In 2006 Hubby and I had just returned from a very failed move to Florida. I guess I’m just a Oregon girl through and through. I had to restart at my job and didn’t have insurance when I got two very nasty spider bites. We assumed they were brown recluse but couldn’t be 100% sure. They started out like small pimples on my hips and quickly went down hill from there. With no insurance I wasn’t going to go to the doctor, and I was still very new to the herbal healing. We tried all types of goofy things, including strapping cut potatoes to my hips in attempt to draw out the poison, man did that hurt! Very long story short, eventually they healed. During that process we learned a lot about spider bites and how to treat them. Since that time I’ve been PLAGUED with spider bites. Apparently I taste very good to spiders, lucky me. So here are a few tips that helped me.
Magnesium: This is your #1 best treatment for spider bites! This might be why potatoes were suggested, but don’t do the potatoes unless that is all you have. We keep a bottle of magnesium pills around the house at all times. When I get a bite, we grind up a pill or two and add just enough water to create a paste. Put that paste on your bite and cover with a band-aid. Once the magnesium dries it will harden, often times I will peel it off in order to have it pull out the puss/core. This usually needs to be repeated a few times, but if this is all you have, you will heal your spider bite! I learned this tip after my horrible bite, but I’ve never forgot it.
Well-Horse: This stuff is made from the Amazon, it’s some kind of resin. When I had my last bite, I went to our feed and seed (which we are VERY close with the staff) and was talking to a friend that works there. He gave the store bottle of Well-Horse to try. I took it home and Hubby applied it every time I got out of the shower (the bite was on the back of my leg, that’s what I get for gathering wood in a skirt). This stuff is amazing! Not only does it work super well on spider bites but it works on cuts and scrapes, and of course as the name suggests… you can use this on your animals. The reason I love it the best is that it actually forces your body to scab. Of course you will want to make sure whatever you are putting it on is thoroughly cleaned before applying. My dog recently sliced his pad open, there was blood all over the floor when he came in from playing and he was licking like crazy. I ended up putting a bit of Well-Horse on it and I never noticed it bothering him again. The stuff is expensive (certainly compared to a bottle of magnesium), but a bottles seems like it will last forever. Check your local feed and seed for it or you can go to Well-Horse’s website here http://www.well-horse.com/
Generally though my first line of defense is a homemade herbal healing salve. If you have never made a salve this healing salve would be the place to start. It is where I started. I still make it and honestly I get requests for it ALL the time, especially from my Mom friends who use it on their babies bums for diaper rash and irritation. They tell me it is the only thing they use and it works, so far I’ve had two different friends ask for more (we gave out tins of it for our wedding to the guests). Salves are easy, I never measure anymore everything I do is generally by sight and experience. So a salve is basically herbs that are soaked in some kind of oil and beeswax, that’s it. For containers I look on craigslist for boxes of baby food jars and I ask my family and friends to save me their bottles, or used Altoid cans. Also check out thrift stores for tins/jars. A general salve ratio is 1 part beeswax to 3 parts oil. So if you use 3 oz of oil you would use 1 oz of beeswax. A scale really helps when you are starting. If you want to be a bit “free” like me you can just add how much bees wax you think is enough and then dip a spoon in it and put it in the freezer to see how hard it becomes. Ok I’m getting ahead of myself. Lets just make the salve already!
Herbs you need are Calendula, Plaintain (the herb/weed not the “banana”), St John’s Wart, and Comfrey (which I talked about yesterday). We grow our own Calendula, Plantain pretty much grows in everyone’s yard (and is perfect if you get stung by a bee! This stuff pulls out toxins. Just chew up a leaf then put that mash on your sting and presto! Gone), St John’s Wart I bought at first but have found it grows up where Hubby’s Grandma lives so we harvested a bunch last year, and then Comfrey.
Oils: I usually use what I have on hand. Olive oil works, I’ve used Grapeseed oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower oil… but almost always now I put some coconut oil in. Coconut oil is solid below 75 F and helps add to the solidity of the salve, plus it’s super good for your skin.
Method: Get a pot out, measure (or eyeball) your oil then put your burner on low. You want equal parts of your herbs. So if you pick 1 oz then you use 1 oz of each herb. I generally grab them and throw them in, but in the beginning I measured so carefully. You add your herbs to your oil and let it sit (generally I cover it) for at least an hour on low. Our new house has gas and this doesn’t work for me anymore, the oil starts to boil. So I would turn it on low, don’t cover it and stir constantly. Once the oil gets to the point it’s about to boil, turn off the gas for a while. Then go back and do that again. There is no special time here, an hour is a general time, I’ve done it longer and shorter and had wonderful products after. Check on it from time to time, stir it, make sure it’s not boiling… After it’s sat in the oil then you take a cheese cloth (or an old T-shirt) and line a mesh strainer, pour the oil and herbs into another container and strain off the plant material. Put your pot back on the stove on low, then you add your beeswax until melted, once it’s melted pour back your oil into the pan. Warning: your oil will be cooler than the beeswax and it will harden a bit, this is normal and will melt again once everything gets up to temperature again. Once everything is melted you’re ready to pour. I forgot to mention that you should have your containers already washed and ready to go by this point. Add about 5 drops of lavender essential oil to each container (or more if you love lavender… you can also put flowers in with your other herbs during the heating process). I usually pour my liquid salve into a measuring cup with a pour spout on it. It makes filling up the containers a lot easier. Fill and let them sit until hard. Label them with what you used and as “healing salve.” I always make large batches so we have several jars of it on hand. I give them away as the need comes, I use it on burns, cuts, scrapes… on the dogs (it’s ok if they lick it off it won’t harm them), on kids… the sky is the limit. You’ll need to reapply it to whatever you are putting it on, probably a couple times a day and at the least once a day. I love this stuff! We have it around for all our neosporin needs Cheap, easy and YOU made it.
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