Natural Health Remedies for You

Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies

Learn how to use natural bee and wasp sting remedies such as essential oils and homeopathy to reduce pain and swelling.

When a bee stings a person, it leaves its stinger and attached vemon sac in the skin. Bees can only sting once and they die. For wasps, the stinger is smooth and as such they can sting a person repeatedly.

When we get stung by a bee or wasp, the venom enters our body and triggers an allergic reaction. The severity of the reaction depends on our sensitivity to the venom. For most people, it creates only slight pain, swelling, and irritation. A delayed reaction may cause fever, hives, painful joints and swollen glands. Medical assistance is necessary if there is a large localized reaction (greater than about 10 inches in diameter), or if evidence of infection (increasing pain, swelling, redness, drainage of pus or fever) is present at the site of the sting.

A small percentage of people develop severe reactions to the venom. Signs and symptoms of a severe allergic reaction to look out for include:

  • Wheezing
  • Swollen face or hands
  • Hives
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • In severe cases, the person will have difficulty breathing, go into shock, lose consciousness, and sometimes death may occur.

    Severe reactions may progress rapidly. Dial 911 or call for emergency medical assistance if any of the above symptoms occur.

    Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies

    If a person has been stung and has no severe allergic reaction, try the following natural bee and wasp sting remedies to relieve pain and swelling:

    Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies - Homeopathic Remedies

    Homeopathic remedies are effective in alleviating the symptoms caused by bee and wasp stings. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms, and take a low potency (e.g. 30C) every thirty minutes to reduce swelling and pain.

    • Apis mellifica: This remedy is helpful for stings that cause red, puffy, tender swelling with burning or stinging pain, and cold applications bring relief. This remedy can also be used as first aid for a person who is showing allergic reaction to bee or wasp stings. It may help to reduce the swelling of the passages while the person is waiting for emergency treatment.
    • Carbolicum acidum: This remedy can be used to reduce severe reactions to a bee or wasp sting, while medical help is being sought. The person may have trouble breathing, with a dark or reddish face that looks pale around the mouth.
    • Ledum palustre: This remedy is for a person who has a bruising pain and whose swelling seems cold, but the application of ice or cold water brings relief.

    Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies - Essential Oils

    Essential oils can be used effectively to disinfect the site of the sting, as well as to reduce swelling and irritation.

    Oils that have antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties include Lavender, Thyme, Eucalyptus, and Chamomile.

    To make a disinfectant wash, add to a bowl of water:

    • 2 drops of Lavender oil
    • 4 drops of Thyme
    • 2 drops of Eucalyptus.

    Use this wash to disinfect the site of the sting. Then, for bee stings, after washing and disinfecting the sting site, apply a cold compress of chamomile to the area and leave it for several hours if possible. Then apply one drop of neat lavender oil directly to the site about three times a day for two days.

    For wasp stings, add two drops each of lavender and chamomile to one teaspoon of cider or wine vinegar. Mix well and apply on to the sting site three times a day.

    Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies - Vitamins and Supplements

    Nutritional supplements can be taken internally to help prevent or reduce inflammation:

    • Vitamin C: Vitamin C can be taken to reduce swelling and inflammation after being stung by a bee or wasp. Daily dosage is 1500 to 2500 mg. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.
    • Quercetin: Quercetin is a natural flavonoid. Taken together with vitamin C, these two substances act as antihistamines and prevent inflammation. Take 500 mg three times a day. Quercetin and vitamin C should be taken soon after the sting and should be continued until the symptoms slowly reduce or disappear altogether.
    • Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids can promote skin healing and reduce inflammation. Take one tablespoon of fish oil a day, or consume foods rich in EFAs, such as salmon, mackerel, cod, and flaxseed.

    Bee and Wasp Sting Remedies - Herbs

    • Calendula: Calendula is an excellent wound-healing herb. A calendula cream in your first-aid kit should come in handy for minor injuries. The cream can reduce the swelling and itching in the skin caused by a bee or wasp sting, while at the same time its antiseptic properties can prevent an infection from setting in.
    • Plantain: Plantain is very effective in reducing swelling caused by bee and wasp stings. This herb is very common and can be found almost everywhere. If you are hiking and got stung by a bee or a wasp, find some plantain leaves, wash them, make a poultice and apply it to the sting.


    Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
    Duke, J.A. The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002).
    Worwood, V.A., The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991). (

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