6 Natural Mosquito Repellents

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 oilThe 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. 




Research Links DEET Mosquito Repellents to Nerve Damage


DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide), a common ingredient in mosquito repellents,  has been linked to nerve damage.


A new study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, published  in the Journal of  Neurochemistry, found that DEET-based mosquito repellents interfere  with proper nerve signals, disrupt the hormone dopamine needed for healthy brain  function, and invoke chemical mechanisms associated with neurological disorders  and nerve degeneration.


Earlier studies have also linked DEET to brain damage.  Duke University  researchers found that the toxin is linked to brain cell damage, harmful  interactions with some medications, and behavioral changes.  The scientists  also observed brain cell death and behavioral changes in animals exposed to DEET  after frequent and prolonged use.


According to the chemical industry’s own material safety data sheets, the  toxic effects of diethyl-meta-toluamide include:  reproductive  disturbances, genetic material mutations, and central nervous system  disorders.


The effects may be worse in children since their brains and nervous systems  are in the developmental stages.  Instead of spraying yourself or your  family members with DEET-based mosquito repellents, why not give  the natural options a try?  Some have even been proven to be more  effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET.


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Magickal Goody for 4/2 – INSECT REPELLENT


2 oz. vegetable oil or vodka
1/4 tsp each citronella and eucalyptus essential oils
1/8 tsp each pennyroyal, cedar and rose geranium essential oil,

Combine ingredients and apply mixture directly to all exposed skin. Keep oil
away from eyes and mouth – take care not to rub your eyes right after applying
the repellent with you fingers