Blood sucking creatures love me. If there’s a mosquito, leech, tick or vampire bat within a 3km radius, it’ll find me. Ok, maybe not vampire bats…but to the other critters I’m irresistible. Perhaps it’s my sweet, sweet English blood. Perhaps I’ll never know.
Until I moved to Australia I’d never come across ticks, in fact I don’t think I’d ever even heard of them. They’re nasty little creatures that are related to spiders and they burrow their heads into your skin to suck your blood. If you’re unlucky, they can also pass on diseases such as Lyme Disease, although thankfully that’s fairly uncommon. What is more common is an itchy skin reaction that may also become infected, especially if you don’t manage to remove the entire tick.
For a couple of weeks last autumn, I couldn’t step outside without getting a tick (sometimes more than one) and one of them, on my lower back, turned particularly nasty. It swelled up, becoming extremely itchy and also caused a hot, red itchy patch in my groin where the lymph nodes were. I ended up freaking out a bit and went to the doctor after a couple of days. She prescribed me antibiotics and told me to have some blood tests done to see if I’d contracted any yucky blood borne diseases. The antibiotics worked but…I don’t like to take them if there’s an alternative.
So when exactly the same thing happened a few days ago I decided to take matters into my own hands and headed to the medicine cupboard aka my pantry. I mixed up a paste of chopped onion, turmeric, apple cider vinegar and lavender oil (recipe below) and popped in on as a poultice. The anti-itch effect was immediate and lasted a good couple of hours before the bite started itching again. I left the poultice on overnight and then cleaned the area and put a fresh one on in the morning which I wore throughout the day. By the end of the day, the itching was barely there, the swelling had significantly reduced and the inflammation around the lymph node had gone.
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Kitchen Cupboard Tick Bite Remedy
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric or 1tbsp fresh, grated
1tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 drops lavender oil (optional)
Add all ingredients to a mortar and pound to a paste (or whizz it all up in a blender).
Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
Soak some cotton wool in the paste/juice and tape over the affected area/areas. I put one over the bite itself and one over the inflamed lymph node area.
Store leftover paste in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. (You can also freeze it in ice cube containers to have on hand whenever it’s needed).
Change the poultice 2-3 times per day until symptoms are relieved.
If your symptoms get worse or don’t improve after a couple of days; if you develop a fever or aches and pains, go and see your healthcare practitioner.
Why it works:
Contains quercetin which is a natural antihistamine, helping to relieve the itch. Onion also has natural antibiotic properties which will help to protect against infection.
Anti-inflammatory – reducing swelling; antiseptic.
Apple Cider vinegar
Antiseptic, anti-pruretic (anti-itch) and anti-inflammatory.
Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
This naturally anti-inflammatory and antiseptic poultice is also great for boils and mosquito bite reactions (although I usually just use straight lavender oil for a ‘standard’ mosquito bite).
And if you have any left over, just chuck it in the compost. Or a curry.
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