Natural Remedies for a Brown Recluse Spider Bite

| Modified on Feb 19, 2022
Activated Charcoal, Turmeric, Sea Salt Paste
Posted by Freaking Out (Dothan, Alabama ) on 05/25/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I was bitten 3 times by a brown recluse spider 2 days ago. I didn't realize what it was until the next day. One bite between my fingers was the worst bite and I was woken up several times throughout the first night with intense itching and swelling. Scratching in my sleep created a small opening to that bite. Swelling and pain continued. Everything that I read stated get medical treatment. I was at the 24 hour mark and from what I was reading, medical treatment at that point was treating the symptoms. Horrified at the pictures from this spider bite, I started looking at home remedies.

I am a soap maker and know that other treatments do in fact work with other issues. I came across several articles with plenty of remedies. By my experience and items on hand, I chose to make a paste to include activated charcoal.

I mixed 1/8 cup water, 1 tablespoon activated charcoal, 1 tablespoon of dead sea salt, and a little less than 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.

I used a gauze pad and inserted about a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle and folded the gauze. Applied the gauze directly to the bites. It burned a little from the salt, but more bearable than the pain from the bite. I changed out the dressing after about 4 hours. The second dressing stayed on over night. The bite with the small opening responded best, of course that's the one that I also applied some of the paste directly on my skin. In between the dressings, I noticed that particular bite was forming a hard knot under the skin (which is why I added more paste).

By morning, most of the swelling is gone and the knot has also gone away. The other two bites are still sore and a little swollen so I will continue the process. They still have no direct opening, which is great due to the fact that normally they should be showing signs of infection coming out. The pain is definitely tolerable. I'm not sure if the small opening or me putting the paste directly on the bite with the worst symptoms made the difference in the healing. I would not recommend opening a bite for healing. I can live with the extra time and less complications to just keep applying the paste. I have definitely been amazed by some of the natural remedies that I have tried. This one possibly saved my hand from what could have happened. Two bites on my hand and one on my foot.


Treating Children with Recluse Bites
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 05/30/2017
5 out of 5 stars

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~


Tea Tree Oil
Posted by James (Nampa, Idaho) on 02/05/2018
5 out of 5 stars

This did not happen to me but was brought up in a conversation with a friend when talking about Earth Clinic. I noticed he was limping and I told him about ACV and how it had cured the pain in my knees and how I believed in natural remedies. He then told me he had been to a Doctor for a brown recluse spider bite on the inside of his groin and how it had festered up and full of puss. He told a veterinary friend about it and he told him to put tree tea oil on it and he did and it started to go down and went away. Later he incurred two more bites on his right arm and applied tree oil to those bites and they also went away. He said he had a phone call from a lady that was almost in tears as she had been bitten by a brown recluse spider on the foot and the doctor told her she would lose her foot. She had heard that he had been bitten and cured it. My friend and his wife took some tree tea oil to her and explained how it would probably take a month for it to completely heal and to call him. She called him just over a month and thanked him and said it was completely healed. I submitted this as I have seen nothing about tree tee oil for spider bites or other bites and thought it was to important and to get the word out. He applied the tree tea oil with a cotton ball to the bite and covered it with a bandage also with tree tea oil on it.

Nutmeg
Posted by Elaine (Oklahoma) on 02/19/2022
5 out of 5 stars

I work in a school cafeteria. We have had the same gentleman exterminate our kitchen for years. One day he, another co-worker and I were chatting. He mentioned he had been bitten by a brown recluse a few years back. He was at a clients house when she noticed the bite. She asked him if she could try an old home remedy that was good for spider and insect bites. He agreed and she went to her kitchen and made a paste of flour and milk. She then proceeded to mix in nutmeg till it made a "tan" color. She applied the paste to the area and he went along his way. By the next morning he said all that was left was a pimple. No pain, swelling, redness, fever, nothing but the pimple.


Zach's Brown Recluse Bite Treatment
Posted by Zach (Detroit, Mi) on 09/25/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Brown Recluse Bite Treatment

Around 7 years ago, I was bitten by a brown recluse spider. This was not the first time - the first time, I went to the hospital, where they gave me antibiotics and sent me home. This had approximately no effect on the bite. The venom continued to eat up the skin till I had about a four-inch round, 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep wound. I self-treated it with any home remedies I could think up, and nothing worked.

About a year later, I was again bitten by a brown recluse. I knew better than to go to the hospital (I'm not recommending that anyone not seek medical attention; I am simply stating my personal experience.) By now, I had done a lot of research on spider bites, and found out that the venom was oil-based, so I got to thinking what might neutralize the oil and draw it out.

