Blog: Got Bee Stings?

Blog: Got Bee Stings?

Ahh, the joys of spring: the plants, the flowers, the bees buzzing about...

Anyone who has spent time in the garden (or just been outside for that matter!) has likely disturbed a bee or two while they are going about their business. Stings and bites happen from time to time. And, as with just about everything, there's a simple, natural remedy at your fingertips.

Allow us to introduce you to Plantain! No, not the starchy vegetable that looks like a banana. We're talking about the deep-green Plantago major (pictured) and its narrow-leafed cousin Plantago lanceolata.

Plantain is another one of those "pesky weeds" commonly found in lawns and other open spaces. But this powerful herbal ally should not be summarily discarded! Plantain has a long history of use since ancient times as a gentle and effective medicine for constipation, coughs and upper respiratory congestion, and wounds. A topical application of soothing, cooling Plantain is sure to give quick relief to hot, red, inflamed skin, including common bites and stings.

To prepare, select one medium or two small leaves. Wash gently and chew lightly to create a "spit poultice" (about 20 seconds). Apply directly onto the sting or bite and let sit for ~10 minutes. Reapply again in one to two hours, or when the area begins feeling warm again. Best results are achieved when poultice is applied soon after the incident, but beneficial effects can still occur if application is delayed. (Note: you can also grind in a mortar and pestle with an ounce or so of water, but the spit poultice is much simpler!)

As with all herbal remedies, be sure that you correctly identify the species, and use only plants grown in organic conditions. And while Plantain is effective for most insect bites and stings, stronger venomous bites from spiders such as the brown recluse may require medical attention, so take reasonable precautions when using this or any natural remedy.

Happy Gardening!


The Alchemists

Interview: Wellness and Resilience