In the eye-opening study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom, four mosquito repellents were put to the test. 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.
Both the Neem repellent and the compound essential oil mixture did not provide significant protection from the Anopheles mosquitoes. DEET, however, gave 84.81 percent protection in a four-hour period. In the same amount of time, the eucalyptus-based repellent provided 96.89 percent protection. This study debunks the theory that chemicals like DEET are more effective and necessary to stop mosquito-transmitted disease. Safer repellents containing lemon eucalyptus oil can be used effectively in place of DEET.
In another study, researchers found similar results. Lemon eucalyptus essential oil was just as effective as DEET in repelling Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles Funestus mosquitoes for at least six hours.
These studies prove that botanical mosquito repellents can be used with confidence. They can also be made right at home using ingredients as simple as lemon eucalyptus essential oil mixed in a medium like witch hazel and a botanical carrier oil like castor, olive, or jojoba.