Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Brown Recluse Bite - Story & Treatment

The story ....

I'm not sure how many days have passed or exactly what happened when. This is my best recollection of events at the moment.

Around two weeks ago I found a very painful lump in my breast and feared the worst. I began treated it as if it were the worst. I used Ojibwa tea (Essiac tea but only with the original 4 ingredients), garlic, vinegar/honey tonic, red clover tincture and infusion, a baking soda-honey-red clover plaster, raised vitamins, stop coffee, etc etc etc. started my yoga and tai chi again (which I had greatly laxed on) and other things I can’t think of at the moment.

The lump became a small mass and actually moved, got larger then went back to it’s original size. There was  redness and swelling in a large area around the lump/mass but nothing else. There were no marks, no other discoloration, nothing that would imply a bite. I did at this point suspect some sort of infection but then figured that my body was treated the lump itself as an infection. I started Echinacea and C.

Monday, sept 30th,  Nik was at work and I was outside making a hammock. The day was beautiful and aside from the lump pain I felt quite fine. I took a small break and went into the house for a drink and answered an email from the woman I make hammocks for. I went back out to finish and pass out. I felt the black washing in so I squatted down and the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground and had Nemo’s dog slobber all over my face and arms. I was able to get myself back inside, get cleaned up a little and got into bed. That was Monday late afternoon and I woke Thursday afternoon with blood all over me.
I have a pretty high pain tolerance and this was beyond what I can reasonably tolerate. Even so, I did have to tolerate it because none of my pain tinctures worked to even dull this pain. They did lower the fever and reduce swelling but the pain was incredible. I make a surgery tincture for similar purposes but a small amount caused vomiting which made the pain all the worse. I was out of my regular heavy duty pain tincture and out of the seeds to make it. 

On Thursday I was able to be up long enough to clean myself up well, dress the wound, prepare bandages for changes and eat a little soup. Friday I was much better. For us sleep is very healing by itself and we go into an almost comatose state when dealing with such things.

I have a basic protocol for such things but could barely wake long enough to go to the bathroom. When I was able to, I used Baking soda to halt the necrosis, mugwort topically for dispersing the blood, echinacea internally and externally, garlic, high doses of vit C, E for cell repair, honey for secondary infection prevention and cell repair, olive oil and beeswax for protection and slow healing, mullein and calendula externally for general healing, white willow internally for mild pain relief (did nothing) and reducing swelling for which it worked excellently, feverfew internally for fever, red clover infusion internally when stronger (before and after sleeping for days) for cleaning the blood.

I think the plaster of baking soda, honey and red clover I was using before I knew what it was, went to great lengths to reduce the scaring. Of course I won't know until it's healed but the size now is almost half of what it was originally. The wound area now is around 2in x 4 in and was 4.5 in x 3 inches before. Nik was bitten on his neck and we caught it early on, his scar is smaller than a dime. It's important to arrest the necrosis as soon as possible. Altho that is just a scar, no matter the size. life is more important. 

Before now I could not have imagined being thankful to be bitten by, what is most likely, a brown recluse. There's still a chance that the bite is hiding a lump but I think it's just a bite.

It’s been exactly a week since I went down and aside from the wound, lingering (but much lessened) pain, soreness and a little fatigue, I’m feeling very good and mostly healthy.


The Treatment ...

Treating a brown recluse bite at home

I am not a doctor and have no intention of diagnosing, advising, etc.. This is what I did and what worked for me.

** Warning- I’m including 2 graphic photos. Photos can be seen at the bottom of this pagehttps://sites.google.com/site/simplybeingozarks/the-apothecary/brown-recluse-bite---treatment

 *This page may be updated if I remember anything to add.

Brown Recluse bites cause necrosis, which is a process that kills living tissue and dissolves it.

