surviving without the doctor

Spider Bites

Over the years I have been bitten many times by various types of spiders including the Brown Recluse Spider. While many spider bites simply go away on their own and do little but itch and welt up, the spiders that have a bad bite that typically require medical attention can indeed pose a problem and in a Grid Down situation or even back country situation where medical attention can be in doubt (or even now given the sky high costs of medical attention and the many people who don’t have insurance) there are ways of dealing with these bites.
This what I personally do when bitten by a spider (or even suspect it):
First, anytime you suspect a spider bite, time is of the essence.
The faster you begin treatment the better the outcome and less likely you will need outside intervention.
Step one is to clean the wound area well this cannot be stressed enough!
Then apply the following oils:
Bergamont essential is excellent for preventing abscessing, pain, itching and infection. It is my FIRST line of defense with any type of ‘puncture’ wound including spider bites and sticking things into various body parts (that is another story). Straight oil, no dillution. A few drops on site (you may, if its not abscessed, spread the oil to completely cover the area and go just a bit outside of the puncture site. If it is abscessed, just use a dropper and throughly cover the open wound and surrounding area. Keep uncovered and keep the wound out of the sun if it is abscessed, if not keep it covered using a cotton gauze pad. Use this oil on site every 3-6 hours depending upon severity of the wound. This alone should keep things under control until the body can get rid of the poison itself. It has worked many times for me over the years, including one instance (the first time I was ever bit) where the spider bite was abscessed to the size of a half dollar. No antibiotics needed, just the oil. With the abscessed wound it took about 2 weeks to completely heal but it did with minimal scarring. Without the abscess it was done and over in about 5 days.
Alternately you may use basil oil. Use only when not abscessed and apply with lavender oil 2-3 times daily..layering the oils (meaning use first one, waiting a bit and then applying the other). Word of caution using Basil oil: some people will/can react badly to this oil. It would be wise to test yourself way before needing it. It will feel like it is ‘burning’ and the skin may become red, but this is typical and will not hurt you.
Another way is to simply use a blend of lavender, tea tree, rosemary, citronella and myrtle…equal parts…though personally I use this blend in conjunction with bergamont to prevent infection and help to draw out the poison. Though I will note it is not imparative to use this blend.
Tea Tree oil will help with swelling, infection and itching.
You may, if you do not like to use essential oils, make either a poultice of plantain and apply on site or oatmeal. Though personally I find the essential oils to work much, much better. But some have found that plantain works quite well for them…
Plantain leaves, crushed and poulticed. You know you have plantain on your hands if you see 5 veins on the leaf and it flower stalk sticks straight up into the air, often seen in crack in the sidewalk and disturbed ground areas…it is a common ‘weed’ and Take one tablespoon crushed leaf juice every hour, at the same time applying the bruised leaves to the wound. The dried leaves can also be used when soaked in water or herbal tea. Plantain tea can be used as a wash to bathe the area often. (this is excellent for bee/wasp stings also along with Tea Tree or Wintergreen essential oil).
Herbs that will help detox the body of the poinson more quickly are yellow root and burdock. 2 capsules of both 3 times daily, tincture form 3 times daily (I find the teas don’t work as well in emergency situations).
Now, infection can be a concern, so I would alternate using Echinacea and Goldenseal root (or tops). 2-3 capsules each alternating each herb every 3 hours (you may use tincture also, an adult would need 40 drops of the tincture). If I had to pick one only of these herbs I would use Goldenseal as it works best on ‘membranes’ and the lymph system.
Mind you, you will most likely experience swelling, burning, pain, etc. and infact the area may swell and be hot to the touch, as long as it does get much bigger than say twice the size of a silver dollar within 3 days you will be doing just fine using the alternatives. Persistance is key in treatment with alternatives. You may find that redness travels along the lymph nodes and this is normal also as it is the lymph nodes that remove the toxins, if you see if, apply the oils (excepts basil) along the redness where the lymph nodes are, but personally I have never had this happen. Be patient and persistant.

July 11, 2011 - Posted by | Essential Oils, Herbs, Spider Bites | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Thank you for sharing. I am a nurse and I do believe we should not steer away from nature. I do not put my full trust in manmade medicine. I believe we rely too much on insurance driven opinions and on the medical care of the doctors that are forced to practice by their rules. I feel it is important to bring back and fine tune our human instinct of self evaluation. To know how to treat a wound or an insect bite, be patient and allow healing time. I also see the importance of knowing when to search for medical care. Saying this, I stress the skill of self evaluation is of utmost importance.

    Comment by Margarita | September 7, 2011 | Reply

  2. I think that Brown Recluse Spider bites are amongst the worst spider bites as its bites can be very painful and can cause a really bad infection. I am very thankful to you that you have shared very useful information in your article that will help people to take the necessary actions after they get a spider bite to reduce the damage.

