Let's face it: as carriers of infectious diseases like malaria, dengue, elephatiasis, west nile virus and yellow fever, mosquitoes are a complete menace to society!
For the past 70 years, Americans have reached for products with chemicals like DEET to repel mosquitoes. As evidence of toxicity issues mount, we are questioning the use of such chemicals and search for ways to repel mosquitoes more naturally.
Lemon Scented Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Can Repel Mosquitoes.
Lemon Eucalyptus is actually a tree, Eucalyptus citriodora, native to Southeastern Australia. It is an evergreen, 75-120 feet tall, and is suited to zones 9-11. It can withstand mild frost, is drought tolerant, and grows quite rapidly. It has been grown as a perennial in Texas and other parts of the South, and as an annual shrub in places like Missouri.
Nicknames include Lemon-Scented Eucalyptus, Lemon Gum, and Blue Spotted Gum. It has long-narrow leaves instead of round leaves like the traditional eucalyptus.
Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a plant-based repellent oil made from the leaves. The active ingredient is p-menthane 3, 8-diol (PMD). It not only repels mosquitoes, but has been shown to have both antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. Interestingly enough, the essential oil contains 80% citronellal.
The CDC actually confirms it is as effective as DEET and the EPA has approved it for individual use. It has been found to provide protection similar to repellents with low concentrations at the dreaded toxic D-word.
A very popular topical ointment for coughs contains lemon eucalyptus, which may explain why some hunters have found it useful to repel mosquitoes. But since it also contains petrolatum, which comes from crude oil, it may be "naturally" addressing the problem, but one can hardly call that an organic solution.
Lemon Eucalyptus spray is manufactured for applying to the skin, but should never be injested. WebMD suggests it may be effective against preventing ticks from digging in as well. Naturally, you can bet I'll be trying this one out in the spring!
Take a look at the magnificent tree to the right --- what a specimen!
If you live in zones 9-11 and have the space, it would make a really pretty, fast growing shade tree --- and sweet smelling at that!
Click the picture to find the seeds on Amazon.