Tick Bites

Tick Bites

American Dog Tick

Lone Star Tick

Some ticks transmit bacteria that can cause illnesses such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

If you are bitten by a tick:

* Remove the tick as quickly as possible without squeezing its body. Squeezing the tick could cause it to inject harmful bacteria into your body. Grasp the tick with tweezers near its head or mouth and pull gently to remove the whole tick without crushing it.

* If possible, place the tick in a plastic bag or small bottle and keep it in case you have to see your doctor.

* Wash your hands after handling the tick.

* Disinfect the bite area with tincture of Bloodroot (which is antiseptic).

* You should check the bite occasionally for at least two weeks for signs of Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease:

1.Red rash around the bite (shaped like a bull’s eye and increases in diameter each day)
4.Severe headaches
7.Sore throat
9.Muscle and joint aches

You may experience all or only one or two of these symptoms. You should seek medical attention if you are in doubt. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics in its early stages. If the disease is not treated soon after it is acquired, permanent arthritis may result.

Symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Onset of the disease occurs 2 to 8 days after the infected tick bite.

1.High fever, usually 103°F (39°C) – 105°F (40°C).
3.Severe headache that may center around the forehead.
4.Muscle aches, (may become tender to the touch)..
5.Eyes may become red.
6.Generalized body swelling.
7.Small red spots or blotches that begin on the wrists, ankles, palms and soles. It spreads up the arms and legs toward the trunk, but often spares the face.

As the Rocky Mountain spotted fever progresses, the red spots may change in appearance to look more like bruises or bloody patches under the skin.

May cause mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. But usually it causes a moderate to severe illness that can damage the liver, kidneys and lungs.



Sunburn usually appears within a few hours of exposure. It causes pain, redness, swelling and occasional blistering. If a large area is exposed, sunburn can cause headache, fever and fatigue.

Herbal Treatments

* Take a cool bath or shower.

* Apply fresh Aloe Vera several times a day.

* Leave blisters alone. This will speed healing and avoid infection. If the blisters burst open, apply an antibiotic to the open areas. There are a few natural antibiotics you can use, such as: Goldenseal, St. Johnswort, and Yerba Mansa. There are several antibiotic ointments that you can make yourself on the Salves & Ointments page.

CAUTION: If your sunburn begins to blister and you experience immediate
complications, such as rash, itching or fever, seek medical assistance.



A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is a tough, elastic-like band that attaches to your bones and holds your joints in place. A sprain is caused by excessive stretching of the ligament. The ligament can have tears in it or it can be completely torn apart.

Sprains occur most often in your ankles, knees or the arches of your feet. Sprained ligaments swell rapidly and are very painful. The more severe the injury, the greater the pain is.

First Aid

1. Try not to use the injured joint. You could cause further injury. If necessary, use splints or crutches.

2. To minimize swelling, use a cold pack or ice pack as soon as possible after the injury. If you use ice, be sure not to use it for too long a period. The ice could cause tissue damage.

3. Compress the sprain using an elastic wrap or bandage.

4. Elevate the injured limb above heart level whenever possible to help limit swelling.

Herbal Treatments

Sprains respond well to Arnica and Comfrey compresses or poultices. Arnica is anti-inflammatory and Comfrey promotes the growth of connective tissue, bone, and cartilage, and is easily absorbed through the skin.

Poultice – Mix Arnica flowers or chopped, fresh Comfrey root into a little hot water to form a thick mash. Spread on a linen cloth and apply to sprain. Renew every 2 to 4 hours.

Seek medical assistance if:

* You hear a popping sound when your joint is injured or you can’t use the joint. The ligament could be completely torn apart. Use ice pack immediately.

* You have a fever and the area is red and hot. You may have an infection.

* You don’t improve each day after the first 48 hours.



Use antiseptic to gently wash the area around the splinter. Then try to pull the splinter out with tweezers. If the splinter does not come out of the skin, sterilize a sewing needle, then use it to ease the splinter out.

CAUTION: Do not dig too deep into the skin trying to remove splinters and never ignore splinters, for they can get infected. If the splinter is large or if it is glass, seek medical assistance.

Herbal Treatment

Use a Slippery Elm poultice made with Slippery Elm powder, which allows even stubborn splinters to be drawn out quickly and easily.



There are a few spiders that are dangerous to humans. Two of those are the Black Widow and the Brown Recluse. Both prefer warm climates and dark, dry places where flies are plentiful. They often live in dry, littered and undisturbed areas, such as closets, woodpiles and under sinks.

Black Widow Spider
Black Widow

The female black widow can give a very nasty bite, but it’s not lethal unless a young child is bitten. You can identify this spider by the red hourglass marking on its belly. The bite feels like a pinprick. You may not even know that you have been bitten. At first you may notice only slight swelling and faint red marks. Within a few hours, though, intense pain and stiffness begin. Other signs and symptoms are: Chills, fever, headache, nausea, and severe abdominal pain.

Brown Recluse Spider
Brown Recluse

Black Widow Spider

Notice the violin-shaped
marking on its top

You can identify this brown spider by the violin-shaped marking on its top. The bite causes a mild stinging, followed by local redness and intense pain within 8 hours. A fluid-filled blister forms at the bite and then sloughs off to leave a deep, growing ulcer encircled by a red ring (looks like a bull’s eye on a target). Reactions vary from a mild fever and rash to nausea and listlessness. Other symptoms include weakness, joint pain, and shock. On rare occasions death results.

If bitten by a black widow or brown recluse spider:

1.Make a positive identification. If the bite is on an arm or leg, place a snug constricting band above the spider bite to help slow or halt the venom’s spread. Be sure that the bandage is tight enough to slow the flow of blood at skin level but not so tight as to cut off circulation in the arm or leg. The band needs to be loose enough to slip a finger underneath it.

