Cacti are strange and beautiful plants that are low-maintenance as potted plants. Depending on where you live, you might even have seen them outdoor. But ever wondered what you should do if you get a sting from one?
Before thinking of applying any medication, you need to take a few basic steps. First, to remove any spines that may have attached to your skin; you may have to use tweezers. Second, wash the wound with an antibacterial soap and water. Then, check for smaller spines. A strip of duct tape can be used to remove the finer ones.
When dealing with a cactus sting, the goal is to prevent infection. This will make sure your wound heals completely and without any complications. These 7 remedies will help you do just that naturally.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera soothes more than just sunburns. Its cooling effect feels amazing on cactus stings, especially if the wound is red and
How to: Cut open a fresh leaf and scrape out the gel. If you don’t have access to the plant, you can also buy pure aloe vera gel at a health food store. Spread it on the wound with clean fingers. For extra benefits, you can add tea tree or lavender essential oil. Use 5 drops of oil for every 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel.
2. Argan Oil
Most people use argan oil to get silky smooth hair. But not many know that it can treat a cactus sting! According to a 2016 study in the journal Ostomy Wound Management, argan oil promotes wound healing. In fact, it can even treat second-degree burns.3 So imagine what it can do to a cactus prick!
How to: Like aloe, argan oil can be used by itself or as a carrier oil. Apply it with clean fingers or a cotton swab or ball.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the holy grail of natural skin care, and it’s easy to see why. Its antibacterial and anti–fungal abilities can protect your wound while promoting healing.4 It also moisturizes and softesn the skin surrounding the affected area.5
How to: Scoop out a small amount of coconut oil with a clean spoon. Rub it in between your hands until it melts. Apply it on the affected area or mix it with essential oils.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is more than just a tasty drink. It’s jam-packed with powerful substances called catechins, which can heal a cactus sting. One of its substances, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (or EGCG) promotes skin cell growth to help the
How to: Brew a strong cup of green tea, let it cool, and soak a cotton ball in the tea. Press this on your wound for a few minutes. If the skin feels like it’s on fire, freeze the green tea into ice cubes and apply it on the skin.
5. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is a popular antimicrobial often used for acne. But it can do wonders on a cactus wound as well. Tea tree speeds up the healing process while fighting bacteria, helping the skin heal faster.7
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender isn’t just a natural sleep remedy. It also heals wounds! When applied to the skin, it produces more fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen), helping the skin tissue to develop quickly and heal the wound.8 Like tea tree oil, lavender essential oil boasts antimicrobial powers. And if you’re in a lot of pain, the soothing scent will help you relax.9
How to: As with all essential oils, dilute the lavender oil
If your cactus sting is swollen, treat it with honey. This traditional wound dressing will relieve red and irritated skin, enhance your immunity, and help the body heal faster. Honey contains antibacterial properties that also reduces the risk of infection.10
How to: Spread a thin layer of honey on the sting. Wrap with gauze and leave overnight. Come morning, wash it clean with soap and water.
In the end, the best way to stay safe is to simply avoid getting the sting. Always use gloves when handling a cactus. In the wild, pay attention to your surroundings and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect your skin.
|↑1||Panahi, Y., M. Izadi, N. Sayyadi, R. Rezaee, N. Jonaidi-Jafari, F. Beiraghdar, A. Zamani, and A. Sahebkar. “Comparative trial of Aloe vera/olive oil combination cream versus phenytoin cream in the treatment of chronic wounds.” Journal of wound care 24, no. 10 (2015): 459-465.|
|↑2||Athiban, Prakash P., Bikash Jyoti Borthakur, S. Ganesan, and B. Swathika. “Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of Aloe vera and its effectiveness in decontaminating gutta percha cones.” Journal of conservative dentistry 15, no. 3 (2012): 246.|
|↑3||Avsar, U., Z. Halici, E. Akpinar, M. Yayla, U. Harun, Tarik A. Hasan, and Z. Bayraktutan. “The Effects of Argan Oil in Second-degree Burn Wound Healing in Rats.” Ostomy/wound management 62, no. 3 (2016): 26-34.|
|↑4||Sachs, M., J. Von
|↑5||Evangelista, Mara Therese Padilla, Flordeliz Abad‐Casintahan, and Lillian Lopez‐Villafuerte. “The effect of topical virgin coconut oil on SCORAD index, transepidermal water loss, and skin capacitance in mild to moderate pediatric atopic dermatitis: a randomized, double‐blind, clinical trial.” International journal of dermatology 53, no. 1 (2014): 100-108.|
|↑6||Zink, Alexander, and Claudia Traidl‐Hoffmann. “Green tea in dermatology–myths and facts.” JDDG: Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft 13, no. 8 (2015): 768-775.|
|↑7||Pazyar, Nader, Reza Yaghoobi, Nooshin Bagherani, and Afshin Kazerouni. “A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology.” International journal of dermatology 52, no. 7 (2013): 784-790.|
|↑8||Mori, Hiroko-Miyuki, Hiroshi Kawanami, Hirohisa Kawahata, and Motokuni Aoki. “Wound healing potential of lavender oil by acceleration of granulation and wound contraction through induction of TGF-β in a rat model.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 16, no. 1 (2016): 144.|
|↑9||Cavanagh, H. M. A., and J. M. Wilkinson. “Biological activities of lavender essential oil.” Phytotherapy Research 16, no. 4 (2002): 301-308.|
|↑10||Molan, Peter C., and Tanya Rhodes. “Honey: a biologic wound dressing.” (2015): 141-151.|