The most ancient natural remedy isnt on the EPAs list, but some Asian and African cultures swear by neem as an effective bug repellent, and some studies support that, though a higher concentration is needed to match the effectiveness of DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) or other repellents. Azadirachtin, the active ingredient in neem, masks body scent and changes the taste of your skin. Other natural essential oils shown to have bug-warding abilities include oil of citronella (found most often in candles, though it is somewhat effective on the skin), rosemary, and lemon verbena.
One recent study indicated that a compound in sweet basil (eugenol) might also be as effective as DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) against ticks. To make your own natural repellent, simply add three drops of pure essential oil to a teaspoon of a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba. If you choose to go the natural route, you can also look for a bug repellent that contains many of the ingredients mentioned above as well as other natural extracts. Natural products that use herbs, such as neem, and essential oils for outdoor protection do not have just one active ingredient,rdquo; says Autumn Blum, cosmetic chemist and founder of Organix-South which makes neem products. They contain many compounds to co-create the symphony of information used by plants to ward off infestations of insects, microbes, and fungi.
One of most effective natural mosquito repellent at the time of writing is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared different synthetic chemical and herbal repellents: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent provided 120. 1 minutes (2hours) of mosquito protection, more than a repellent with a low concentration of the chemical DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide ) Off Skintastic for Kids with 4. 75% DEET provided 88. 4 minutes of protection. A study by the US Department of Agriculture compared four synthetic mosquito repellents and eight natural mosquito repellents and found that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the most effective repellent, more so than a 7% DEET repellent.
Lemon eucalyptus oil repellents, in addition to the chemicals DEET and picaridin, have been registered with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (which means that the materials have been reviewed and approved for effectiveness and human safety) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus. A June 2006 Consumer Reports article stated that after conducting their own tests, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the best non-DEET mosquito repellent. However, volunteers criticized its odor.