Mosquitoes are, alas, the unwelcome companions of summer, night and day. Are there any natural remedies, without side effects, that can help chase away these annoying insects? Certainly, some essential oils act as mosquito repellents, as emerges from various scientific researches. We can cite, for example, the work of a few years ago published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease by an Iranian team (Sritabutra et al, Asian Pac J Trop Dis., 2013) and the review that appeared in the Malaria Journal, again thanks to an Iranian team (Asadollahi et al, Malar J, 2019).
The danger of mosquitoes
Due to climate changes that expand the natural habitat of mosquitoes and less effective insecticides, the problem of these small insects is constantly growing. However, mosquitoes are not only annoying, they can cause health problems. In fact, mosquito bites can cause a local or systemic allergic reaction, such as hives, but it can also act as a vector for viruses, bacteria and worms. Among the diseases brought by mosquitoes we remember malaria, Zika, dengue fever, chikungunya and filariasis, just to name a few. So what to do to keep mosquitoes at bay in a natural way? Help comes from some essential oils.
Against the tiger mosquito here are the essential oils that can help
The first study we are talking about today tested the ability of some essential oils to keep mosquitoes at bay. A cuff was applied to the volunteers on the left arm which left uncovered squares of skin. On these areas of uncovered skin, scientists have applied different types of essential oils, always diluted in extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Then, the volunteers inserted the arm into the mosquito cages, containing tiger mosquitoes and other mosquitoes of the type Culex quinquefasciatus, or southern house mosquito, a type of mosquito resistant to insecticides, to evaluate the repellent action. It emerged that the best essential oils with repellent action were the essential oils of clove, lemongrass and citronella, the latter especially if diluted in coconut oil, which maximized its action and prolonged its duration.
Other essential oils with repellent action
Other essential oils have been shown to be useful in chasing away the mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. It has been observed that 1 ml, about 20 drops, of undiluted peppermint essential oil is able to drive away 100% of Anopheles mosquitoes for up to 11 hours! In case of dilution to 20%, the protection offered by peppermint oil drops to 57% for a maximum of 6 hours. Another essential oil useful against the genus Anopheles is that of cinnamon, which, even if diluted at 20%, has shown a repellent action against 100% of mosquitoes, as well as the essential oils of thyme and rosemary.
Here are some ideas to keep mosquitoes at bay in a natural way, without side effects or without making the air in your home or offices unbreathable. Essential oils can be poured into an essential oil burner and diffused into the environment, or applied to the skin, alone or mixed together. In the case of topical applications, it is always better to use essential oils in dilution, added for example to oils such as jojoba or coconut, which is really excellent, as we have seen, at prolonging the action of the essences. However, if you have never applied essential oils to the skin, before doing it all over the body, the advice is to do a test on a small portion of the skin to check that there are no allergies.