Q. Years ago on a hike in an Oregon forest I was complaining about the itch of a mosquito bite. A fellow hiker said she knew a remedy that Native Americans supposedly used: apply the juice from crushed stems of bracken ferns to the bite.

It works beautifully. Bracken ferns grow like weeds in our yard, so there is a ready supply. I cut the stem low where it is thick and fleshy, crush it and apply the juice to the bite. It never fails.

A. Bracken ferns (Pteridium aquilinum) are found in woodlands throughout North America. We looked for references to the use of bracken fern for this purpose but could not find any in the medical literature.

There are anecdotal reports from Australia that bracken fern sap can be applied to alleviate the pain of ant bites or the itch from “mozzie bites.” This was an old Aboriginal remedy.

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  1. Margaret L.
    Reply

    I take bar soap (but any skin soap will do) and apply it to the mosquito bite as soon as I can, let it dry and the swelling always goes down. I am not sure why it works but it does. I would be interested to know if other people know about this and if there is a reason it work.

  2. MHO
    Reply

    Just put the back of a hot metal spoon on the bite. The heat reaches cellular level and stops the histamine reaction. No more itch for at least six-eight hours or longer, then repeat the hot spoon whenever you feel the itch return.

  3. Julie R
    Reply

    I have found that a strong salt water solution works well to stop itching and heals bites and stings. I put it in a spray bottle and use whenever I start to itch. It has cut recovery time by at least 50%. Somtimes I use salt and espome salts together. It draws out the poison. That’s why wounds heal so fast in the ocean I guess.

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