If bitten, you will likely experience one or more of the following. Most people experience all at some point of the bite and result but some people experience almost none.....
A lump, 
bump or small mass.
Low grade fever
A dark mark (necrosis)

The existence or severity of the above depend on several factors including where the bite is, the size of the spider, how much venom was injected etc..

 I experienced intense pain from the beginning. Not everyone does, sometimes there’s no pain at all until the bite starts to darken. Sometimes there’s no pain even after the necrosis begins. My son was bitten on the neck last summer and had no pain at all.

 Most bites start to darken within a few days. Mine didn't darken until over a week. My son's darkened on the second day but never got larger than a nickle.

 Most bite areas start swelling within a few days, mine didn’t start swelling for a week. My son's started swelling the second day and his neck became larger than his head. But his throat remained fine.

 If you suspect a bite but have no bite symptoms I would recommend treating it as a bite anyway. No one reacts exactly the same way to anything.
 As soon as I realized this was a brown recluse bite I started the following. Please also read the bite story as well for more information on what happened and how.

When I say caps or capsules and do not give milligrams etc it means that these are capsules we fill at home. I use 0 size, all natural, vegetable gelatin capsules. I grow or purchase organic herbs etc. We grind our own and pack our capsule tight.

 *Echinacea internally,  four 0 caps of ground organic whole herb twice a day (4 morning and 4 night). Echinacea is a strong antibiotic (is also an antiviral and much more) and works to help keep the immune system in balance. Echinacea should never be overused and should be treated like a conventional antibiotic. I used this large dose for 14 days and will not use again for at least 14 days.

 *Vitamin C internally – two 500 mg tablets twice per day (2 morning and 2 night). Strong immune booster. I used a commercial brand of vitamin C with rose hips. In the Ozarks there are many good wild and cultivated sources … wild rose hips, many berries and their leaves, sorrel ….

 *Garlic internally – two 0 caps ground organic dried garlic twice per day (1 morning and 1 night)  (I was already taking 1 garlic cap per day and just upped it to two). Many reasons including strong immune support.

 *Baking soda , local honey and red clover infusion plaster topically (recipes below). At least twice a day but more often is better. Start applying as soon as any darkening is seen or as soon as you suspect a brown recluse bite. This is applied Before the wound opens and carefully as the wound is opening. Not used once the wound is open and raw. This helps draw but most importantly helps to halt the necrosis reducing the wound size. A smaller wound leaves a smaller scar but also a smaller area exposed to secondary infection.

 *Honey topically. I drenched the wound before and after with local raw honey. For prevention of infection and cell repair. I only did this once after the wound was open because rinsing it with warm water was very painful and I had gone way beyond what I could stand. When the wound heals enough I will start using the honey topically again.

 *Antibiotic salve topically. I used my own salve which contains Echinacea, mugwort, olive oil, beeswax, vitamin E, calendula and mullein. I did not apply it until after the wound had opened and began draining because I was asleep for the days between. Had I been more with it, I would have applied several times a day before and after. As it was, I applied only s few times before the wound opened. After, I applied liberally to the gauze with which I covered the open wound and changed bandages as needed, reapplying with each change. This is an antibiotic healing salve used to help heal the wound but also to prevent secondary infection which can be as dangerous as the bite itself.

 *For fever I used my pain tincture #2 internally (recipe below). It’s what I had made up at the time. It did nothing for pain but did keep the fever down. I used it as needed every time I had to get up. Even after over 2 weeks I still run a low grade fever as my body works to overcome and heal completely.

 **Pain –  From the time I first discovered the very painful lump to until about a week after the dead tissue fell away and the open wound began healing, nothing I had helped the pain to any degree except for 4 very old percacet  (over 10 years old). I used these to sleep for 2 nights in a row, before the dark mark showed, when I still believed the lump could be a cancer. They did ease the pain to a great extent and allow good REM sleep. Those were the only 2 nights I had such sleep in a 3 week period. I am all natural but I intend to get more and keep them on hand for any such future event. Those 4 old pills stayed in my lock box for over 10 years and were invaluable when the time came to truly need them.

