wound site.

Insect Repellent and Animal Repellent Herbs

Allium sativum and tricoccum (garlic, and wild leeks.) Grow plants as companion planting around plants vulnerable to insect pests. Repellent.

Artemisia ludoviciana (silver king artemisia)... may be dried and smudged to repel mosquitoes.

Artemisia abrotanum (Southernwood...) may be used fresh or dried (then powdered) to repel moths and fleas.

Juniperus spp. (Juniper). Boughs were placed around shelters to repel snakes.

Mentha pulegium (pennyroyal). Pulegone in pennyroyal is insecticidal and a repellent. Grow as a companion plant here and there in garden, but pot or tile it in. Very invasive.

Pelargornium cintronellum Put in pots around garden and patio to help ward off mosquitoes.

TIP: Mosquitoes home in and fly toward CO2 exuded from your pores and breath. Watch for wind direction. For example, we have a patio at the lake's edge. When the wind blows from the shore to the lake our CO2 is blown out to sea and not into the woods. This keeps mosquito invasions to a minimum.

Sanquinaria canadensis (blood root). Root juice may be mortared into water to make a wash.

This wash wards off mosquitoes, but may cause dermatitis in some people. Sanquinarine in blood root is toxic and must not be ingested.

Tanacetum vulgare and T. cinerariifolium (tansy and pyrethrum respectively). Tansy purported to repel ants. Dried flowers of T. cinerariifolium used as insecticide, fumigant and repellent.

Thuja spp. (cedar) Boughs were placed around Native American shelters to repel snakes and insects.

Yucca spp. I make a water based spray from this plant. dig up the root carefully and cut away about a cubic inch for each gallon of water. Take the cubic inch of Yucca and blend it into 4 cups of water. Blend thoroughly. Strain this through a screen, then cheese cloth or a cotton T-shirt into your sprayer. Add enough water to make one gallon. For all fruits and vegetables.

Tobacco Nicotiana tobacum. Tobacco may be prepared into a water infusion. Purchase a pouch of tobacco. Heat about a quart of water, then add tobacco from pouch to water, close jar and let sit in refrigerator for three or four days. Sieve and strain into your sprayer. Use on potato plants and young (in bloom) tomato plants.

Snake Bites

Cucumber,  slice the cucumber in 1/4 slices, soak in human urine 24 hours, dry in shady dry place.  Chew and apply to bite.

Burdock, Arctium lappa, poulticed leaves over bite, I might try root but have no knowledge of its utility, save it has unique chemistry that might make it chemotactic like opuntia.

Plantainleaf sedge, Carex plantaginea Lam.  Spittle of chewed root applied to snake bites.

Prickly pear, Opuntia spp., leaf pad sliced in half, inner half applied to bite, hydrophilic, draws serum, lymph, and immune system cells and chemistry to wound site.

Sunflower, Helianthus tuberosa, poultice root and leaves.

White lettuce, rattlesnake root, Prenanthes alba, whole plant crushed, pounded and applied.

Stinging Marine life

If stung by a sponge remove glass like spicules if possible. When skin is dry apply adhesive tape(duct tape) over wound, like duct tape, then pull off to remove spicules. Wash area with isopropyl alcohol, then apply weak acetic acid or vinegar rinse. The acid and rinse are cleansing and may denature some of the venom. Cortisone cream may keep inflammation down. See a physician as soon as possible.

Coelenterates: jellyfish, Portuguese man-of-war, etc. are marine organisms that sting with a nematocyst, a stinging apparatus that injects venom. These stings vary from mild to fatal.

First-Aid Steps:

1. Rinse wound in seawater.

2. Apply one of the following: acetic acid, vinegar, alcohol from after shave, isopropyl alcohol or 40 proof liquor or higher to stings.

3. If physician is available antihistamine may be administered.

4. Hot water immersion of wound may help. As hot as can be tolerated. If wound hurts in hot water, stop procedure.

5. According to Paul Auerbach in his book Management of Wilderness and Environmental Emergencies, you should remove all gross jellyfish tentacles with a stick or forceps, them apply shaving cream over the wound (or talc, flour or baking soda) and shave the area with a razor.

6. Get to your physician as soon as possible.

Sea Urchins

Hot water soaks are beneficial. Attempt to remove spines. Those spines not removed will dissolve and be absorbed. See a physician as soon as possible.

Sting ray

A stingray sting (envenomation) requires immediate action. Wash wound in sea water which will cleanse, wash away venom, cause vasoconstriction, and mild anesthesia. Soak in hot water at a temperature the victim can tolerate and evacuate them to a physician. This wound will need to be irrigated, debrided, including perhaps the administration of antibiotics and other medical protocols.