Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mosquito Bite Home Remedy

It's been raining off and on pretty heavily here the last couple of weeks, the water filling up every available depression. Wandering about the grounds of a temple in Imabari this week, I came across some little striped critters floating to the top, gulping air, and swimming back down inside what appeared to be a pedestal for a Buddha statue.
 (You have to squint to see them.)

Charmed by their swimming agility, I reported my find to Echosquirrel who informed me I had been watching mosquito larvae, not tiger shrimp.

Their charm was short-lived, however. Today, feeling a bit useless after an odd series of meetings in which I impersonated a flower, I decided to hike up behind the temple around back. After a short staring contest with an extremely long and graceful snake, and a quick peek at my secret wild boar wallow, I proceeded to enter a force field of aggressively pesky and swarming mosquitoes. By the end of my nature walk, the insides of my arms were covered with welts.

Now there is a local folk remedy for bug bites and bee stings and whatnot that I learned from this handy Foxfire-like magazine I picked up a couple of months ago in out local bookstore.

It's title is "Taking Lesson from the Farm Family in the Art of Living: Don't Buy, Don't Throw Away, Do It Yourself." Inside it's chock full of goodies, from washing with bamboo charcoal you make yourself, to implementing your own irrigation system, to building a greenhouse.

It's also nicely peppered with manga-like illustrations as well as pictures — a big help for this extremely slow reader of Japanese.

The bug bite remedy utilizes the leaves from the biwa (locquat) tree. And while we just happen to have three of those right in front of our apartment which are bearing an amazing amount of delicious fruit at the moment,
the remedy calls specifically for old leaves harvested between November and February.
I guess I'll have to wait until the winter to harvest enough leaves. Anyway, here's the instructions if you just happen to have mosquitoes and a biwa tree in your backyard.
The bottle in ④ is shōchū, a pretty potent Japanese liquer. I'm guessing the remedy works by getting you high off the vapors.


  1. Ooo, let's make some bamboo charcoal - just read an article about all of its purifying uses.

  2. All right. I'll have to read up on it.