Insect Bites Mosquitos, chiggers, biting gnats, and fleas are just some of the pests that leave raised, red bites behind. Sometimes so itchy that they leave you unable to focus or sleep, these little bites are readily soothed with simple plant-based remedies. Fresh Basil-Mullein Salve Makes 1 treatment Basil and mullein offer anti-inflammatory benefits, and basil contains a constituent called eugenol, which helps numb the itch. The honey in this remedy binds the herbs to your skin and helps your bug bites heal faster. If you have lots of insect bites or your whole family is affected, you can easily double or triple the recipe so that there’s enough to go around. When kept in the refrigerator, it stays fresh for up to 2 days. 1 tablespoon fresh basil 1 tablespoon fresh mullein 1 tablespoon raw honey In a mini food processer, combine all the ingredients. Process until blended into a fine paste. With your fingertip or a cotton swab, apply a drop or two of the blend to each of your insect bites. Place any leftover salve in a small container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for later use. Repeat the treatment as often as itching recurs. Peppermint-Plantain Balm 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Makes about 5 tablespoons (enough to fill 5 lip balm tubes) If you spend lots of time in buggy environments, you’ll find that these tubes of insect bite balm are both convenient and easy to use. The peppermint and plantain soothe the itch while helping your skin heal faster, and as a bonus, you can use the balm to keep your lips feeling soft and smooth. This remedy lasts for up to a year when stored in a cool, dark place. 1 tablespoon dried peppermint 1 tablespoon dried plantain 2 tablespoons jojoba oil 1 tablespoon light olive oil 1 tablespoon cocoa butter 4 teaspoons grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles 3 drops vitamin E oil 20 drops peppermint essential oil (optional) In a slow cooker, combine the herbs with the jojoba oil, olive oil, and cocoa butter. Select the lowest heat setting, cover the slow cooker, and allow the herbs to steep in the oil for 3 to 5 hours. Turn off the heat and allow the infused oil to cool. Bring an inch or so of water to a simmer in the base of a double boiler. Reduce the heat to low. Drape a piece of cheesecloth over the upper part of the double boiler. Pour in the infused oil, then wring and twist the cheesecloth until no more oil comes out. Discard the cheesecloth and spent herbs. Add the beeswax to the infused oil and place the double boiler on the base. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the wax melts, then add the vitamin E oil and peppermint essential oil (if using). Immediately pour the mixture into clean, dry lip balm tubes or tins and allow to cool completely before capping. Apply a dab of balm to each insect bite as often as needed to stop itching.