Natural Remedies for a Brown Recluse Spider Bite

Jun 01, 2017

Brown Recluse Spider Bite Remedies

Brown recluse spiders generally keep to themselves, but when they do happen to strike out their bite can be very dangerous, requiring intensive treatment and sometimes surgery. Natural remedies, when used faithfully, can relieve the pain and suffering that results from the bite of a brown recluse and even spare an individual from surgery and side effects of aggressive medications.

Often a person does not realize he has been bitten by a brown recluse until he has a painful or ulcerating bite. The skin at the site of the bite begins to necrotize and there can be accompanying infection. Fever, malaise, nausea and swelling may accompany the bite. Allopathic treatments can include steroids, pain medications, antibiotics, surgery to remove dead tissue, and even skin grafts in severe cases.

The earlier treatment begins, the better. A doctor should be including the in the care of a significant reaction to the bite and especially when there is fever, red streaks, severe pain, multiple bites, or a person is in a weaker state (very young, elderly, immune compromised.)

Topical treatments and internal remedies are combined to strengthen the immune system, reduce pain and inflammation, draw out infection and heal the skin at the site of the bite.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt baths can be used 1-4 times daily to relieve pain and draw out infection. For a whole bathtub, use warm water with 2 cups of Epsom Salt. For a more local bath (foot bath, hand soak) use ¼ cup in a gallon of warm water.

A whole body soak is advantageous even if you can only need to soak one small area. Your body absorbs the magnesium, sulfur and oxygen in the Epsom Salt and each of these help your body to heal well and relieve pain.

Poultices

It is very important to use topical poultices at the site of the bite. A poultice will help to draw out infection over the course of several hours. Ideally you will put a fresh poultice every 2-6 hours. You can leave the poultices off for a couple of hours before replacing the poultice to allow the skin some time to breathe, but you may find that the poultices are so helpful to pain that you don’t mind using them all of the time.

One of the best poultices you can use is a combination of clay, activated charcoal and ground flax seed.

1. Mix the poultice ingredients in a plastic cup or bowl with a plastic spoon. (Do not use metal with clay.)

2. Allow the mixture to sit while you prepare cloths for the poultices. Pieces of old clean sheet or sturdy white paper towels will work.

If the poultice mixture is too thick, add more water. (You want the end result to be about the consistency of jelly.)

3. Spread a thick layer (1/8 – ¼ inch thick) of the mixture into the center of each cloth. You want the poultice to cover several inches past the bite, or at least an inch past any swelling or redness, so don’t hesitate to make large poultices.

4. Fold the cloth or towel back over the center. It will be as if you are making a large closed envelope for the poultice mixture. The poultice mixture will not actually touch the skin, but will absorb poison through the piece of towel.

5. Place one poultice over the site of the bite. Cover the poultice with a piece of plastic wrap to keep the moisture in. The poultice will not work if it dries out. Finally, use an ace bandage or cohesive tape to attach the poultice to your skin. It is best to not use adhesive (sticky) tape as they often cause damage to skin at a time when you are trying to keep skin intact. Broken skin even near the bite site can leave you at risk for infection.

The layers will be as follows: skin, cloth, poultice mixture, cloth, plastic wrap, ace bandage.

Vitamin C

Your body needs vitamin C for skin repair and to strengthen your immune system. You will be surprise how much vitamin C your body will need when fighting the infection and necrosis. Use the sodium ascorbate form. For detailed information on proper dosing of vitamin C, see this page.

Turmeric

Turmeric helps to control pain, fights infection, and reduces inflammation. Turmeric will also help to prevent secondary staph infections and cellulitis, which are not uncommon when you are dealing with any health issue in which there is broken skin and an overtaxed immune system.

½ teaspoon of turmeric can be added to 3 ounces of milk or yogurt with a pinch of black pepper and taken 4 times a day. Alternately, take 2 capsules of turmeric 4 times a day.

Benadryl

It is easier to keep inflammation from happening sometimes than to reduce it once it is present. Benadryl, taken according to package directions can help your body not to overreact to the bite and help with swelling. It may also help you sleep if you are uncomfortable from the bite. Do not use Benadryl if you have a long drive or use heavy equipment.

Over the Counter Pain Relief

You can use acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen if you need additional pain relief for your bite.

Essential Oils

Between poultices you can apply essential oils to help fight infection.

Lavender essential oil can be used straight to help with pain.

Oregano oil, diluted in coconut oil can also be used to fight infection. The coconut oil also has infection fighting properties.

