Fleas bite mammals, especially animals with fur like cats and dogs. However, they bite humans as well. Flea bites can cause you to itch and scratch just like other insect bites, and scratching can lead to infection and scars. Fleas have been a problem around the world for centuries, as evidenced by the bubonic plague, which originated in China on the 1330s and was spread around the known world by fleas, according to TheMiddleAges.net.
Lamiaceae, which is the name of the mint family, includes basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savoury, marjoram, oregano, thyme, lavender and perilla. These herbs have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic properties that help reduce the itching of insect bites, including flea bites, and the possibility of infection.
Lemon grass, lemon balm, lemon peel, lemon eucalyptus, lemon geranium, bergamot and other lemon- or citrus-scented herbs contain eugenol and citral, which are used in insect repellents. They also soothe the itching of flea bites and are common ingredients in insect bite remedies.
Pine, Cedar, Rosemary and Juniper
Pine, cedar, rosemary and juniper essential oils have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the itching and irritation of flea bites. Don't apply these or other essential oils to the skin at full strength--dilute these oils with a carrier oil such as almond or olive oil.
The Asteraceae family includes marigold, calendula, chrysanthemum, sunflower and daisy. Marigold, calendula and chrysanthemum, in particular, are used to soothe inflamed skin conditions.
The Euphorbiaceae family includes casava, castor oil and rubber trees. According to the StuartXChange.org, aboriginal populations of Africa and southeast Asia use the latex exuding from these plants for skin conditions, including treatment of insect bites. Castor oil is the easiest euphorbia product to obtain in most countries, as it can be found in most drugstores.
Comfrey promotes skin healing, tea tree oil soothes itching while also acting as an antiseptic. In addition, clary sage, myrrh and aloe vera are all used to soothe skin and promote healing in a variety of skin conditions, including flea bites.
Essential oils of most of these herbs are available at health food stores as well as online. You can add 1/2 tsp of essential oil to 1 tbsp of carrier oil, such as almond or olive oil, and apply directly to flea bites. Make a spray with a cup of water or witch hazel and 10 drops of essential oil. Combine essential oils if you like: try three drops each of cedar, lavender and tea tree oil in 1 cup of water or witch hazel. Spray on your skin to reduce itching and irritation. Add another 10 drops of essential oil, one oil or a combination, to make a stronger solution. Add a few drops of essential oil to an unscented oil, lotion or cream.
Do a patch test for any essential oil you have not used before: apply a drop of the essential oil to your inner arm and cover with a bandage. After 24 hours, check for any adverse reaction such as rash, swelling or redness.
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- "Journal of Ethnopharmacology: An Ethnobotanical Study of Traditional Anti-inflammatory Plants Used by the Lohit Community of Arunachal Pradesh, India": Namsa ND, Tag H, Mandal M, Kalita P, Das AK; 2009
- Science 2.0: Euphorbiaceae Are Mostly Monoecious Herbs
- "The Use of Botanicals for Health Purposes by Members of a Prepaid Health Plan"; J.S. Brown, S.A. Marcy; 1991
- Government of Canada: Benzene, 1,2-dimethoxy-4-(2-Propenyl)- (Methyl Eugenol)
- TheMiddleAges.net: The Black Death: Bubonic Plague