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Sliced Onion for Wasp Stings

Sliced Onion for Wasp Stings

People use all sorts of remedies for bee or wasp stings. Some swear by tobacco juice, but that is getting hard to come by as the habit of chewing tobacco is fading (along with cigarette smoking). Others prefer mud or baking soda. One of our favorites combines vinegar and baking soda as a foaming paste to be slathered on the sting. Here’s another option.

Q. I was cleaning up my flowerbeds for fall when a wasp flew up and stung me on the cheek. Not only did it hurt, I feared it might swell up so my eye would shut. I remembered you writing something about a cut onion, so I sliced the end off an onion and held it on the sting for about 20 minutes. It took the pain away quickly, and the site did not swell up either. Thanks for the remedy.

A. Thanks for the report. According to Eric Block, PhD, an expert in onion chemistry, there are enzymes in fresh-cut onion that help break down the compounds in a sting that cause inflammation.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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