Bug bite salve

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ResolvableOwl

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This year's mosquito season forecasts either sound great or terrible, depending on if you are a mosquito or warm-blooded. Even if it's not too bad, I like to be prepared.

Some years ago I picked up the information that mango butter has qualities on its own to relieve insect bite pains. I had some around, so I added a few drops of tea tree oil, and used it that way ever since, with acceptable success. But it's going to be used up soon. I'm thinking of making it again, maybe also to give some away for others plagued by buzzzzzzzzz beasts (ye know, the psychosomatics).

My two questions:
  1. Is mango butter really superior to other hard/pasty oils, or would others (shea, cocoa) do the trick equally well? I would have to order some.
  2. EOs: Tea tree is definite. Other suggestions? Calendula and/or camomile extract came to my mind. What's your secret remedies against itching?

If I'll place an order, I'll buy some lipstick tubes too, for easy topical application without sticky fingers.
 

Kcryss

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I was getting ready to make the same thing. I hadn't heard of Mango butter being good for insect bites, but great to know.

For EO's I was planning on Rosemary (I put this one in everything :)), Tea tree, Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass and Chamomile.

Was also thinking of adding a bit of Turmeric as well.

We have more then the usual number of mosquito's this year too thanks to a very wet spring. Love the wet spring, but could do without the extra mosquito's. :)

I like the idea of putting into lip balm tubes. I wonder if a little beeswax might be needed to keep it firm. Not sure if Mango butter will be enough by itself.
 

Tara_H

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Haha, it's definitely the season for it, this is next on my list too! I'll be using lemon eucalyptus as a repellent to try to avoid additional bites, as well as the usual suspects for healing (calendula, tea tree, lavender)
 

ResolvableOwl

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Rosemary sounds great! What a welcome coincidence that I have lemon eucalyptus too, didn't think of this until now.

Inside the house it's usually cool enough here for mango butter to stay semi-solid. But I'll likely give beeswax a try too, especially if I snatch up to add jojoba as well.
 

AliOop

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Best bug-repellent EOs can depend on which bugs you wish to repel. The EPA has a site where you can put in the bug and get a list of suggested repellents.

Also, here's a list of some EOs with studies to back up their repellent abilities:

catnip (on the EPA list). This source say it is more effective than Deet but doesn't smell great.
citronella (on the EPA list)
lemon eucalyptus (on the EPA list)
cedarwood (traditional moth repellent)
geranium - source
patchouli - source
lavender - source
lavender, basil, thyme, vetiver, pine, bergamot, tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon eucalyptus - source

ETA: just realized you were wanting a salve, not a repellent. Lavender EO is my go-to for anti-itching qualities.
 

lsg

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Here is a recipe that I got years ago, from Ponte Vedra Soap Co. My family loves it.

Ingredients: (Makes 6-7 ozs.)
  • 4 ounces Olive Butter (weighed) I use shea butter
  • 2 ounces Neem Seed Oil (weighed)
  • 1/2 ounce Beeswax (weighed)
  • 1 ounce Lanolin
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil
In a small pan, over very low heat, melt the olive butter, beeswax, lanolin, and add the neem oil once liquefied. Remove from heat, let set for 2 minutes. Add essential oils, stirring as you incorporate them.

Pour into clean glass jars or tins. For longer shelf life, store in the refrigerator.
 
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ResolvableOwl

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Lipstick tubes arrived yesterday. I couldn't resist, melted up the remains of the old salve (with solar heat :cool:) and cast it into a tube. Gosh did I overestimate how little 7 mL are :rolleyes:. I'll be able to refill that tube at least once again – with what I would nearly have discarded as “hardly more than a dirty jar”…
mango1balm.jpg

Application works like a breeze (unfortunately I'll need it too). It's much more yielding that way than using a finger, so I need even less, and it lasts even longer! But still I'd love to finally try out the new recipe, with new mango butter and new EOs 😫
 

KimW

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Best bug bit salve, aka "after bite", I've made is with Lavender and Oregano EOs.
Combo was suggested by a cousin who's sold EOs for so many years. I've never seen Oregano thrown into an "after bite" blend, but the old girl was right! :)
I just use our kitchen olive oil for a carrier oil. Confession: If a bite suddenly makes me particularly crazy...I just apply the EOs neat. 🤫
 
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ResolvableOwl

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As an acute remedy (within the first few hours), high-% rubbing alcohol is a secret weapon. Tea tree & friends is more to suppress itching for the one…two days following.

Too bad you only told me this now, now I have stocked up with rosemary, but no oregano. Restocking no more often than monthly. 🤪🤬🤭
 

Marsi

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rosemary and oregano are in the same plant family
you might get similar effects from thyme, marjoram, basil, sage and savory

i was told, by someone who is the first person to get bitten in any group, that vinegar on the bite stops the itch
havent tried it yet but the internet experts say it works ;)
 

Zany_in_CO

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Lavender EO is my go-to for anti-itching qualities.
Me too. As little as 1-5% in jojoba (or any other long-shelf-life carrier oil). I use a 1-oz. (30 ml) treatment pump bottle. Doesn't take much to soothe the itchies or rub gently on the temples to relieve a headache. Also good for minor burns. Instant relief and no scarring.