    Comment by Michaels | March 17, 2012 | Reply

    • thank you…they are very bad, but by simply using bergamont essential oil on the wound/bite site you can save yourself a thousand miseries…been there, done that as someone who has been bit 3 times by them…fast action saves alot of the misery so if in doubt, use the oil! at the very least it will kill any infection, even if its not a brown recluse bit. Bergamont essential oil is BEST for ANY type of ‘puncture’ wounds, including nails, screw drivers, anything that is puncture in nature. I stuck a flat head screw driver into my hand (call me stupid) in the area between the thumb and first finger (think the web area) and used bergamont essential oil immediately, no nerve damage, no stiches, etc. though it hurt like hell as it healed from the trauma.

      Comment by Rev. Laura | March 17, 2012 | Reply

    • So here is my story. On Friday May 21, 2010 I hoped out of bed like usual, noticed that my right arm near arpmit was a bit sore. We had plans to take our kids to six flags, so I showed my husband and told him I think I must have been bit in my sleep by a spider. Go on to six flags and around noon i noticed that my arms looks red, like I had tiny flat bumps on my arms that somewhat resembled a sun burn, by six when the park was closing I noticed that my legs looks red. I was really thirsty. On the way home I developed chills and generally felt crappy. When I got home and jumped in the shower I saw that my entire body was red, bright red like I had been sun burned really badly, face puffy and I was freezing. I layed in bed with my legs crossed over one another and could tell my heart was beating fast. I called my mom and asked her if any of us children has ever had a reaction like this from a spider bite.Next morning woke up and told my husband I need to go the the dr, I felt as if I couldn’t keep my head up, i just wanted to lie down. when I get to the urgent care facility, the nurse taking my vitals thought I was sunburned( I had SPF 85 on the day before at the theme park) I assured her my entire body was red. My pulse was 158 and I had a weak pulse, and fever around 102. I was severely dehydrated so that wanted to start me on an Iv fluids. They had the hardest time finding my veins, which usually isn’t the case, finally the put me in a surgical type room in the clinic and the Dr came in to try his hand at finding a vein for the iv, he tilting me up and down, looking at my feet, tried several times in my jugular and started pulling down my pants looking for a deeper vein in my legs. The nurse thankfully felt like she found a lil vein in my hand and was sucessful. They were able to draw the blood and start the IV, He thought I had Toxic shock syndrome, so did a pelvic exam. Started me on two antibiotics at the clinic and sent me home with my iv still intact to come back the next day for more fluids and Iv. Sunday comes still running fever and looking a really puffy and still red and running fever. My arm just below the bite started looking purple and really swollen. Finished another round of antibiotics and went home. Monday I was to return to the clinic, and I did. There was another Dr there and he thought as well it was Toxic shock from a spider bite. I wasn’t feeling any better so we decided to play it safe and go the the ER for further evaluation. My white blood count was even higher that on Saturday and they started me on two more IV antibiotics and admitted me. Heart rate was around 130. Had antibiotic every eight hours. Tuesday the Infectious disease Dr came in and thought that I had a systemic reaction to a recluse spider bite. Took me off of antibiotics and put me on depsone for the necrosis. Two days later my hands and feet had red spots on them that felt like blisters, very painful esp to put your hands in warm water, my body started peeling like I had a sunburn. Area just under bite that was purple, turned into a scab and peeled off. Hand and feet peeled two weeks after the bite and cuticles on my hands and feet fell off.

      Comment by Lorenz | May 21, 2012 | Reply

      • This sounds more like a staph infection (MRSA) than a bite. Here is a link that describes accurately your symptoms from the Mayo Clinic:
        A spider bit will be ONE place, not several bumps, and with a brown recluse it will be like a pimple with a white head that you scratch and within 3-7 days you will develop an area resembling a ‘fried’ egg look. (Think yoke in middle with the egg white around it except that you are talking bright red in the middle surrounded by lighter red).
        Most spider bites occur on the toes, legs, or arms or fingers, rarely near the arm pit. I would be willing to bet that you shaved, nicked yourself and became infected with a staph virus that was MRSA (which will necrotize). Look up MRSA infections under the staph infections.
        It is very common for MRSA to be misdiagnosised as a ‘brown recluse bite’. Spider bites do not create tiny flat bumps, but more mosquite like…tiny flat bumps clustered indicate a staph infection which can quickly spiral out of control as it did your case. I am terribly sorry the docs didn’t catch it sooner.

        Comment by Rev. Laura | May 21, 2012

  3. I react strongly to mosquito bites. (One bit can swell to the point of scaring) When I am bit, I make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the bite. I leave it on until it is dry and flakes off. I immediately apply more. Once this flakes i just brush it off and the bite is barely a dot. This works because baking sode pulls out toxins.
    When I woke up in the middle of the night with a bite (presumably from a spider) on my toe. My toe was already purple and swolen. It felt like it was on fire. I figured if baking soda works on mosquitos, I may as well try it for spider bites. It worked. I applied it multiple times. By morning my toe was no longer swolen. It was a little pink and had the shiny stretched look of skin that had been swolen and feverish. I did not do anyting further to it. Within a few day you could not even tell anything happened.

    FYI- I also remember my parents using a baking soda paste on bee stings and ant bites when I was a kid.
    I have found it affective for fire ant bites…my first and only reminder after moving to Louisiana to always watch where I step.

    Comment by Miriam | June 26, 2012 | Reply

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