Mites

Mites are not uncommon in the winter and spring months.  They can come on quickly and wreak havoc, so it is important to respond quickly to treat and eradicate them when you discover them.  These natural methods have all worked to remedy both ear and leg mites.

Symptoms of Mites

Mites are not visible to the human eye and require a skin scraping to verify.  Because natural methods generally have zero to low risk of side effects, it is reasonable to treat on the assumption of mites, but know that you will need to contact a vet for a definitive diagnosis.

Symptoms can include:

  • itching
  • patchy hair loss
  • scaling of skin
  • scabbing
  • stomping feet
  • chewing on feet
  • balding tips on ears

Many of these symptoms apply to other conditions, but if you treat with the following methods, you will know quickly if your treatment is going to be effective.

Sulfur for Mites

Sulfur is hands down my favorite remedy for virtually all skin conditions.  We’ve used it for eczema, leg mites, ear mites, staph and other conditions successfully in our family and with the goats.  A simple recipe you can use is:

  • 2-3 TBSP organic yellow sulfur powder
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil

Melt the coconut oil in a double boiler and add the sulfur, stirring well to combine.  Pour into your container and allow to harden.  The sulfur will settle some; it’s okay to use all parts of the sulfur salve anyway.  You can add tea tree, lavender or lemongrass essential oils to this mixture for treating mites, about 1/2 teaspoon total essential oils.

Apply this liberally to all affected areas twice daily for several days.  You can rest, then apply again for several days if needed.  This works well on ear mites as well, just be sure you don’t get too much into the ear canal itself – small amounts are okay.

Essential Oils for Mites

Use any of the above mentioned oils at a 1%-2% dilution rate in olive oil, fractionated coconut oil or other carrier oil of your choice.  Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety1, a textbook focused on human essential oil safety, lists these maximum dermal dilution rates:

  • 0.7% lemongrass (1 drop in 1ml oil would be a 0.5% dilution rate)
  • 15% tea tree (no, that isn’t a typo)

Lavender does not have a maximum dilution rate listed, but the data suggests that 1%-2% is low enough to avoid reactions in almost every scenario.

As with the sulfur application, I would liberally apply the diluted essential oil solution 1-2x daily to all affected areas, applying for several days, taking a rest, then applying again for several days in a final application.

Herbs for Mites

I like to include myrrh gum powder in any formulation I create with sulfur and coconut oil.  Clove bud or leaf in essential oil or powder is helpful as well, keeping a maximum inclusion rate of 0.5% for the oil according to Tisserand data.

Prevention

Good nutrition is the key to prevention.  Mineral balance and adequate sulfur in particular seem to be effective forms of prevention.

References

1Essential Oil Safety second edition by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young

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