DEET Proven Less Effective Than All-Natural Eucalyptus Bug Repellant


As the summer months stretch out before us, there is nothing so sweet as basking outdoors in warm weather—that is until the high-pitched whine of a mosquito circling your skin makes you want to run for cover.

In a lot of areas of the U.S., mosquito bites are a big nuisance. They have been known to ruin a picnic or two and can certainly cause serious discomfort. In many areas, however, mosquitoes are feared vectors of West Nile disease and pose a threat of transmitting malarial infections and other parasitic diseases which are potentially deadly. In fact, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control nearly half the world’s population (3.4 billion people) are at risk for malaria transmission. 

Whatever the risk (discomfort or disease) we can all agree that we would all rather remain unbitten. For that we turn to bug spray. DEET in particular has been touted as the most effective repellent and is widely used worldwide. Unfortunately, covering your skin in a harsh chemical concoction of DEET to avoid bug bites is a little bit like breaking your arm to avoid breaking your leg. It’s hard to know which is the lesser of the two evils.

Research using rats show that DEET has a damaging effect on the brain cells, causing cell death and changes in behavior. As explained in an article in Quantum Health the use of DEET,

…causes neurons to die in regions of the brain that control muscle movement, learning, memory, and concentration. Rats treated with an average human dose of DEET (40 mg/kg body weight) performed far worse when challenged with physical tasks requiring muscle control, strength and coordination. These findings are consistent with reported human symptoms following DEET's use by the military in the Persian Gulf War.”

In light of this frightening information, you would think that the bug spray industry would try to avoid such a compound. Instead, DEET remains an ingredient in the majority of mainstream repellants that are available to the public for purchase. This prevalence is in due in large part to the overall consensus that it is one of the only truly effective forms of deterrence.

This assumption has recently been disproven by new research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. The study put four mosquito repellants to the test. As explained in an article in Natural News,

One was a mixture of several essential oils believed to have repellent properties. Another repellent was based in Neem essential oil, a natural plant compound. They also tested a repellent containing 15 percent of the controversial DEET chemical. The final product was a lemon eucalyptus-based repellent containing 30 percent p-menthane-diol, a natural compound. All repellents were applied at the same dose.” 

The result was that neither the essential oil mixture nor the Neem repellent provided much protection. However, when it came to the other two repellents the DEET provided 84.81 percent protection over a four hour period but the natural Eucalyptus-based mixture had the DEET beat, providing a whopping 96.89 percent protection. 

This experiment debunks the myth that DEET does the better job of warding off bugs! Sorry nasty chemicals, but Mother Nature has got you beat this time around with her all natural remedy. What wonderful news for world health just in time for summer!!!

Here is a link for a DEET-FREE Eucalyptus based bug repellant.Or if you would rather make your own all natural repellant, Wellness Mama has a great homemade bug spray recipe:

•   Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water

•   Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top

•   Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using

•   Add 30-50 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. 


Read all articles by Juniper Briggs

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