It’s that time of year when you’re probably getting ready to jet off somewhere nice for your holiday. But before heading out to buy an insect or mosquito repellent containing DEET, which not only stinks to the high heavens but also has a few other nasties.
A recent study conducted at the Duke University in North Carolina, DEET can cause damage to the cells in the brain which can lead to changes in behaviour and not only that, in animals it shows brain cell death when used long term. It is also known to have some adverse reactions to many commonly prescribed medications.
Even more disturbing, it was also found that up to a whopping 15% of the DEET applied to the skin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and prolonged use can cause problems with reproduction, disorders of the central nervous system and mutations of genetic material. Pretty scary stuff.
So all in all DEET is bad news and a healthy natural alternative is certainly something to consider. Here, we have put together some natural alternatives that you could consider before you go off and enjoy your sunny holiday, you lucky thing you!
Pure citronella essential oil (not fragrance oil) is great as a natural mosquito repellent and insect repellent, and it is also commonly used in homes to rid the house of flies. But for the purposes of repelling insects, you should apply the pure essential oil to the skin.
Even more effective is catnip according a study at Iowa State University (and many other studies over the years). This particular study however showed catnip to be ten times stronger and more effective at repelling insects and mosquitos than DEET! You can buy pure essential oil of catnip and apply it to the skin to get rid of unwanted pests.
OK, so this one might actually ward off any living thing I general (just kidding!), but eating lots of fresh garlic causes the smell to seep from your pores thus deterring bugs and mosquitos from approaching.
Neem Seed Oil
A US National Research study uncovered Neem seed oil as a more effective mosquito and insect repellent than DEET. Neem seed comes from India and can be obtained from health food shops or online.
One of the pluses of using lavender oil as a natural mosquito repellent is that it actually smells nice unlike many other options. You can use essential oil but it is best if it is diluted using another oil such as coconut or sweet almond oil.
Lotus and Black Pepper
A recent study into tropical medicine uncovered lotus and black pepper as excellent natural insect repellents. Lotus is particularly effective because it not only repels insects in the first place, but ti also kills mosquito lava.
You can buy many of these natural insect repellents pre-packaged however it is much cheaper to make them yourself at home or buy generic versions for topical use.