It is generally known that mosquitoes can spread various dangerous infections like the West Nile Virus or Encephalitis. However there are some simple ways how to protect you from mosquito bites using natural materials. Here is a one of them.
According to numerous researches, there are natural repellents that can be more effective than common chemicals. For instance, the results of the latest research made by specialists from the Iowa State University Department of Entomology claim that catnip essence oil is ten times better protection from mosquitoes than DEET chemical widely used in repellents.
Regardless of DEET repellents popularity, this chemical can be dangerous for human health, especially for children. It was scientifically proved that DEET can impact the brain activity by killing cells in brain. It also can cause serious changes in behavior explained by neurological disorders that can appear after frequent DEET use during a long period of time.
The problem of finding safer way of protection from insects made scientists find answer in natural materials with less harmful side effects. And essential oils were found to be effective substitutes of chemical repellents. Catnip is one of the most useful organic matters that in right concentrations can fight mosquitoes even better than DEET-based substances.
Currently it is unknown the reason why mosquitoes are so afraid of catnip oil, but this really works. Not a long a go the use of essential catnip oil for producing natural repellents was patented by the Iowa State University Research Foundation. This means that in the near future new, efficient and safe natural repellents will appear in the market.
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own catnip and make a repellent for your own needs. If you have an area for gardening, full of sunlight and fertile soil, try to plant catnip. The Latin name of this plant is Nepeta cataria, it is a close relative to ornamental catmint. Catnip is already used for medical purposes due to its useful properties, but sometimes it is planted just like an ornamental.
Catnip has beautiful small blue flowers that are usually lost in the massive grass of green-gray color. It is very soft in touch due to hairy texture of the leaves. Catnip feels itself perfectly in sunny places with well-drained soil. It can also grow on heavy clay, but it is recommended to plant them on a mounded beds.
Catnip is planted in fall, as many other herbs. It requires very little watering: once or twice during the first year after planting, in case the summer is too hot and dry. Generally it is enough natural rainfalls to nourish catnip with water and develop strong rootage that will protect the plant from exhaustion. It is naturally strong plant that doesn’t need too much care from gardener.
Dealing with catnip, it is better to prepare some compost mixture for planning soil instead of feeding the herbs after planting. Compost and native soil mixed in 1:1 proportion is ideal for catnip. Put a layer of compost (two or three inches) on the top of bed for catnip to protect roots from exposure in winter.
As opposite to many plants, it is not recommended to feed catnip even in spring. Fertilizers can cause intensive growth that influences badly on essential oil quality in future. That is why the commercial production of essential oils is too risky, as most manufacturers overfeed soil with various fertilizers. At home try to use only very mild fertilizers to eliminate the rapid catnip growth.
You can do both spritz and infused oil as a remedies against mosquitoes. Both means effective and long-term protection totally safe for your health. I have proved this by my own experience and want to share some recipes with you. They already used in my family and I hope will help you to forget about annoying insects during warm summertime.
How to Make Catnip Spritz for Mosquitoes?
This recipe is given in simple proportions of ingredients. So you can get as much of the repellent as you need. In result you will receive
3 doses of ready-made spritz liquid.
You will need:
-2 dozes of catnip without stems
-3-4 dozes of rice vinegar
Clean the catnip with water, pound it a little using a rolling pin. Then place the material into some pot, coat it with the rice vinegar, close the pan and put in some dark place for at least 2 weeks.
Once a day you need to shake the pot. After two weeks are expired, filter the liquid to a clean pot. Keep it in refrigerator.
To use, splash the mixture on your skin. Also you can spritz it in the area around house doors and windows.
How to Make Mosquito Catnip Oil?
-2 parts of catnip leaves
-1 part of rosemary (cut in pieces)
-2 parts of any light body-care oil
Pound herbs a little using a rolling pin. Cover them with oil (you can use grape oil), close the pot and place in a dark place for 2 weeks. The following instructions are the same as for catnip spritz. The term of use is 8 months. Apply to your skin.