Scabies: Natural Home Remedies
Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by a tiny arachnid of the species Sarcoptes scabiei that burrows into the skin to lay eggs and feed on blood.
These little itch mites (which are so small you cannot see them without a microscope) might hitch a ride on you when you are out hiking in the bush or from any skin to skin contact with an infected person or animal, although it’s also possible to pick up these unwelcome parasites from infested bedding or furniture. Infestations often occur in institutions like schools and nursing homes.
The average infestation will be about 15 mites on a single person but it’s possible to host millions (crusted scabies). The host will react to the parasite with an allergic reaction within 2 to 6 weeks with a rash and itching. Mites are more active at night, so the itching will interrupt sleep.
Crusted, or Norwegian, scabies is caused by a hyper-response from the body to control the infestation and presents with crusting of the skin. It may look like eczema or psoriasis but needs treatment as soon as possible because it is also hyper-contagious.
If you are unwilling to use prescription medications because they all have potential side effects, there are some suggestions below for treating the infestation at home. If your efforts are unsuccessful, however, you might reconsider mainstream treatment because an unchecked infestation may have secondary complications.
A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and infection. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent nutrition plan.
FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING
- Low-histamine foods, if histamines make your itch worse:
- Fresh fish
- Fresh meats and poultry
- Gluten-free grains
- Most fresh fruits (but except as noted below)
- Most fresh vegetables (but no tomatoes, avocado or eggplant)
- Natural peanut butter
- Quality oils
FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE
- Black and green teas
- Yerba mate
- High-histamine foods or histamine-releasing foods if they make your itch worse:
- Aged cheeses
- Alcohol, especially wine, champagne and beer
- Citrus fruits
- Cured meats
- Dried fruits
- Fermented foods
- Food additives
- Processed foods of any kind
- Smoked fish
- Wheat germ
TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS
- Bitter Gourd juice
- Bush tea (lippie multiflora)
- Rosemary tea, applied topically for several minutes at a time
- Walnut tea, internally and topically
HERBS AND SPICES
- Aloe Vera
- Cat’s claw
- Cayenne pepper
Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil (coconut, almond, olive, etc.), or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Find recipes for blends on the web or create your own.
- Anise and turmeric paste, for adults/not safe for children
- Anise seed oil, topically
- Evening primrose and tincture of St. John’s Wort
- Lavender oil bath
- Neem oil and turmeric
- Peppermint leaf paste, topically
- Tamanu oil
- Tea tree
OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS
The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.
- Commercial scabies treatments like Kleen Green Naturally Enzymes
- Mustard oil, topically
Hydrated skin is softer, moister skin, less prone to itchiness. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½ to one ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.
Regular exercise keeps your immune system strong. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.
Studies show that lack of quality sleep affects the production of disease-fighting antibodies. If you wake in the morning after 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep feeling unrested, you aren’t getting enough sleep or you have an underlying health condition.
Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend, meditate. Do what works for you to stay mellow. Some of the following relaxation methods may be helpful for you:
- Art therapy
- Bach flower remedies
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Music Therapy
- Qi Gong
- Tai Chi
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO
- Bathe or shower in cool water to lessen itching.
- Epsom salt bath
- Onion paste applied to affected area for a few hours a day
- Tiger balm cream for itch relief
- Use colloidal oatmeal in your bath water.
- Use high-fat natural soaps.
- Zinc ointment
- If you’ve had scabies before, symptoms from a second infestation may appear much more quickly than the first time around.
- A wholesome, balanced diet
- Adequate hydration
- Regular exercise
- Low stress levels
- Quality sleep