Itchy-Bitsy Salve

Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

In a previous discussion about itching bug bites, I mentioned that I had created a salve that I was trying out for bug bites.

I gave it to several people to try and have had good reports from all. Takes the sting and itch out of the bite within a minute. Reduces swelling and inflammation. Works on mosquitoes, black flies, horse flies and spiders. No reports back on wasp or bee stings.

I've had two spider bites within the past couple of weeks and the salve has dramatically reduced the swelling, inflammation and itch. I have a pretty strong reaction to spider bites; welts and hot, red, angry patches surrounding the welts. Painful as well as itchy. Lasts for days and when it starts to dissipate there is usually a bruise that forms at the site of the bite. The salve has taken care of all of it, so I'm pretty impressed.

I've called it Itchy-Bitsy Salve because it will work on small wounds and rashes as well as the bites. It could even be used as a lip balm. I made a stick (in lip balm tubes), as well as the salve, for easier application.

Recipe for Itchy-Bitsy Salve:

1 part cottonwood bud oil (Populus species)

1 part chickweed oil (Stellaria media)

1 part plantain oil (Plantago major or P. lanceolate)

Combine all oils, heat with beeswax in the proportion of 1 oz beeswax to 8 oz oil for a salve or 1 oz beeswax to 4 oz oil for a firmer product to make a stick. (so that would be 2 2/3 oz of each oil to make 8 oz)

If you are considering making this salve, please share your results.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin


    This salve assists with wasp stings. Doesn't take them away completely but definitely tones down the stinging and inflammation. Much better with the salve than without.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you for sharing this @torey. Can't wait to make some. But first to find cottonwood buds and chickweed and make those oils to use in it. lol

    I know they both are growing here, just haven't gotten the chance to forage any at the right times.

  • Udi315
    Udi315 Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    @torey Thanks for sharing! Never have enough healthy salves to help with an itchy bug bite. Also love the name!

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

    I love the simplicity of this. I have cottonwood oil but need to get the others then I will make this. Hopefully it will work well for me.

  • Wendy
    Wendy Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I have never used cottonwood oil, but in my first aid salve (sorry, no fancy name here) I use plantain and St. John's wort oils. Plantain is for the itch, stings, and minor irritation. St. John's wort is for bruises and overall skin issues.

    My oldest daughter uses this after gardening to relieve the itchiness of "squash arms" where the squash plants prickle her. My middle daughter uses this on burns from the kitchen. My youngest daughter uses this on dry lips after running half marathons.

    Plantain does wonders on all types of bug bites and stings.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭

    This sounds great- I will make it when chickweed is growing again in the cooler weather since that's the only oil I'm lacking. I've got cottonwood oil, and plantain, comfrey, calendula oil trio. Which I think would be great all together here. By springtime when the bugs wake up I'll be ready to make it! Wham bam thank you ma'am😁

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭✭

    Itchy-bitsy Salve sound really good. I really like the cottonwood bud oil. Have never used it in this kind of recipe.

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    This sounds like a great herbal recipe. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    So, does the chickweed need to be dry or wilted when you infuse the oil? I've had my cottonwood oil sitting (and not molding!!) since late winter.

    We still have great patches of chickweed in the garden & beautiful plantain there as well.

  • nicksamanda11
    nicksamanda11 Posts: 721 ✭✭✭✭

    The chickweed will probably grow again here this fall too!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,502 admin

    @LaurieLovesLearning I usually wilt it overnight and then use the heat method of infusion. Same for the plantain.

    Seems a lot of things got second growth this year.