2.For pain and swelling apply tincture of Virginia Snakeroot and/or Lobelia. To help fight infection, apply tincture of Bloodroot.

3.Apply a cloth dampen with water or filled with ice. Keep the affected limb elevated to about heart level.

4.Seek medical attention immediately.



If someone has been snake bitten, get the victim away from the snake. Check the snakebite for puncture wounds. If one or two fang marks are visible, the bite is from a poisonous snake. Remember what the snake looks like. The doctor will need to know this to provide the proper treatment.

* Keep the victim calm, lying down, and with the bitten arm or leg below the level of the heart to slow the blood flowing from the wound to the heart. The more the victim moves, the faster the venom will spread through the body.
* Clean the wound, but be careful to wipe away from the bite. This keeps any venom on the unbroken skin around the bite from being wiped into the wound.

* Watch for any symptoms such as sharp pain, bruising, swelling around the bite, weakness, shortness of breath, blurred vision, drowsiness, or vomiting.

* Get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

If any of the above mentioned symptoms occur within 30 minutes from the time of the bite, and you are over two hours away from a hospital or any medical help, tie a constricting band (3/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide) two inches above the bite or above the swelling. The band needs to be loose enough to slip a finger underneath it. The band slows blood flow away from the bite, keeping the venom from reaching the heart. The band must be applied within 30 minutes after the time of the bite to be effective. If the swelling spreads, move the band so that it is two inches above the swelling.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

CAUTION: Don’t scratch! Scratching spreads the poison.

First Aid

As soon as possible, wash the skin thoroughly with household soap and plenty of water. Scrub the skin well. Wash the contaminated clothes and shoes or you could be re-affected with poison ivy again even after it has dried.

Herbal Treatments

Crushed leaves of Jewelweed are poulticed on recent poison ivy rash — a well known folk remedy. Also the mucilaginous stem juice can be applied to the rash.

Lobelia is also good for poison ivy irritation.

Other remedies include squeezing the juice of Aloe Vera leaf onto the affected area, or bathe it with cider vinegar.



CAUTION: Nosebleeds which occur after a blow on the head can be a sign of a fractured skull. Seek medical help immediately.

To stop a nosebleed:
Sit or stand up. Keep your head higher than the level of your heart. By remaining upright, you reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose.

Pinch your nose with your thumb and index finger and breathe through your mouth. Continue to hold for about 10 minutes.

Don’t apply ice to the nose. This is of little or no benefit. The cold only tightens the blood vessels on the surface of the nose and doesn’t penetrate deeply enough to help.

To prevent re-bleeding after bleeding has stopped, don’t pick or blow your nose for several hours after the bleeding episode; don’t bend down; and keep your head higher than the level of your heart.

Seek medical care immediately if:
The bleeding lasts for more than 20 to 30 minutes.

You feel weak or faint, which can result from the blood loss.

The bleeding is heavy and the amount of blood loss is great.

Bleeding begins by trickling down the back of the neck.

Herbal Treatments

Slippery Elm is a specific for mucous membranes. Try sniffing a little Slippery Elm Powder.

Shepherd’s Purse is ‘hemostatic’, which means “stops bleeding”.

Yarrow is also ‘hemostatic’, hence the common name “Nosebleed”.

Motion Sickness

Motion Sickness

This is a disorder of the vestibular part of the middle ear, caused by a discoordination between messages received by the brain from the eyes (which may indicate that the world is still) and the ears (which tell the brain it is moving).

First Aid

If you are suffering from motion sickness on a boat, go out on deck and look at the horizon; this will confirm via your eyes that the world is moving underneath you. If you are in a car, avoid reading and look out of the window.

Herbal Treatments

Chew a piece of fresh Wild Ginger root or crystallized stem ginger.

Insect Bites & Stings: Symptoms, Reactions, What To Do

Insect Bites & Stings

Symptoms of an insect bite result from the injection of venom or other substances into your skin. Bees leave their barbed stings behind the skin, unlike wasps. The venom triggers an allergic (immune) reaction. The severity of your reaction depends on your sensitivity to the insect venom or substance.

Most reactions are mild, causing little more than an annoying itching or stinging sensation and mild swelling that disappears within a day or so. A delayed reaction may cause fever, painful joints, hives and swollen glands.

Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets and fire ants are the most troublesome insects. Mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies and some spiders also can cause reactions, but these are generally milder.

For Mild Reactions:

1.Move to a safe area to avoid more stings.
2.Try to remove the stinger by scraping or brushing it off with a firm edge, such as a credit card or a knife. A stinger that is not removed continues to release venom into the body for as long as 20 minutes.
3.A bee sting may be washed using baking soda applied as a paste to the site. You can treat wasp and mosquito bites by applying lemon juice, witch hazel, cider vinegar, or crushed Plantain leaves. Lavender oil or tincture of Lobelia rubbed on the affected area will help to remove the discomfort of a bee or wasp sting or an insect bite.
4.If you start to have a reaction, take an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl or Tylenol Severe Allergy).

For Severe Reactions:

Severe reactions may progress rapidly. Dial 911 or call for emergency medical assistance if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

Difficulty breathing
Swelling of your lips or throat
Rapid heartbeat
Nausea, cramps or vomiting

While waiting for emergency transportation, consider giving the person an antihistamine and check to see if the person is carrying an allergy kit containing epinephrine. Follow the instructions on the kit.

Less severe reactions: Include mild nausea and intestinal cramps, diarrhea, or swelling larger than 2 inches in diameter at the site. See your physician promptly if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.