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Natural Alternative to Bug Repellent

Posted in: Conditions
By Dr. Pantea Etminan, NHD
Jun 13, 2012 - 2:10:54 PM

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It is summer time and bugs are out and about. They will show up when you are walking or outdoors--even, perhaps, indoors to bite you. They may not harm you all that much, but it is just a nuisance and bothersome, especially if you're going for a hike outdoors. What to do?

Well, the most common repellent that is utilized here in US and given safety mark by Environmental Protection Agency would be DEET. Scientist call it N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide or N, N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide. This would be in all the commercial brands sold on the market today in US. They believe that this will prevent bugs from coming towards the place it is sprayed on, including your body. The EPA states that DEET will not cause any unreasonable risk to human health.


Brief History Behind DEET

DEET was developed by U.S. army back in 1940's for their own agenda. Since 1950's DEET has found its way on the market shelves. Scientists believed that DEET performed in such way in confusing mosquitoes and interfering with their sense of smell. More recent research shows that DEET is a neurotoxin to insects and mammals alike. It attacks the central nervous system. They've done this study on rats and have shown that it influences them just that way--and we are pretty close to what would work on rats. Which would mean that it would be considered a neurotoxin for human kind as well. But still yet, this product remains on the market and is utilized in many places of crops and so forth easily without a second thought.


What to Do?

Well, we may not be able to control what they use other places but what we can control is what we utilize for ourselves and family. There are many other natural repellants that have been utilized in other cultures for years without toxic effect. Here are some examples:

  • Citronella-- from lemon grass family, could be utilized on the garden, as a candle or the essential oil placed directly on the skin to work as a repellent. It is considered to be safe.
  • Basil, Rosemary and Bay Leaf-- they are all great herbs that bugs do not care for and stay away from, great to use in between your garden for protection. Perhaps, placing some basil and rosemary on the table outside would be helpful too.

These are just a few natural ideas. Another factor would be to eat a diet rich in antioxidants--that in itself is a protection for you, even if you do get bit!


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