ETA: Stand alone Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil (vs. "nature identical" Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus) at the EPA recommended rate of 10% in a body spray mist is an excellent mosquito repellent -- and it smells nice too. 😁
 
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glendam

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Not quite related to your question about butters, but related to mosquito bite remedies. I bought “the bug bite thing” after seeing in shark tank, and it does seem to work most of the time; though not always. At least when I did it on myself I didn’t see a difference but perhaps I waited too long. My husband says it works and he is the one that gets eaten by mosquitos the most. It is like a suction syringe that is supposed to absorb the mosquito saliva or whatever liquid it is they leave on our skin.
 

KimW

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@ResolvableOwl - have tried rubbing, isopropyl and straight grain alcohol right after being bitten (yes, I am so sweet that all the bugs love me so I carry around some sort of after bite when out in the wilds) and while they provide an initial cooling effect, for me there's no benefit. ETA: Lavender makes my throat feel like it's closing up. Likely some sort of allergic reaction, but when it's 1am and you're temporarily stark raving mad from waking up for the umpteenth time due to itching bites, and you don't have your normal after bite spray, anything that will provide relief is acceptable! 😁

@Marsi - have also tried white and apple cider vinegars. The initial sting is actually quite lovely, but when it fades it's back to itching.

@glendam - Too funny. They all seem to be different for different people. My favorite after-bite, even better than EOs, is a knock off store brand of CVS pharmacy. It works SO great on old and new bites, and will carry me through the night. And yet, the name brand that it's supposedly duping provides absolutely no relief for me, but always worked the best for a friend of mine who said the store brand did nothing for her!
 
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ResolvableOwl

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@glendam Yes, it's so puzzling. That far that my tea tree-mango tactics work well after one application on one bite, and the other, on the same arm, looks the same but hurts for two days. People react differently, differently at various places of the body, and we haven't even talked about mosquito species or biorhythm.

@KimW Some bites just don't itch (or disappear completely) when applying ethanol (grain alcohol) early enough, while others don't react at all, besides the pleasant cooling (haven't tried isopropanol though).
 

earlene

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Not quite related to your question about butters, but related to mosquito bite remedies. I bought “the bug bite thing” after seeing in shark tank, and it does seem to work most of the time; though not always. At least when I did it on myself I didn’t see a difference but perhaps I waited too long. My husband says it works and he is the one that gets eaten by mosquitos the most. It is like a suction syringe that is supposed to absorb the mosquito saliva or whatever liquid it is they leave on our skin.
My Occupational Therapist is using that (specifically this one) on my surgical scars in the effort to reduce deep scar adhesion so I can regain optimal use of my thumb & finger. She does the suction thing, then gently 'massages' while suction holds. I had actually never seen one of these devices before. Yesterday I saw that the OT Dept has at least 2 of these, because while my OT was using it on my, another OT got another one out of the cabinet to work with another client.

I am enjoying reading this thread, for all the information. Maybe when I run out of my bug repellant, I'll try some of these other suggestions. So far I haven't been bothered much as yet this season, so haven't even bothered getting it out, but at least I did check to make sure I still have some left from last year.
 

ResolvableOwl

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So. I jumped in and ad-lib formulated a recipe. One has to start somewhere.

Salve base from 67% mango, 8% sunflower wax (helianthus annuus cera) and each 12% babaçu oil and calendula-infused jojoba. EOs (TOM): 6% camphor (solid), 5% tea tree, 2% rosemary, and 1.5% elemi.
No photo since it looks exactly the same as in post #8.
The sunflower wax really does a great job in holding everything in shape, so that the cream loosely resembles a lipstick, and is even more yielding to use than the pure mango grease before…
It smells not much different, but of course a bit more complex. I'm not exactly sad that I currently can't test its effectiveness; today was a single tropical siesta, without much chance to expose myself to six-legged vampires.
 

ResolvableOwl

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I caught myself to be outside at unreasonable twilight times, and to leave the windows open too long, to provoke mosquito bites 🤪. Worked quite well so far… now I have a few bites that I can treat with the salve.

It is not a cure-all, but I (at least I believe) it works a bit better against the itching than the old (mango + tea tree) salve. I also like that it smells more balanced – the tea tree EO is still dominant, but no longer that distinctly “medicinal”. And handling is a breeze, the lipstick makes application very easy (with clean fingers), and the wax addition helps with dosage.
My main observation is that it does not so much relieve the pain of the bite, but reduces the itch/urge to scratch at the places in question.
 

Zany_in_CO

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I caught myself to be outside at unreasonable twilight times, and to leave the windows open too long, to provoke mosquito bites 🤪.
I don't know what to say except that I agree with you... 🤪! LOL
My brother, the epidemiologist is turning over in his grave, I'm sure. Mossies are responsible for so many potentially lethal diseases, I fear for your safety. 😱
 
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