Brown Recluse Bites
As soon as you get bitten, apply a paste of clay and turmeric to the bite. Although yellow Ganges mud is the traditional remedy, Bentonite clay is also effective. Ordinary turmeric powder from the Indian grocery or supermarket is better than nothing, but has been stripped of many of its curcumins (active ingredients). Either use organic turmeric powder from your local natural foods store, or buy whole dried turmeric from the Indian grocery store and powder it with a mortar and pestle. Better still, use grated or pulped fresh turmeric root, available at Whole Foods or at good Indian grocery stores. Apply the poultice twice a day until your bite is completely healed. Turmeric will stain your skin yellow, but in a few days it will wear off.
What to do if you don't start the remedy right away:
In this case, your bite may have become severe, with swelling or ulceration. If any of your skin looks black, seek medical help. Necrosis (tissue death) can result from these bites, or a MRSA staph infection can be mistaken for a spider bite. If no blackening or ulcerationhas developed, apply the paste as above two or three times daily. Also drink turmeric tea made from 2 tsp. of grated fresh turmeric per cup of water or 1 tsp. organic or freshly grated turmeric powder per cup. Drink this tea three times daily. A patient of mine juiced fresh turmeric and drank the juice three times daily, using a straw to avoid staining his teeth yellow. You should see a steady improvement every time you apply the poultice. If your bite continues to get worse, or stays the same, without improving, go to the hospital. CAUTION!! If you are pregnant, DO NOT drink turmeric tea.
The above selfcare remedy works well with bee stings. Be sure to drink the turmeric tea as well as using the poultice.
Wasp and hornet stings
I have used this remedy successfully for a terrible hornet sting. Again, it is important to drink the tea as well as apply the poultice, if you have a severe sting.
You can use the same poultice effectively on ant bites. If you have no clay available, a simple paste of turmeric and water will really help the pain, redness and swelling.
Black Widow Spider Bite
If you apply the clay and turmeric poultice immediately after you are bitten by the spider, it will draw out some of the poison, causing you to have a less severe systemic reaction to the bite. I have been bitten, and had the experience!
ALWAYS keep some medicinal turmeric on hand, both at home and in your backpacking First Aid kit.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!