 *Plenty of water internally. I had no appetite and did not eat for around 72 hours but kept water by my bed and drank every time I sat up for any reason. Dehydration can happen any time of year and the body needs to be hydrated at all times, especially during trauma and healing.

 *Vitamin E internally. Four 400 IU daily. (2 morning and 2 night).  For healing, elasticity and cell regeneration.

 *Red Clover Infusion internally (recipe below). I started this before knowing that it was a bite, discontinued during the days of sleep,  then started again once I was up more. Red clover is excellent for detox and cleaning the blood. It can cause diarrhea and frequent urination so should be used with care. I ran out of red clover early on but to my great blessing, my dear friend Dame brought me 2 wonderful herbal care packages. The first one containing two large bags of red clover blossoms. This infusion is important to me during such times and I feel I could not have done half as well without it.

 *Pain again, toward the end of my first week of healing, after the dead tissue had completely gone, the pain was still very much there. It was lessened some but still constant and horrible if I moved wrong or anything touched the area. At this time I was out of all regular pain tinctures. I didn’t want to try the surgery tincture again and had none of my extreme pain tincture made up. In the second care package Dame brought over was some of her pain tincture. I had tried her tincture during the terrible pain before to no avail. However, when I tried it for this lessened but constant aching pain of after, it worked very well. It dulled and eased the pain enough to deal with and to get some sleep.


Simple Baking Soda Plaster

 ¼ c good quality baking sodaenough pure water to make a thick paste

 Apply to site and allow to dry fully. Flake away and rinse the area clean. This is wonderfully for a variety of stings and bites. Baking soda also helps arrest the necrosis of some venoms and poisons.

Baking soda & Honey plaster

 ¼ c good quality baking soda1 T local pure raw honey

Enough red clover infusion (directions below) to make a thick paste. Cover bite site completely with plaster and allow to dry fully. Flake away and rinse the area clean.

No pain tinctures worked for me on the pain but….
Pain tinctures to try, these are my own recipes and you can find many other simple recipes…

 Basic Pain & Fever tincture

In a 4 ounce jar combine
1 T white willow bark1 T feverfew whole herb1 T chamomile whole herb

Cover with vodka or whiskey and allow to tincture for 14 days in a cool dark place shaking daily.
Dose is a few drops under the tongue up to a few Tablespoons ( a shot glass)

Pain tincture #2
Add to the above 1 T St Johns Wort

#3 add 1 T Damiana

#4 add 1 T Valerian

 Use a larger jar as required. Recipe can be calculated for any size. 

Extreme Pain Tincture or Tea (high tolerance)


Extreme Pain Tincture or Tea (low tolerance) (addicting)


Surgery Tincture

Red Clover Detox Infusion

Fill a quart jar halfway with red clover (blossoms or whole herb). Cover with good clean water. Allow to sit 24 hours, this is a cold infusion. Strain and drink throughout the day a cup at a time. May be sweetened with raw honey.

 This is for gentle, simple occasional detox and cleaning. May cause diarrhea and frequent urination.

*I personally do not believe in stripping the bowels or system except in very rare cases. I believe harsh cleanses etc are bad for the body and have a later negative impact. I've known people who use these, feel and look great right after but go further down in health within months. The only way to keep the feeling and look is with frequent use, which can devastate the beneficial flora & fauna etc.  and become addicting. The body was not made to be stripped and cleaned thusly. Just as douches were found to be unnecessary and harmful in regular use, after being pushed on woman for years as being necessary. If otherwise healthy, our bodies are amazing things and work very well on their own and usually need little or no help. They certainly don’t need to be strip-mined.

1 comment:

Shell said...

Oh my goodness! I'm glad you are both on the mend. How terrifying! :(

I try to keep our homestead as chemical free as possible, but when it comes to fleas and spiders, I'd be at all out warfare. I'd kill them all. :-x