I mixed together the recipe below, and applied it to the wound, which was about the size of a half-dollar and deeper than the first wound. This was about a week after the bite. I applied it to the bite and covered it with medical gauze. I changed the dressing and re-applied the paste about every 4 hours. In less than 24 hours, it quit hurting. About 3 days later, I noticed it healing, and discontinued the treatment. It formed a healthy soft scab within 2 weeks, and new, healthy skin within 4 weeks.

About 2 years ago, my dad was bitten by a brown recluse on his (bald) head. He had gone to the doctor and gotten antibiotics for it, which did no good for the wound. He showed me the wound when it was about 3 inches in diameter, and I could see his skull in places. I applied this recipe and covered it with gauze, and gave him the rest of the mixture so he could continue the treatment. Within 12 hours, the wound quit burning and tingling (brown recluse bites normally continue to burn and tingle). Within 24 hours, and swelling around the wound went down. He used it for the three days I'd recommended. By the third day, fresh scab was beginning to form and there was no more pus-filled discharge, just some clear serum and a little thin blood now and then. I applied only clean gauze to keep the area clean, and it was covered with healthy skin in about 3 months.

My Brown Recluse Spider Bite Treatment

  • About 16 aspirin, ground up
  • Enough 91% Isopropyl alcohol to make a paste
  • about 1/2 cap 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 cap witch hazel
  • Calamine lotion unshaken, with most of the liquid portion poured off, about equal parts of the thick part mixed with the above
  • approximately one 2 oz tube triple antibiotic ointment

Let me know if you try this and your results!

Zach

(Necessary disclaimer: Use of this treatment is at your own risk. This treatment has not been scientifically verified, and I have to state here that it should not replace currently accepted medical treatment.)


Activated Charcoal, Baking Soda
Posted by Aga (Chicago) on 09/22/2014
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Table Salt
Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 12/06/2021

How to Make a Salt Compress for Spider Bites –

Version #1: Place 2 tbsp. of the table salts on to a folded up paper towel in a small bowl. Add spoonfuls of the hot water to the salt until it forms a paste like wet sugar. Apply the paste/compress onto the bite or insect bite/sting. Then soak a clean washcloth in very hot water; wring out. Place the hot cloth over the paste/compress on the bite. Resoak the cloth in hot water as needed to keep it hot. A hot water bottle works much better for this application. Continue for 30 minutes. The salt compress can be left in place all night by wrapping the compress with plastic-wrap and securing it with tape. Remove in the morning and examine the wound/bite area. Re-apply if needed.

Version #2: Mix two cups of table salt and two cups of very hot water (not boiling) in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until the salt dissolves. Once cooled to touch, soak a clean washcloth in the salt mixture; wring out. Place damp wet cloth on bite wound. Resoak the cloth as needed to keep it as hot as possible. Do this for 1 hour or leave it on all day. The salt compress can be left in place all night by wrapping the compress with plastic-wrap and securing it with tape. Remove in the morning and examine the wound/bite area. Re-apply if needed.


Onion
Posted by Betty (Neosho, Mo.) on 05/15/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Potatoes
Posted by Gina (Pueblo, Co) on 04/05/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Cortisone, Iodine
Posted by Bridget (Oklahoma) on 08/28/2013
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Cabbage
Posted by Renata (Cape Town, South Africa) on 03/11/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Potatoes
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
Posted by Johnny (Arnaudville, Louisiana) on 08/06/2015
5 out of 5 stars

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.

Plantain
Posted by Serena (Pikeville, Tn) on 01/02/2011
5 out of 5 stars

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.


Table Salt
Posted by William France (Tx) on 07/15/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Table salt is all you need to stop the effects from the bite of a brown recluse spider.

Table Salt
Posted by Teri (NV) on 12/06/2021

This one is a very vague answer. Like so I just go into my kitchen and sprinkle some table salt on the affected area and that's it? Do I dilute it with water first like Idk how this one would work due to the short explanation?


Cayenne
Posted by Ellen C. (United States) on 04/12/2020
5 out of 5 stars

Approximately eight hours after being bitten, I learned it was a brown recluse bite. I started using Cayenne Pepper poultices and had an immediate reduction in pain, and redness and swelling. I have been replacing the poultice 2x a day for about 3 weeks. It looks almost fully healed.

I've now started applying poultice once a day and adding lavender oil to help heal the area and the reaction my skin has had to the bandaids I've used to keep the poultice in place.



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