Alltogetherb: Citronella, Clove & Thyme for an Herbal Mosquito Repellent

This weeks Alltogetherb(s): Citronella, Clove & Thyme for an Herbal Mosquito Repellent

They’re baaaaaacckk! It’s summer and along with the warm days and umbrella drinks comes a pesky number of bugs, among them the mosquito. 

Mosquito bites can range from annoying to dangerous, as mosquitos around the globe carry a host of dangerous diseases including Malaria, West Nile virus, Encephalitis, Dengue fever, Parasitic diseases, and more recently, the Zika virus. 

The US Department of Agriculture shared this report, stating that Coconut Oil Compounds actually protect from mosquito bites better than DEET, which is the chemical ingredient in most over the counter mosquito repellents. 

But the best mosquito repellent comes from a combination of these coconut compounds and a few key herbs that have been repelling mosquitoes and biting bugs since bugs and plants began! 

We found research published in the US National Library of Medicine and the Malaria Journal, comparing a number of 

      Herbs tested against a range of mosquito species, 

and awarding each herb a potency rating for its ability to repel the mosquito. And the winners are:

Citronella - this citrus smelling plant from Asia has been used for centuries to repel insects. It is the most commonly used aromatic in candles and outdoor natural insect repellents. It’s easy to grow, and the fresh leaves are safe to apply directly onto your skin or clothing. This study gave Citronella a 90-100%, 12-hour repellent rate against the types of mosquitoes most commonly seen in the Western Hemisphere. 

Clove - This spice herb was the surprise in the study. Because of the unique blend of terpenes, clove repelled 100% of the mosquito species for a full 4 hours. Clove smells spicy and warm, which is a nice addition to the other citrus scents in our formula. 

Thyme - Another common garden herb winner was Thyme, with a rich blend of Thymol and Linalool, giving it a 90-100% repellent strength for 1.5 hours against a wide range of mosquito strains when applied topically. 

Many herbs were tested for effectiveness, including Rose, Neem, Eucalyptus, Lemongrass, Turmeric, and many others, but the ones we selected for our Bug Off spray were proven to be the strongest - and last the longest, against a wide range of mosquito species (without turning us Orange. Thanks Turmeric!)

 

So let’s MAKE this!

You’ll need

  • 1 clean, dry, oven-safe glass container with a lid, above to hold at least 16 oz. 
  • 6 ounces of Fractionated coconut oil and 6 ounces of MCT oil.

(I know - you just want to use regular Coconut oil. But the tests we found used these specific oils. We recommend against using regular coconut oil as the compounds are not the same and you won’t get the mosquito repellent effects.) 

  • A small, clean and sterilized spray bottle, able to hold at least 12 ounces of fluid. 
  • Citronella ½ cup of dried and crushed citronella leaves 
  • Thyme ⅓ cup of dried and crushed thyme leaves
  • Cloves ¼ cup dried, crushed cloves

Using fresh herbs will greatly increase the chances of mold growing in your oil, so if you have fresh herbs, dry them first, then proceed with the formula. 

Place the dried herbs in your glass container and spread out across the bottom. 

Pour the oil evenly over the top until the herbs are covered completely. 

Place the glass container in the oven at 115 degrees for 2 hours. Using an oven mitt, stir the contents making sure the herbs are completely covered. Return the container to the over for another 10 hours at 115 degrees. 

After the full 12 hours, remove the container and let the oil come to room temperature. Using a very fine mesh fabric bag (an oil bag), strain the oil into a clean glass container and capture the dried herbs in the bag, squeezing the oil from the herbs. Discard the herbs and transfer the oil to your spray bottle. Label and Refrigerate. Or, add a ½ teaspoon of Vitamin E oil and it will be shelf stable for 6 months. 

This spray oil is easy to use, smells wonderful, is great for your skin, and keeps mosquitos, ticks and other biting insects from even knowing you’re in the neighborhood! 

Happy Summer!

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