Alternatively Speaking: In with a biting chance

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: How can I make my own natural mosquito repellent?

June 3, 2013 17:34

mosquito 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

This weeks column was most certainly decided upon by my most dedicated readers. We have once again reached the season of the beloved mosquito and I have been sifting my way through hundreds of letters asking me for advice on how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

According to The American Mosquito Control Association, it would be impossible to escape being bitten since there are more than 2,500 species of mosquitoes which exist throughout the world. The good news: once you read below, you will now know what to do both internally and externally to prevent a summer of itchy bites.

Q. Dear Natalie, Please can you advise which essential oils are good for repelling mosquitoes? I have a six-month-old baby and she is being bitten all over (so am I!). I want to avoid using the strong chemical mosquito repellent spray. Thank You!

A. Natural insect repellents are a wonderful alternative to use when considering the chemical ingredients used in many of the commercial products. You can either buy or create your own spray using essential oils and reduce the worry about harm to you or your baby’s health.

My favorite of all essential oils that I use every summer to ward off mosquitoes is Citronella. The oil that is distilled from the Citronella plant is highly aromatic and its properties make it impossible for mosquitoes to detect carbon dioxide which is exactly how they locate their bite. I usually suggest that citronella is used in an oil burner and you will find after a short time your home will have a fresh citrus smell for you to enjoy at the same time as keeping the mosquitoes far at bay.

Lavender oil is another excellent choice for repelling mosquitoes and has a very calming effect. I often use lavender to protect me from mosquitos in the night time because of its beautiful aroma and relaxing properties. You can rub lavender directly on your skin in pure form or diluted. Tea tree oil is a stronger oil and should be used a little more sparingly. I usually suggest packing tea tree oil when going on holiday since it is a great insect repellent but can also be applied to insect bites and as a general antiseptic.

Q. Dear Natalie, how can I make my own natural mosquito repellent?

A. If you are feeling creative and want to make your own mosquito repellent, begin by choosing your "carrier oil" which is what you will eventually mix your chosen essential oil into. I find that either almond or grape seed oil are particularly good carrier oils and sesame can also be used with the added benefit that it is a mild sunscreen. Select one or all of the essential oils mentioned above answer and blend with the carrier oil.

I recommend using between three to six drops of essential oil per teaspoon of your chosen carrier oil. Make sure you stir or shake the mixture well. You can then apply or spray the oil on all exposed parts of your body. Some people even like to spray the oil into their hair, leaving it shiny and giving it moisture as well as repelling insects from the face.

Make sure you reapply the oil if you perspire. Smear the oil on all exposed parts of your body and gently massage in. Make sure you cover yourself well, and don’t forget your feet. You can also put some on your hair. It makes it wonderfully soft, shiny and smooth, which further helps repel insects from around your face. Make sure you reapply after swimming or after perspiring heavily.

Q. Dear Natalie, are there any foods which I can eat to help prevent mosquitoes biting me? I think I must have very sweet blood because I am always being bitten.

A. There is no doubt that by changing your diet even slightly to ensure it is rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and by reducing the amount of processed and sugary foods, that this can repel mosquitoes naturally.

Increase your intake of garlic. One of nature’s most effective natural mosquito repellents. It appears that the powerful compound known as allicin which garlic releases is unbearable to mosquitoes. Since the strong smell of garlic overwhelms the mosquito's sense of smell and prevents them from finding their prey – you may want to try garlic supplements instead of eating raw garlic to ensure you do not frighten away your friends with the powerful aroma.

It's possible to find ‘slow releasing’ garlic supplements in most good health food stores. A daily dose of Vitamin B-1 also alters your scent, thereby reducing your likelihood of being attractive to mosquitoes. Many people try brewer's yeast as a mosquito repellent, since it's high in thiamine (Vitamin B1). Vitamin B-1 can also be found in foods such as black strap molasses, rice and whole grains. In her book Prescription for Nutritional Healing Phyllis A. Balch recommends taking around 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily to help prevent mosquito bites. You can find Vitamin C rich in kiwi, cooked greens, blueberries, squash, tomatoes, cranberries and citrus fruits.

This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.

The most effective way to treat everyday ailments is to make an appointment with Natalie so that a plan can be created specifically for you and your specific symptoms. There are wonderful natural remedies that can support you. Book your free consultation today:

Someone Once Said: ‘If you think you have never made a difference, share a bed with a mosquito!’

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