Honey

Honey is a wonderful wound healer. If you have a crater at the site of the bite you can use honey in the crater to promote healing and fight infection. This can also be used in conjunction with a poultice.

Dietary Considerations

  1. Give your body plenty of high quality nutrients to fight infection, support the immune system, and repair the damaged tissue.
  2. Use whole foods and not processed foods. Drink plenty of water to help the body flush out toxins. You can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a tall glass of water twice daily to support healing.
  3. Avoid sugar. Sugar depresses the immune system.
  4. Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut can facilitate healing.
  5. Bone broths contains nutrients that promote skin repair.

It can take many days or even weeks for a brown recluse bite to completely heal.

If you are being faithful to the protocol and find you are getting worse and not better, you likely need additional medical treatment.

As your bite begins to heal you can reduce the frequency of your poultice applications, baths and internal remedies, as long as doing so does not slow your healing process. Continue the natural remedies as long as any symptoms are present and until the skin is completely healed. During the healing process, the bite may drain puss and infection depending on how long the bite festered before treatment began.

Have you used natural remedies to heal a brown recluse bite? Please send us some feedback!



Activated Charcoal, Baking Soda  

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Posted by Aga (Chicago) on 09/22/2014
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Got a brown recluse bite on my eyebrow after sleeping in a rarely used top bunk bed at my friends apartment. By the second day my eye was swollen shut and that side of my face was swollen as well. I was nauseated, sweating and had chills. Red bulls eye rash developed and area had strange grayish color. I did not want to go to a hospital because I did not have insurance and was worried that they would try to cut out the area surrounding the bite and it was right above my eye. I hit the internet and decided to try charcoal and baking soda as a last resort before finally going to the ER. It worked beautifully. I took activated charcoal solid tablets and crushed them into powder and added baking soda about 1:1 (slightly more baking soda) I added enough water to make a paste and placed it on a sterile gauze. The first day I would change the dressing about every two hours making sure it remained moist. Changed it couple of times at night. Also took charcoal by mouth to alleviate systemic reaction to the bite. Noticed improvement within a couple hours. Within 2 days the swelling was gone, the rash disappeared no more nausea or chills. Continued for one more day just in case. Did not have any scarring. Since then I always make sure to have activated charcoal around.


Cabbage  

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Posted by Renata (Cape Town, South Africa) on 03/11/2009
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Raw cabbage was an extremely powerful remedy in curing me of two infected Violin Spider bites on my legs (one on the thigh, one on the knee). Just grating a small portion of raw cabbage onto a bandage and leaving it overnight helped to draw out the poisin and heal the infection where other herbal remedies had failed, and my only recommended recourse otherwise would have been antibiotics, which I was loathe to take.


Cortisone, Iodine  

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Posted by Bridget (Oklahoma) on 08/28/2013
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We had been home treating 2 Brown Recluse bites my husband got on his shins for 10 days or so. One had become very purple/red and his leg/foot was swelling and about a 2 inch square of flesh around the 'crater' of the bite looked like raw hamburger/open wound that continued to leak clear/yellow fluid. I found a website about spider bites that mentioned a man's story who had been bitten numerous times over the years by recluses, he had finally ran into a vet that gave him 3 small injections with a tiny needle around the 'crater' of the bite with cortisone. He said it started healing immediately. I printed this out and took it with us to the hospital. The ER doc said there was not much he could do for it, that it would get worse looking before it got better, that the swelling/inflammation was not allowing the blood to flow to the wound, so the flesh was dying. He prescribed antibiotics. After he had finished with his diagnosis, I pulled out the pages I printed and asked him about giving my husband the cortisone (Dexamethasone) shots that the article spoke of, since there was nothing else he knew to do. He flatly refused and wouldn't even look over the article. VERY frustrating! We left and came home to sleep til the pharmacy opened next am. Before bed as I was dressing the wound again, my husband recalled that our Dr. had a while back prescribed some cortisone cream for a rash he had on his hand. Figuring it couldn't hurt, I cleaned the wound as usual with apple cider vinegar (it helps keep the skin alkaline, preventing the acidic environment needed for infection to proliferate) then applied the cortisone cream around the open wound, but NOT on it, and bandaged lightly as the wound was still oozing. We woke up several hours later to find most all the swelling was gone from his lower leg/ankle and the surrounding area that had been so purple/red had faded considerably. The Dr. told us the flesh around the wound was dying, and would fall off, due to the inflammation not allowing the blood to flow and regenerate the wound to heal. BUT, after applying the cream for the last 4 days, the swelling has gone down, and the wound formed a scab that fell off naturally to reveal new, pink skin underneath. The original "crater" of the bite is filling in and closing up quickly. I thought that perhaps if someone else runs into a stubborn Dr that refuses to give the cortisone shots, our experience might help them as well. The name of the cream we used was Betamethasone Dipropionate 0.05%. It was prescription, but I would think that any cortisone cream would have some healing effects to allow the swelling to go down and the blood to flow to the would to facilitate healing. This is the 4th time he has been bitten here in Oklahoma, if there is a next time we will be sure to take a Benadryl and apply cortisone cream ASAP! We never did get the antibiotics Rx filled (he gave us 2 kinds- one was Clindamycin, no way was he taking that! ), I applied iodine to the open part of the wound twice a day, I read on Earthclinic that it was used for infections before antibiotics were discovered, and it has healed much quicker than before I was applying it. I hope perhaps this will help someone else who has a bad spider bite.


