This is the first time a plant-based mosquito repellent has been endorsed by the CDC.
Whether you loathe mosquito bites or are concerned about illnesses such as malaria and the Zika virus, it’ll be a necessity to protect yourself from the nagging insects this spring, summer, and fall. Luckily, a natural remedy exists which is just as effective as repellents, which contain the pesticide DEET (N,N-diethyl meta-toluamide), and is endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The government organization, located in Atlanta, GA, recently approved a non-toxic, plant-based insect repellant called Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. MatterMore reports that when the oil of lemon eucalyptus was tested against mosquitos found in the United States, it provided protection similar to repellents containing DEET.
Until recently, concoctions that contain DEET were the only recommended repellents by the CDC. This is the first time the organization has endorsed a natural, plant-based alternative.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is similar in composition to menthol and can be extracted naturally from eucalyptus leaves and twigs. In addition, the oil doesn’t leave the user with an oily feel or the unpleasant smell of DEET products.
However, there are other reasons to be wary of utilizing products which contain the pesticide. When Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals’ performance of neurobehavioral tasks requiring muscle coordination, he found that the animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals.
DEET toxicity among children is a very real concern, as well. On the CDC’s website, it is noted that the pesticide may result in lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures, and convulsions, though the amount that led to this toxicity was unreported.
With a homemade repellent using lemon eucalyptus oil, however, you’ll have no reason to be concerned about insidious side effects.