Recent studies have linked DEET-based mosquito repellents to brain and neurological damage. So how do you avoid the mosquitoes and the dangerous effects of DEET? While Mother Nature offers dozens of different options, here are some of my top natural mosquito repellents:
1. Citronella—the old standby—use only pure essential oil of citronella—not fragrance oil. Oils purchased in bulk for burning are not adequate for applying topically to your skin. For your skin it is best to get a high quality citronella essential oil from a natural food store.
2. Soy oil—The New England Journal of Medicine reported that natural repellents made of soybean oil are just as effective as DEET-containing repellents. Soy oil is inexpensive and easy to find, making it an excellent choice. Plus, it is an excellent body moisturizer. As an aside, research shows that an ingredient in soy can slow the growth of body hair when applied topically. Choose organic soy oil if possible.
3. Catnip—an Iowa State University research group showed that the essential oil found in the herb catnip is about 10 times more effective than DEET in repelling mosquitoes in the laboratory.
Discover the mosquito repellent that the US National Research Council states is more effective than DEET…
4. NEEM seed oil, or “neem oil” is extracted from a plant that grows in India. An ingredient in Neem seed oil has also been found to be more effective than DEET by researchers at the Malaria Institute in India. Both the US National Research Council and the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association have confirmed this finding.
5. Lavender essential oil smells great and is a commonly used and effective mosquito repellent.
6. Garlic—eat lots of fresh garlic—mosquitoes can’t stand the stuff.
I mix some of the essential oils into an unscented and natural moisturizer which I rub onto my skin prior to heading outdoors. There are likely some pre-made products with these ingredients at your local health food store.
Adapted with permission from World’s Healthiest News by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD. Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.