We tend to forget our social etiquette and good mannerisms when it comes to itching. It is true that while scratching the itch makes us feel relieved but it also leads to social embarrassment and social ostracism if we frequently indulge in it in public. An itch is hard to ignore especially when it is intense. Some of us tend to scratch ourselves discreetly while others are not as socially gracious. Besides, social disapproval intense itching or regular itching at one place can lead to skin abrasions leaving the skin open to infections.
The medical term for itching (due to skin infection, skin allergies or even insect bites) is termed pruritus. There can be various reasons for the itching. Anything that bothers the skin causes itch in that particular place. Scratching at the time is the only solution to the problem. But the pleasure caused by scratching also results in the “itch-scratch” cycle that becomes relentless unless the cause of the itch is treated.
In some severe cases the itching can lead to various problems like insomnia and depression. The intensity of the itch and the constant need to scratch it makes life miserable for many. Hence, it is important that the itching be treated in time.
In this article we will give you the best herbal remedies for taking care of itching. However, these remedies do not cover the itching caused by severe skin infections such as eczema and psoriasis.
Herbal Treatment for Itching
Lemon Juice for Treating Itch
The acidic nature of lemon juice is very efficient in taking care of the micro-organisms that lead to itching of the skin. The juice has enzymes that sedate the bacteria and fungi thereby reducing the itching. Squeeze some fresh lime juice and apply it on the itchy areas of the skin using clean fingers.
You can add a bit of water to the juice if you have sensitive skin that might sting on application of lemon juice. Rubbing the lemon slices directly on the skin is another good option. Let the juice dry naturally. No need to wash it off. Re-apply the juice every time you feel the need to scratch.
Cloves are actually herbs that are used as spices in cooking. The aroma and bitter taste of cloves are enough to get rid of the microscopic organisms that cause the itch. Take 300-400 grams of cloves and grind them to fine powder form. Add warm coconut oil to the powdered cloves and make a paste. Spread the paste on the affected areas of the skin and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash off using cold water. The anti-septic properties of cloves will take care of the itching as well as the inflammation and redness caused due to incessant scratching of the skin.
You can even use clove oil for treating the itch. Massage the clove oil into the infected skin. Leave the oil on the skin for 15 minutes. Wipe the oil from the skin using damp cloth. Re-apply the oil three times during the day.
Juniper Berries for Treating Itch
Treating itch using juniper berries is a very common remedy for the condition followed by the Red Indian tribes. The berries are anti-inflammatory in nature and contain some very strong chemicals. These chemicals numb the particular area thereby reducing the itching sensation.
Powdered form of juniper berries is available in many grocery stores. Mix the powder with clove oil and apply it over the infected skin. Leave on for 30 minutes and then wash off using cold water. Do this treatment twice a day for a week.
Using mint leaves is the simplest yet effective way of treating itchy skin. Fresh mint leaves are popularly used in Chinese medicine for taking care of itch. Mint is a rich source of menthol that is a mild anesthetic and also reduces inflammation of the skin. Along with menthol, mint also contains rosmarinic, a natural acid that helps treat the rashes developed as a result of scratching. Prepare mint tea by boiling six teaspoons of fresh mint leaves (or six tablespoons of dried mint leaves) in half a liter of water.
Keep the pan covered with a lid when boiling the leaves. Remove from flame after 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Strain the tea and discard the boiled leaves. Dip a clean cloth into the tea and spread the cloth over the affected area. Leave on for 2-3 minutes. Repeat the treatment four times. Use the treatment as and when required.
Basil is a rich source of eugenol that is a mild anesthetic. Prepare tea using fresh basil leaves. Keep the pan covered at all times or eugenol will escape with the steam. Add two teaspoons of dried basil leaves in half a liter of water. Cover the pan with a lid and boil the leaves at medium heat for 15 minutes.
Let the tea cool. Dip a cotton cloth in the tea and apply the cloth over the itchy skin. Leave the cloth over the skin for a couple of minutes. Repeat the procedure every time you feel the need to scratch the itch.
Aloe vera is a tried and tested remedy for treating itchy skin. The amazing healing properties of aloe vera help deal with itch, inflammation as well as redness of the skin. The herb is also excellent for treating rashes caused by scratching the skin. Strip the aloe leaf off its green covering and rub the resulting aloe gel over the itchy skin. Leave on for half an hour and then wash off using cold water. Repeat the treatment twice a day for 10 days.
Thyme for Treating Itch
Thyme is another excellent herb for treating itching of the skin. The herb is mainly used for adding aroma and flavor to non-vegetarian dishes. It is this aroma that effectively helps treat the itch. Thyme contains abundance of thymol, which is an anesthetic with anti-inflammatory properties. The anesthetic effects of thymol make the treated area numb so the person does not feel the itch.
It brings down the inflammation and redness of the skin caused by intense scratching. Prepare thyme concoction by boiling 3-4 teaspoons of dried thyme leaves in 400ml of water. Boil for 30 minutes with the pan covered. Let the treated water cool and then strain it. Apply thyme water on the infected skin using clean cloth. Do not wash off.