Garlic  

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Posted by Nosakhere (Chicago, IL) on 10/19/2008
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I really hate getting sick which goes without saying. However my agonizing desire to beat the bite fueled me to seek out advice for a spider bite.One night when I was sleeping a nocturnal hunting brown recluse spider must have decided to crawl under my neck for warmth. In that moment I was sleeping on the floor mattress to escape the snoring from a dear friend of mine. Anyway I must have rolled over & crushed it unknowingly in my sleep and caused the little fellow to release a nasty amount of venom with his bite. I felt very itchy and felt what only seemed like a pin prick the very next morning in the back of my neck. After placing black soap on the skin, (not the commercial kind but the real kind) this usually comes in plastic or a ball of thick paste to stop the itchy break outs on my arm. The slight rashes on my arm went away with the soap. However I noticed that the bite on my neck was in fact more affected as the source. I began poking at them to release the fluid & swelling. This was very painful, So I took an alieve gelcap prior to this procedure as it would slightly ease the process. However I wanted to find natural ways to make it go away. I am a musician & voice over artist/T.V. host. I'm no doctor, but I appreciate the gifts of nature for cooking & all it's healing properties as well. So I found this website. (Earth Clinic). After reading some of the articles, I began trying the garlic clove taped directly to the back of my neck. There was a strong tingle that gave me much satisfaction knowing that it was working to cure the problem. I later tried the baking soda and it reduced the swelling greatly & the puss from the damaged tissue began to run out from the lava lesion caused by the bite. I had to repeat these once or twice a day often throwing in a peroxide rinse occasionally while squeezing out the remaining puss. Right before my eyes I could see the wound quickly healing. My glands had become swollen from the bite & about 2 or 3 days later they returned to normal as well. I threw back a couple of doses of a prescription antibiotic just for good measure. And all I had left was a scab which I applied Hibiclens which was terrific causing rapid skin reformation.

All that was left was to exfoliate the damaged skin with black soap & a gentle scrubber and then apply coca butter after drying. These natural cures are wonderful. God really knew what He was doing when He placed them here for us. If it had not been for these cures. This accident would have gotten much worse & would have been dragged out to at least 8 to 10 weeks instead of the 2 weeks I endured.

My thanks goes out to Earth Clinic (folk remedies) for this wonderful & valuable information.

the Artist "Nosakhere" (Papa Soul)


Multiple Remedies  

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Posted by Nancy (New Mexico) on 07/23/2015
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My husband has been bitten twice by a brown. His first bite was between two toes and as the "SPECIALIST" was not available here for a week, he went to our house and hospital in Denver. Again, the ONLY specialist was not available for a week (all must have been at a convention to learn what to do!!! ). Well, as he was driving to Denver, I hit the Google button and developed a protocol, which by the way relied heavily on my Rife therapy. When he arrived a day &1/2 later, the venom reddened his leg up to the knee. To the newly opened hospital and after 3 hours, everyone had never seen this, several took pictures and gave him an antibiotic, then said he would need to see the out of town specialist. In disgust, we left and I went to work.

Here is the long of it: Slathered the entire leg and foot with straight lavender oil (read it neutralizes the gangrene affect of the venom);

Applied straight basil oil to the wound;

Applied an activated charcoal poultice over the wound and bandaged it (local clinic did give him the kit, which can and should be ordered online);

Then, I made him lie on the couch with the leg elevated, put headsets on the leg attached to my computer download and ran the rife program for brown recluse bite, one frequency at a time.

Well, the next morning the infection had gone down to his ankle. We continued this until he saw the specialist, WHO WAS STUNNED AND WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HE DID! At his follow-up appointment, a new nurse wanted to know how he healed it (it now was a localizes blister and was cut out). THE SPECIALIST SAID TO MY HUSBAND "TELL HER WHAT YOU DID. TELL HER WHAT YOU DID!!


