We all know that summer is here and in Florida we did not have a winter at all. Along with hot humid temperatures come mosquitoes and other biting insects. In the past, we used to cover ourselves with a chemical call DEET to help ward off biting insects but DEET does have a lot of negative press that does scare people away from using any products with DEET on the label. DEET is used to repel biting insects by making the insects unable to smell us, this is done by applying this chemical directly to our skin. DEET does not kill the insect, it just masks our odor that draws the insect to us.
In several articles that were posted not long ago the National Pesticide Information Center stated that the CDC is recommending that the use of lemon eucalyptus oil is as effective as DEET. But first the CDC does state that you must avoid mosquito bites and that by using repellents according to the label is the best way to optimize your safety. The CDC does list repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus, DEET, picaridin and IR3535 as the most effective products to use.
What is oil of lemon eucalyptus?
This product also goes by the name p-menthane 3,8-idol or PMD. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is a plant based extract from the very tall lemon eucalyptus tree which is also called Corymbia Citriodora that grows about 164 feet tall in the tropical northeastern part of Australian. What is nice about the product besides being an all-natural product is that it provides very similar protection as DEET products.
The p-menthane 3,8-diol (PMD) oil is a synthetic version with the pesticide properties which is used instead of the toxic DEET repellents. In 2000 the EPA did register the oil of lemon eucalyptus or PMD as a bio pesticide repellent. These lotions of sprays can be applied to human skin and clothing for repelling biting insects such as mosquitoes.
Other reported benefits of lemon eucalyptus oil.
Some reports state that this oil can help with arthritis, cold sores, coughing, fever, flu, sinusitis, and poor circulation. Besides this oil helping with these conditions it is also reported that when applied to the skin it may help treating muscle spasms, toenail fungus, and other joint pain relief. When applied as a chest rub it may help with chest congestion.
The EPA has showed that PMD had no adverse effects on humans except for eye irritation. There have been some rare reports of skin irritations like with other herbal oil use. I highly suggest doing a small skin patch test first to make sure that you do not have any side effects or allergic reactions.