Insect Bites and Stings
Studied Homeopathic Remedies
If humans have any major rival in the natural world, it’s insects. Despite centuries of warfare against them by humans, insects have held their own, and in some cases continue to flourish. Insects remain a major source of crop damage as well as a vector of illness. Besides all that, they are a nuisance! Insect bites and stings are the inevitable result, it often seems, of doing anything outdoors.
In most cases, the consequences of these misadventures are relatively small. However, some people are highly allergic to the stings of certain insects, and can experience severe, even life-threatening, reactions. None of the homeopathic remedies discussed in this section are meant to address such serious problems. Rather, what we discuss here are potential ways to minimize the natural discomforts of outdoor experiences.
Scientific Evaluations of Homeopathic Remedies for Insect Bites and Stings
In a randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers used a homeopathic gel manufactured and marketed in the Netherlands as a topical treatment for insect bites.1 The gel was made from a mixture of homeopathic medicines that included Echinacea augustifolia, Ledum palustre, Urtica urens, as well as citronella and eucalyptus oils. The researchers managed to find 68 healthy people who were willing to let mosquitoes bite them on the forearm in three different places. The bites were then treated with both the homeopathic gel and placebo that was identical to the treatment except lacking the homeopathic medicines. Unfortunately, the homeopathic remedy proved no more effective than placebo.
It may be worthwhile noting that many homeopaths object to the formulation of this gel, because it includes strongly aromatic oils (citronella and eucalyptus). According to the principles of classical homeopathy, these oils would be expected to “antidote” (block) the effects of the homeopathic ingredients.
Traditional Homeopathic Treatments for Insect Bites and Stings
Classical homeopathy often recommends homeopathic Echinacea for insect bites and stings with venom. Ledum is commonly used for puncture wounds and insect bites, and Urtica as a remedy for itching. Other common remedies for insect bites and stings include isopathic remedies made from the offending insect, such as honey bee (Apis mellifica) or wasp (Vespa crabro).
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
References [ + ]
1. Hill N, Stam C, Tuinder S, van Haselen RA. A placebo controlled clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a homeopathic after-bite gel in reducing mosquito bite erythema. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1995;49:103–108.
Last reviewed September 2014 by EBSCO CAM Review Board