...And one of those ingredients is water!
It is that time of year when the mozzies are out and about. Before you reach for the commercial insect repellent though, consider a natural option. One that skips harmful ingredients – in particular DEET.
DEET is a common ingredient in conventional insect repellents designed to repel mosquitoes. However, for some people, DEET can be an eye and skin irritant, and may even cause neurological problems.
One plant native to Australia that mozzies are repelled by is lemon myrtle (I really LOVE this plant, can you tell?). Other plant sources that will see mosquitoes and other insects turning away include any of the mint family, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, cloves, cedar and catnip. The below recipe was made with some lemon myrtle from a tree I have growing in the garden, but you can use the same recipe for any of the above herbs if you happen to have them handy – they work well with a variety mixed together too.
o 2-3 cups of lemon myrtle leaves (fresh or dried)
o 1 cup boiling water
o 1 cup witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or vodka
Crush the lemon myrtle leaves a little in your hands or a mortar and pestle. Pour the boiling water over the top of the leaves in the mortar and pestle or a bowl, and grind them a little more to help release the oils.
Cover with a plate or lid – important to stop the oils evaporating – and leave until cooled. Remove the leaves and mix the water with the witch hazel or alcohol.
Pour into a spray bottle and store somewhere cool, or in the fridge. To use, spray on your skin or clothing. You may need to spray this more regularly than commercial repellent, but you can do so freely knowing it is safe for you, and little kiddies too. And personally, I think it smells much better than commercial repellent.
(RECIPE ADAPTED FROM WWW.THESLOWPOKE.COM)
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist