Tag Archives: natural remedies

Home Remedy for Spider Bite

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Most spider bites are harmless and require little or no treatment, except perhaps an antiseptic swab or anti-itch cream. However, there are four types of spiders commonly found in much of the United States whose bites can have more drastic effects and infections.  The four spider bites most individuals need to be especially wary of are those of the black widow, the brown recluse, the hobo spider, and the yellow sac spider.

File:Brown-recluse-2-edit.jpg

Brown Recluse Spider – Wikipedia

The brown recluse spider is native to the United States and found mainly in the central Midwestern states southward to the Gulf of Mexico (see map).  It is also called the fiddleback spider due to the dark violin shaped marking appearing on the spider’s back.  

At our country home, we’ve had our share of insect bites and I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider twice before.  Both times the bite grew to golf ball size, became infected and required a trip to my Dr. for wound debridement and a round of  antibiotics.  In both instances, I was left with an ugly dark-colored scar.

About a week ago, my 21-year-old daughter Caitlin showed signs of being bitten by a brown recluse spider.  The spider is not aggressive and will only bite if it feels threatened.  They like to hide in dark snug places and will crawl into clothing left on the floor, and occasionally will get into your bedding.

Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms

Brown recluse spider bites often go unnoticed initially because they are typically painless bites.  Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours after a bite.

Victims may experience these symptoms:

  • severe pain at bite site after about four hours,
  • severe itching
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • muscle pain

Initially the bite site is mildly red and upon close inspection may reveal fang marks. Most commonly, the bite site will become firm and heal with little scaring over the next few days or weeks.  Occasionally, the local reaction will be more severe with reddening and blistering, sometimes leading to a blue discoloration, and ultimately leading to a necrotic lesion and scarring. Signs that may be present include:

  • blistering (common),
  • necrosis (death) of skin and subcutaneous fat (less common)
  • severe destructive necrotic lesions with deep wide borders (rare)

Caitlin initially presented with reddening of the skin, severe pain at bite sight, severe itching and mild blistering.  After doing some research, I decided to create the following home remedy:

Aspirin
Vodka
Baking Soda
Gauze Pad
First Aid Tape (for sensitive skin use the paper type)

I melted 1 aspirin in 1 teaspoon vodka.  Then added enough baking soda to make a thick (toothpaste consistency) paste.  If the paste is too thick, add more vodka.  Gently apply a thick coating of the paste on and around the spider bite.  Cover the area with a gauze pad and tape in place with first aid tape.  I repeated this treatment morning and night for about three days.  Within the first 8 hours the pain and itch had greatly subsided.  By the third day, the bite had opened and the venom began to ooze out in a clear/bloody discharge.  (If at anytime the bite showed signs of infection, I would have promptly taken Caitlin to our Dr. for treatment.)  The bite was still somewhat red and you could feel a lump under the skin about the size of a large marble, but there was little to no pain.  Once the bite opened and drained, I stopped using the paste and started using triple antibiotic ointment.

Now, a little over a week later, the wound is completely healed and doesn’t show any signs of scarring.  I’m sure this remedy would work on most painful insect bites.

Disclaimer: You can use home remedies to treat spider bites, but if bitten by a poisonous spider, it is highly recommended that you also seek medical attention to treat the spider bite before your symptoms get worse.

My Kombucha Obsession

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One of the new trends among the health food hippie crowd is drinking Kombucha Tea. I tried Kombucha about a year ago and I have become somewhat obsessed with it. I have no idea why, because it smells and tastes like something you would never voluntarily drink.  Kind of like highly carbonated spoiled beer with a shot of vinegar, but for some reason I find myself craving it.  Kombucha has been around for more than 2,000 years and it was worshiped as a remedy for immortality.  The ancient Chinese called it the Immortal Health Elixir.  According to lore, the tea was introduced to Japan by a Korean physician named Dr. Kombu who gave the bacteria-laden liquid to a Japanese emperor as a healing tonic.  Kombucha is available commercially at health food stores or can be made at home.  It is started by using a solid culture of yeast and bacteria, often referred to as the mother, mushroom, fungus or scoby.