Onion  

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Posted by Betty (Neosho, Mo.) on 05/15/2012
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I had a recluse spider bite. My daghter had used thinnly sliced onion as a poultice for bruises so I thought it might pull the poison out of bite. Tried it, only had red onion but used it overnight and next morning was almost gone. Healed real nice. no Dr bill, no antiboitics.


Plantain  

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Posted by Serena (Pikeville, Tn) on 01/02/2011
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Several years ago I got a brown recluse bite. I had pretty much figured out what it was. I used charcoal poultices on it the first day but was disturbed by a red streak going up my arm (the bite was on the upper forearm near the inside elbow). I went to a doctor who confirmed that it was a brown recluse bite and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and prednisone. He allayed my fears that it was blood poisoning and the streak was in the lymph system.

I had read an article at my chiropractor about healing a brown recluse bite with electrical acupuncture. I called him and asked if he knew who did that. He did and I got an appointment and had the treatment. He also gave me the homeopathic ledum palustre. In three days the bite was healed, though I still have a small scar where it was. Oh, the doctor also told me "and when it breaks open, use hydrogen peroxide on it. " It never did break open. I also never filled the prescriptions since I knew they would do nothing for the bite.

Since then I learned about plantago major (plantain - a common weed in these parts) healing a brown recluse bite. I had opportunity a year and a half ago to use it after a couple of friends had with great success. I kept a poultice of the crushed leaf on the bite, changing it every 4-6 hours. The bite was healed in 5 days. I had more trouble with the tape that I held the poultice on with (it was on my inside thigh) as it reacted with my skin and caused sores all around the bite. I tried several types of bandaids and tapes and had problems with all of them. It was worth it though to have the bite healed.


Potatoes  

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Posted by Gina (Pueblo, Co) on 04/05/2015
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I have treated several brown recluse bites, both personally and professionally. First, a brown recluse bite looks and acts different than other spider bites, but the remedies that work on them will also work on less venomous bites.

A brown recluse bite will begin to blister and turn purple/black around the bite within a matter of minutes to hours. The black area is usually quite large (1-12 inches across- not usually as small as 1/4 inch) and indicates the area that is being affected by the venom. This is not infection, so antibiotics will have no effect on it. The venom acts to kill the tissue, which will slough off in a layer or chunk, leaving a large open wound. The various remedies mentioned in this post include various items that purport to draw out the venom. The most effective of these, I have found, is the potato poultice.

The easiest and most effective method I have found is to use a starchy potato (Russett, Idaho, or the like. Do not use a waxy potato, like a red or gold potato). Peel the potato or scrub it to get the dirt off. Use a grater to shred the potato like you are making hash browns. Take a handful of the wet potato shreds and place them into a piece of thin cloth, like a handerchief and tie it shut (use a rubber band or twist tie). Use a bit of alcohol on a cotton ball and scrub the bite to break the blister open and disinfect the surface. Place the potato filled cloth on the bite and secure it in place by whatever means necessary. Leave on for several hours, until the potato begins to dry. Discard the old potato where it cannot be eaten by any animals (it can kill them) and repeat with fresh potato. You should notice the purple area fade and get smaller until it is gone, over the course of a day or two. Keep repeating until the purple is all gone. If you stop early, the remaining purple may still slough off. If you see streaks of red, it indicates infection as well as venom so you may need to see a doctor.


Posted by Chrystle (Sandpoint, Idaho) on 09/14/2007
5 out of 5 stars

When I was in high school I was bitten by (I believe) a brown recluse. I went to the doctor with in a couple of days but they didn't know what type of bite it was or what to do about it. A family friend suggested I take a Potato and slice it. then clean the top of the bite so it's open and put the potato on it. The starch in the potato will draw out the venom. I tried it and it worked great!! The other thing the family friend suggested was to crush up flax seeds in a mortar and pestle until it was like a paste and put that on top of the bite. The flax seed would do the same as the potato.


Suction Cup Method, Multiple Remedies  

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Posted by Johnny (Arnaudville, Louisiana) on 08/06/2015
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My cousin way recently bitten by a recluse. Right in the top of her head. She went to the hospital and I had told her not too. I wanted her to let me treat her. They drilled a 1/8 inch hole into the head of the bite and squeezed it with their fingers to empty it like a boil. 2 days later the poison was going down her neck with swelling and redness and she is hallucinating, fever with severe heat at the bite site and she was in really in bad shape.

