Jul 262008

One of the more annoying of the canyon bugs is a variety of assassin bug commonly called the cone-nosed kissing beetle. These little blood-sucking creatures are silent, and it doesn’t hurt when they bite you, at least not at first. Usually by the time you notice the bite, the bug has bitten you several times and then wandered off to find more victims.

In about ten minutes though, you’ll know you were bitten by the insane, mind consuming itc accompanied by a sense of numbness and pain that starts to spread from the bite site outwards, often affecting a large majority of the body. Not only that, it can last for days (usually about 48 hours). Allergic reactions are possible but rare, even in people sensitive to other bug bites or stings. Not so much fun. I’d discovered some time ago that using Larrea topically greatly reduced the duration of symptoms from 48 hours to more like 4 hours, much better.

But then one day I couldn’t find my Larrea after Wolf got bit. I was pulling my little wooden chest of tinctures apart in panic as the pain and itching rapidly spread from his toe to his calf. Finally, I gave up on finding the Larrea and grabbed the Peach (Prunus persica) twig/flower tincture. I knew it worked on many hyperimmune situations as well as in lots of bug bites but didn’t know how it would work. After smearing the tincture all over the bite site and giving a 1/3 of a dropper internally I waited to see if anything would happen or if the venom would continue on its merry way.

In about ten minutes I asked him how it was doing. He looked up from his work, peered down at his foot and looked rather incredulous. It had evidently receded back down just into the toes. In fifteen more minutes, it was gone except a linger sense of numbness that cleared up in about three hours. I thought maybe it was a fluke, but we’ve repeated the results a couple more times now. One application and quick resolution. Very impressive.

One day not long ago I found myself using Peach in the morning to calm my nerves, Peach in the afternoon for a venomous insect and Peach in the evening for mild altitude sickness in a pregnant guest, all with great results. A very very useful little plant.

As an aside on those bad little bugs, the most dangerous part of them is not the bite but the fact that they sometimes carry a parasite that can result in Chagas disease, an potentially deadly form of Sleeping Sickness in the Americas. To help avoid contracting the parasite, be sure to wash your hands after touching them (and keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and other mucus membranes in the meantimes) and try to catch the bug at once so it doesn’t have a chance to excrete on or near the wound it’s just inflicted upon you (you know how parasites love feces). And now that I’ve freaked you out good and proper, I’ll tell you I had rattlesnake for supper last night too.

~More lovely Peach Pics from Wikipedia until I take my own~

  7 Responses to “Peach Twig: Effective Treatment for Assassin Bug Bites”

  1. I’m mot sure if I asked you this already, or if I just meant to, but do all Prunus spp. work in a similar way? What are some differences and similarities between peach, plum, and cherry? I planted a little Chickasaw Plum (Prunus augustifolia) in my yard this spring. The fruit looks and tastes like a miniature apricot.

  2. hah! that’s a good advertisement for the canyon life my dear! Does bug oil repellant work on these critters?? I’ve a strong combo that has neem and other things in it. works pretty good for mosquitos and ticks and such.
    meh! kissing bugs! allison said to watch out for them. I’ve never seen them there before….
    snake for dinner eh?:P

  3. Vicky… well, yes and no. You can check out my recent post on Nervine Differentials to see some of the subtle differences between Peach and Cherry. Most all of the Prunus spp (and all of the Rose family for that matter) have an overall cooling, anti-inflammatory kind of effect but they have varying affinities for the different organ systems as well as differing emphasis on which actions are strongest. Maybe I’ll get around to a post on Rose family differentials one of these days.

    Darcey, that’s exactly what Wolf said LOL. But hell, it’s better than ticks with lyme disease in my way of thinking, which far more common back in the civilized East. Probably the oil would work on them is it does for ticks. We almost never see them outdoors though, they like hiding in houses and packrat nests mostly.

    Yep, rattlesnake with butter and lemon juice, one of the best wild meats ever.

  4. Oh, and I should mention there’s absolutely no evidence that the kissing bugs here have the parasite responsible for Chagas Disease, which is usually found further South and in warmer climates than here in the mountains. No one bitten (actually just Wolf and Loba in all these years) has ever shown any symptoms of Chagas and nothing has shown up in blood tests either.

  5. Cool, thanks!

  6. I’v ebeen using peach on bad bites and stings for awhile now; often combine it with yarrow (to move/disperse the blood through/away from the bite) and plantain. Works quite nicely.

    Ragweed can be added for histamine reactions (or use the tinctrue to wet some tobacco for a poultice).

    Peach sometimes does wonders for hives, too, but is best if you don’t scratch the hell out of them. Leave them along, put peach on, and let them be, and they’ll clear up quite nicely, scratch them into open wounds and they’ll itch dreadfully to spite you.

  7. You have a really wonderful blog and I have really enjoyed reading through it. The information is wonderful.

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