printable article

Originally published June 8 2010

Use Essential Oils to Prevent Mosquito Bites: Catnip, Clove, Neem and Lemon Oil

by Melanie Grimes

(NaturalNews) Essential oils such as clove, catnip and lemon oil prevent mosquito bites. These oils repel mosquitoes, along with citronella and patchouli. Commercial insect repellants contain many harmful ingredients, are irritating to the skin and the eyes, and are potentially damaging to the immune system; therefore, natural plant oils are a preferable source for insect repellants.

Ingredients in Common Insect Repellants
Common ingredients in insect repellants include Picaridin, IR3535, and N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, also known as DEET. The U.S. government invented DEET during World War II. In use commercially since 1957, there are only 50 published cases of severe side effects, but many people have experienced irritated skin and eyes. Picaridin is less irritating to eyes, as is IR3535. These ingredients were tested at 20% concentrations, but products may not contain that percentage or active ingredients.

Catnip Oil Prevents Mosquito Bites
Undiluted catnip oil can provide up to two hours of insect repellant properties when applied directly to the skin. Research in 2001 showed that catnip oil repels mosquitoes ten times better than DEET. Further research showed that depending on the species of mosquito, protection lasted for up to four hours. The active ingredient in catnip oil is called nepetalactone. It can cause skin irritations to those with sensitivities, so a patch test is recommended.

Lemon Oil Repels Insects
Lemon oil, also known as Zanthoxylum limonella, is a powerful insect repellent. Used in a 10 to 30% concentration and added to coconut oil, lemon oil showed high protection against the bites of the Aedes albopictus mosquito in research conducted in 2003.

Clove Oil as Mosquito Repellent
Clove oil has been shown to be active as a mosquito repellent; however, it can be irritating to the skin unless used in dilution. The recommended dilution is below 24%. It can be added to olive oil or coconut oil to soothe the skin.

Neem Oil
Neem oil comes from a tree with remarkable healing properties. Because of its many uses in Ayurvedic medicine, it has been called the "village pharmacy." Neem contains azadirachtins, which are known insecticides. The plant is also an antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral.

Other Mosquito Bite Prevention Tips
To prevent mosquito bites, do not drink alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are thought to attract mosquitoes because of the increased sugar content added to perspiration. Some mosquito species, including the Aedes and Ochlerotatus, are attracted to dark colors, so wearing white, green or yellow is recommended; however, the mosquito species Anopheles may prefer light colors. Eating garlic and vitamin B has been purported to prevent mosquitoes from biting, but research has not shown this to be true.

About the author

Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
Follow her blog at

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit