Q: Ack! Chiggers!

A: This is an area where I feel I can speak with great authority. Unfortunately, as a leader of plant walks in Texas, I got lots of opportunity to get feedback from people about what herbs worked for them for chiggers. I made a chart and collected data and got it down to a pretty simple protocol that has worked for everyone in my experience:

1. Soap is the best prevention. After I had this figured out, I would bring a bar of soap on plant walks and let folks soap up at least their ankles before a plant walk in the summer in Austin. It seems like it would feel weird to have dried soap on your skin later, but it doesn’t. And it totally works. Please, if you ever, ever hear that someone got chigger bites even after they had sudsed themselves up, let me know!

2. Ragweed tincture internally. I always used Ambrosia trifida. I’m not sure if I’ll hunt that down or what I’ll use in Europe, but I used ragweed a lot in Austin. After playing around with various methods, I came to prefer doing fresh A. trifida at 1:2 75% alcohol. For something screaming like chigger bites, I’d load the doses. “Loading doses” is the same principle as doing shots early and then sipping on beer the rest of the night to maintain a steady level of tipsiness. You get the levels up with high doses in quick secession, then keep the levels up with lower doses at longer intervals.

3. Chickweed infused oil externally, maybe with a little lavender essential oil. I know everyone always says not to put oil on things that are open, and sometimes chigger bites get scratched open, but water-based preparations don’t stay on long enough to give much relief. The oil makes the chickweed keep on working for a while. I make infused oils in a rather unusual way, called the Alcohol Intermediary Method. I’m not sure how well another style of infused oil would work. I just know mine worked really well.

I am thrilled if this post can relieve even a small amount of the aggravation those little fuckers create. Please let me know if you try any of these methods and they don’t work for you.

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