Itch relief: 10 Natural remedies for itchy and swollen bug bites
05/12/2021 // Virgilio Marin // Views

Bug bites are no fun for anyone who likes to go out and bask in the sun. Though they typically go away on their own, fresh bites leave itchy, swollen marks that can keep you scratching your skin all day. Try one of the following natural remedies to relieve itch and swelling: (h/t to

1. Essential oils

Plenty of essential oils not only make for terrific insect bite remedies but can also function as amazing natural insect repellants. Lavender oil, for example, helps relieve the sting and itch from both insect bites and bee stings. At the same time, it can also drive insects away thanks to an anti-insect compound called linalool.

Mix lavender oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, and apply to a bug bite.

2. Plantain leaves

Both broadleaf and narrow leaf plantain leaves can make for excellent natural remedies for itchy and swollen bug bites. Find a leaf, chew it up or mash it to release the juice and then apply the juice to the affected area.

You can also infuse the leaves in a carrier oil and use the plantain oil to treat larger areas.

3. Sugar

Sugar is commonly used for the treatment of a variety of ailments, such as wounds and insect bites. It works as a wound and bite remedy by helping taking away the sting. More importantly, it prevents the growth of bacteria by drawing out fluid.

Spread sugar on the sting area, wrap with a damp paper towel and hold it on for about 10 minutes to treat bug bites.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda is another top-notch home remedy for insect bites. Besides relieving the itch, it also takes away the pain and draws out poison.


Mix baking soda and water to make a paste and spread it on the affected region.

5. Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal was once considered the universal antidote for its ability to alleviate a number of ailments, including itchy and swollen bug bites. Anecdotal evidence shows that activated charcoal helps get rid of welts and relieves swelling.

Slather charcoal paste on the affected area, let it dry and rinse. Repeat a few more times until the swelling is gone.

6. Onion

The milky juice of onion draws out poison from a bug bite and reduces swelling. To make onion poultice, chop an onion into fine pieces and heat with a small amount of water until tender (not brown). Wrap the onion in a cheesecloth, bandage or flour sack towel and apply to the bitten area.

7. Epsom salt and honey

Epsom salt is a popular pain and itch reliever that works especially well when paired with honey. Honey reduces inflammation and helps prevent the growth of bacteria.

Pulverize Epsom salt and mix with honey to make a thick paste. Rub it on the affected area and leave it on.

8. Aloe vera

Besides sunburns, aloe vera is great for soothing itchy and stinging bug bites. Slice open a leaf and apply the gel on the bite. For extra itch relief, chill the leaf before use.

9. Potato

The use of raw potato for itch and pain relief is not very common, but this root crop is actually a terrific remedy for swollen and painful bug bites.

Take a slice of potato and hold it on the affected area to get rid of the sting.

10. Apple cider vinegar

Apply cider vinegar has powerful properties that both prevent the growth of bacteria and alleviate the sting of bug bites.

Mix equal parts of flour and apple cider vinegar to make a paste and apply to the sting area. Alternatively, you can simply soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and hold it on the bite. (Related: How to prevent bug bites in the wild.)

Prepare your own itch and pain reliever in case you get bitten by a bug. The natural remedies listed here work great at soothing itchy, swollen and stinging bug bites. has more about natural remedies for various ailments.

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