Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pine essential oil may be natural insect repellent

As the weather warms, we spend more and more time outside. Whether you have a family camping trip planned, or just plan to hang out in your backyard, mosquitoes can make outdoor living pretty uncomfortable. However, there is another reason to use insect repellent. "Human diseases caused by blood-feeding ticks and mosquitoes represent a serious threat to public health worldwide," according to the website

Agricultural Research Service scientists have discovered that a naturally-occurring compound made from pine oil seems to deter the biting of mosquitoes more effectively than the widely used synthetic chemical repellent DEET.

"Many natural-product chemicals isolated from plants and essential oils have proven to have repellent effects," reports the article "Tick and Mosquito Repellent Can Be Made Commercially From Pine Oil." "This newly-discovered repellent can be prepared inexpensively from pine oil feedstock in ton quantities for large-scale commercial applications, giving it a significant advantage over many of the other natural-product repellent chemicals."

In the meantime, however, pine Pinus sylvestris essential oil has been shown to have natural insecticide properties. The essential oil has a sweet, woody fragrance with a somewhat balsamic undertone, which sweetens as it evaporates. Used externally, the Recommended Daily Dose is 1-3 drops, or diffuse into the air.

*A skin patch test is recommended. Avoid use on sensitive or damaged skin.

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