The Kombucha culture looks like a white rubbery pancake.  The culture is placed in black or green tea with sugar and is allowed to ferment.  The culture floats above the tea and sugar mixture, and through the natural process of fermentation converts the sugar into organic acids and carbon dioxide.  At the same time it produces a variety of other compounds that are detoxifying and nutritious to the human body, including  Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), glucuronic, lactic, gluconic and folic acids.  The mixture is also high in B-vitamins as well as an assortment of probiotics (beneficial bacteria including lactobacillus acidophilus and s.Boulardii).  The fermentation process of Kombucha leaves it virtually sugar-free and naturally low in carbohydrates.

Some of the alleged health benefits of drinking Kombucha:

Cancer Prevention
Probiotic
Improved metabolic rate
Reduction of cellulite
Facial toner and topical application for skin disorders.
Natural Deodorant
Regulation of the digestive system
Restores Internal pH balance
Strengthens ligaments and tendons
Increases energy
Reduces grey hair production
Improves allergy like symptoms such as phlegm and mucus production
Improves Thyroid function
Detoxifies the liver
Rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
Alleviates constipation
Boosts energy
Reduces blood pressure
Relieves headaches & migraines
Reduces kidney stones
High in antioxidants
High in polyphenols
Improves eyesight
Prevents arteriosclerosis
Speeds healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
Improves candida & yeast infections
Aids healthy cell regeneration
Lowers glucose levels

There have also been reports of adverse effects such as infections, high levels of lactic acid and allergic reactions in Kombucha Tea drinkers.  Kombucha Tea is often brewed in homes under non-sterile conditions, making contamination likely.  If ceramic pots are used for brewing, lead poisoning might be a concern; the acids in the tea may leach lead from the ceramic glaze.  Some medical literature reports adverse reactions including nausea, vomiting and headaches among those who drink more than four ounces of Kombucha Tea daily.  Experts recommend drinking it in moderation.  It also contains trace amounts of alcohol.  Since the potential health risks of Kombucha Tea are unknown, anyone with an immune deficiency or any other medical condition should consult a physician before drinking the tea. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not use this tea.

I only drink Kombucha made by reputable brewers, therefore I am not overly concerned about health risks or contamination.  I usually get  GT’s Kombucha or  High Country Kombucha available in a variety of flavors.  The flavor comes from adding various organic fruit purees and ginger. I don’t know if there are any true health benefits from drinking Kombucha, but I do feel an increase in energy and an overall sense of well-being after drinking it, and for some reason my body craves it.

Whether it’s a cure-all tonic or toxic elixir, I will continue to drink my Kombucha.

I would love to hear about your experience (if any) in drinking Kombucha Tea.

May you always have…
The sun to warm you,
The moon to charm you,
And a guardian  angel, so nothing can harm you.

Peace, Love and Blessings!

How I Slipped on a Dryer Sheet and Opened a Can of Worms

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It amazes me how my life’s journey takes twists and turns and in the process valuable lessons are learned.  The first twist is I have had lower back pain off and on for the last few years.  It happened when huge german shepherd I was working with took an unexpected turn at full speed and wrenched my back out of whack.  Being the hippie and naturalist that I am, I do not seek medical help unless it is a life or death situation.  I’ve probably only been to the Doctor a couple of times in the last decade.  I try to eat healthy, exercise and use natural alternatives to medication when possible.

 The second twist is the great dryer sheet debate that has gone on in my household for years.  My husband Scott hates using dryer sheets and never puts them in when he loads the dryer.  Then I take the clothes out and they are full of static and the inevitable argument ensues.  He says they are full of chemicals and not necessary.  I say it’s hard to look cute if your clothes are plastered to your body like lumpy wallpaper.  To add to the debate, my daughter Rachel has been on me for years about leaving the dryer sheets on the floor after I fold the laundry.  Dryer sheets have been and are destined to remain a hot topic in our family.  The third twist is I lost my job on Monday.
 

Now, on to the valuable life lesson.  Earlier this week I was doing my daily household chores and in the background I heard one of my dogs yelp.  I hurried through the house in search of the commotion (the dog turned out to be fine), but as I was dashing through the laundry room my barefoot stepped on a dryer sheet (the ones I always leave on the floor) and down I went like fat kid on a seesaw.  The dryer sheet skiing foot slid out in front making me do a partial split and I ended up landing on my opposite knee, while sitting down hard on my crumpled non-skiing foot.  After uttering string of words that would make a sailor blush, I was left with a skinned knee and badly bruised toe, but the pain in my lower back was totally gone!  I think may have received an unintentional chiropractic back adjustment.  This is how the karma of my life flows, the good always makes its way back around.  Even bad things can have a positive outcome.  So I’ll try to have faith and not sweat it when life takes the unexpected twist or turn.  Usually there is something better waiting to be discovered around the bend.

