a mosquito on somone's skin, dengue fever, Zika virus, keep mosquitoes from biting

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.

It's almost Black Friday at The People's Pharmacy!

Black Friday at People's Pharmacy 2017
View Specials Now

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Margaret L.

    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

    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

    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.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.