It’s now the middle of July and depending on where you live, the mosquitos have either chilled out or are still blazing. My editor just told me that they’ve been warned that their house in Northern Michigan is overrun. So, while you are out trying to soak up the sometimes elusive Vitamin D, what are you supposed to do about the bugs (especially if you are worried about Zika or West Nile)?
Many people turn to store-bought mosquito repellant which contains DEET, a powerful chemical.
From The Washington Post:
“DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), first used by the U.S. Army, has been sold to consumers since the 1950s. It can cause allergic skin reactions, particularly at concentrations of 50 percent and above, and eye irritation. A 2013 analysis of about 4,000 DEET-related calls to poison control centers found that 450 people needed medical treatment after applying DEET; two died. Most cases of seizures, slurred speech, coma and other serious side effects have occurred in people who ingested DEET or applied it for three or more days in a row, or used products with 95 percent DEET or more.”
Yikes. So, while it’s easily available and might keep the bugs away, it’s also a toxic chemical. Luckily, research suggests that all-natural repellents can be an even more powerful alternative to DEET. And two separate studies found that lemon eucalyptus essential oil can be equally as (or even more) effective at warding off mosquitoes.
One study, published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, showed the effectiveness of three different types of eucalyptus-based repellants against the Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus species of mosquitos (two breeds that carry the deadly malaria parasite in Sub-Saharan Africa). Participants in the study put the substance on their legs and feet and found that it protected them completely from mosquito bites for 6 to 7.75 hours.
In another study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a mix of 30 percent lemon eucalyptus essential oil was tested against two other naturals repellants and DEET. The four repellants were then exposed to Anophelus darlingi. The two natural repellants, one made from the Neem tree and the other a mix of several different essential oils, were found to be ineffective at preventing mosquito bites. The DEET compound provided 85 percent protection from bites. But, the best of them all was the lemon eucalyptus oil, which offered a 97 percent protection for over 4 hours. Boom.
The Lemon Eucalyptus tree is native to North Eastern Australia and believed to work so well against mosquitoes because its main active ingredient, p-menthane-3,8-diol, or PMD, blocks mosquitoes from sensing human presence and masks signals such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
Homemade All-Natural Insect Repellant:
Make sure that you use Lemon Eucalyptus Oil and NOT a combination of lemon and eucalyptus oils! And be careful of your eyes as the oil can irritate.
- 25 Drops Lemon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- 4 Ounces of Rubbing Alcohol or Witch Hazel
- 1 Tsp. Real Vanilla Extract
- 2 Ounces of Coconut Oil (optional)
- Mix all ingredients together and store in a small, leak-proof spray bottle.
- Shake well before use
- Spray all over clothes and exposed skin (oil can stain)
- Be careful not to get in eyes
- Reapply every 4-6 hours, as needed.
Considering the alternative DEET is highly toxic, and this is just as effective (if not more so) what would you rather spray on yourself and your children? Share this information with your friends and family!
Source: Collective Evolution