This past week has been one of introspect which led me to think about how dangerous those darn little sheets are (Scott and Rachel, you were right and I was wrong). 🙂  So I started searching the internet for similar stories.  To my surprise, I found out that many people complain about getting sick from dryer sheets and liquid fabric softeners.  Go ahead and read the ingredients on your dryer sheets, if you can find them.  For some reason, dryer sheets seem to have escaped having to list their ingredients on the package.  Could it be the manufacturers are trying to hide something?   My own dryer sheet ingredients simply say: contains fabric-softening agents (cationic types) and perfume in a non-woven sheet

Here’s a list of just some of the dangerous chemicals found in dryer sheets and fabric softeners.

  • Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer.
  • Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant.
  • Ethanol: On the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders.
  • Limonene: Known carcinogen.
  • A-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage.
  • Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list.
  • Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders.
  • Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled

Some of the symptoms experienced from prolonged exposure to the types of chemicals found in dryer sheets include headaches, nausea, vomiting , dizziness, central nervous system disorders, blood pressure reduction, fatigue, difficulty breathing, skin irritation, difficulty concentrating and remembering, cancer, irritation to skin, mucus membranes and respiratory tract, and liver damage.  This can’t help but make one wonder if dryer sheet usage may somehow be contributing to our current rise in Alzheimer’s disease?

Although I will miss their sweet scent and static control, I am going to make an effort to eliminate them from my household.  Here are some natural alternatives to using dryer sheets and fabric softeners:

  • Hang your clothes outside on a clothesline.  People today think that hanging clothes out to dry in the sun is old-fashioned, but it is actually a more effective way to kill germs than a dryer, does not produce static electricity and is much more environmentally safe.  Go green and put up a clothesline.

colorful clothesline

Click on image above for a great DIY clothesline project.

  • Wear natural fabrics to avoid static cling.  Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and lycra are prone to static.
  • For softness and to kill germs, add vinegar to the wash.  Just add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water of the laundry cycle.
  • Use an eco-friendly fabric softener.  There are a number of alternative “green” fabric softeners on the market made with natural fragrance or are fragrance-free.
  • Try dryer balls.  Many consumers report great results when they toss a couple of rubbery dryer balls in with each load in the dryer.
  • Remove clothes while still damp.  You can hang your clothes up damp to avoid static cling.
  • Toss in a dish cloth with a drop of essential oil or add a natural sachet of herbs, such as lavender or mint.  This may not eliminate static, but will add a nice fragrance to your clothes.

With all the natural alternatives, surely we can eliminate those chemically soaked sheets of destruction from our households and maybe in the process improve our overall health.

Vertigo

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I’ve suffered from occasional bouts of vertigo my entire life.  It usually comes on suddenly and lasts anywhere from one day to up to a week.  I have the most common type of vertigo known as benign positional vertigo.  This is a condition in which a person develops a sudden sensation of spinning, usually when moving the head from one side to the other or turning over in bed. 

Benign positional vertigo is due to a disturbance within the inner ear. The inner ear has fluid-filled tubes called semicircular canals. The canals are very sensitive to movement of the fluid, which occurs as you change position. The fluid movement allows your brain to interpret your body’s position and maintain your balance.

Benign positional vertigo develops when a small piece of bone-like calcium breaks free and floats within the tube of the inner ear. This sends the brain confusing messages about your body’s position.

Picture of the Ear and Internal Structures

Luckily, my vertigo only happens to me once every few years, but when it does, it severely inhibits my life.  This past week it hit me again with a vengeance.  I couldn’t go more than an hour or two without experiencing “the spins”.  If you’ve never had vertigo, it actually feels and looks like the room is spinning.  It’s truly an awful and helpless feeling.

After doing some research, I came across this video.  I tried out the procedure called “Epley’s maneuver,” which can move the small piece of bone-like calcium that is floating inside your inner ear, and it worked!  I got immediate relief.  No unnecessary doctor’s bill, or drugs.

 

DISCLAIMER
Opinions or information offered on Bless Your Hippie Heart are not intended as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment.  Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.