So I picked her up bring her to my house and opened the wound they drilled it was full of venom and her scalp dow to her skull about half dollar size with liquified flesh puss and a yellew to brown liquid and blood.

I squeezed it all out and filled a plastic bottle with equal parts Epsom salts and water. I bent her over squeezed the bottle half way leaving half air half liquid suctioned it to her head and had her sit up, then watched an oily brown yellow red substances rise to the top of the water. Within 30 mins, it drew the poison out. Because they left her with such a large hole, I stuck the entire end of a sterile qtip soaked in hydrogen peroxide in the hole and rotated it several times revealing dead pieces of skin from them lancing drilling what ever. I then went to my cleaning kit for wounds and cut away the dead skin.

Also, I cut the hair around the wound shaved it and started filling it with triple antibiotic ointment twice a day, also cleaning it with peroxide each time I put antibiotic and redressed it using surgical tape I cut into small pieces. Then used a non stick piece of bandaid pad I cut from bandaid to size to just fit tape and hole. You have to keep head shaved around bump for tape to stick and you also have to wait for it to stop leaking.

Use an absorbent sterile medical pad to dab wound softly after filling with triple antibiotic ointment. Went the oozing slowes apply- tape and pad you cut to make basically a butterfly with the pad. Do not close wound like you would with butterfly for 3 to 4 days, until the oozing stops, then close it by pulling the tape just like a butterfly change daily and lean around it with peroxide when you change tape. It took me four days.

The wound / bite is closed and healing well and I've removed tape. The hole is closed and no more leakage and wound is no longer infected.

This was a really bad bad case and if you don't have knowledge to do this, try to find a nurse, or a paramedic from fire department willing to help. My cousin was a licenced nurse and paramedic and he taught me some things. I still have the bottle with the venom and the poison still floating on top separated.. I hope if you're ever in this kind of situation you're blessed with someone who will help at the hospital.

Replied by Dave
Fountain Inn, Sc
08/07/2015

Johnny;

Re your cousin's Brown Recluse bite on top of heat...

BRO....YOU THE MAN!!!!!!

Really, you might have saved her life. The suction idea was brilliant. The use of Epsom salts was also brilliant. It is that kind of self help that just doesn't say; let the doctors do it...that can mean the difference in life or death.

Well done Doctor Johnny.


Treating Children with Recluse Bites  

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Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 05/30/2017
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It is that time of year. One after another is getting a bite or sting that needs attention, including myself.

Last Thursday my 5 year old came in from playing outside crying because his side hurt. Something had bitten him and the skin was broken, red and swelling. It did not look like a sting or tick bite. Based on the way it looked and how it behaved, I am pretty sure it was a brown recluse spider bite. So, I dove into treatment. A friend had had success treating her child's recluse bite with Epsom Salt baths (4 a day! ) and a plaster of coconut oil and charcoal applied directly.

Here is what I did for my little guy:

Charcoal, flax, clay poultices. I put a fresh one on morning and evening with a couple of hours of breathing time between changes.

When the poultices were off, I would apply lavender essential oil or a drop of oregano oil diluted in a plantain salve.

2 Epsom Salt baths daily. 1 1/2 cups Epsom salt in each warm bath for 20-30 minutes with lots of bath toys to keep him entertained.

3-4 times a day I put 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and a tiny pinch of pepper in 3 ounces of full fat milk. He drank that down and then I let him chase it with a spoonful of local, raw honey.

I gave him 1,000 mg of Vitamin C 4 x a day. That sounds like a lot of C but he never got loose stools, so I probably could have given him more.

Each time I put 1/4 teaspoon sodium ascorbate in a mug with 1/8 teaspoon baking soda and a teaspoon of raw honey into a mug. I called it honey soda and he drank it without question. :)

From the "get go" my little guy had some hives on other parts of his body. I did give him benadryl twice a day to deal with the hives. After 2 days he didn't have hives.

I watched him like a hawk for signs of infection or the need for medical help. But he felt fine and played normally and had no fever, chills or malaise.

Early intervention made a big difference. My friend who treated a recluse bite on her child didn't find out about the bite until it looked bad and it took a couple of weeks to treat. But she persevered and healed her little one.

Today my 8 year old pulled a tick off of his stomach. It is swelling and I have begun the same treatment I used for suspected recluse bite. Turmeric, Vitamin C, Poultices. Turmeric and C should reduce the risk of systemic infection. The poultices will draw out local infection.

Two adults in my house have had bee stings in the last few days. The same protocols are useful for us, too. I just give more C and turmeric to adults.

~Mama to Many~