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Green Bug Busters

Posted on August 05, 2009 0

Green Bug Busters

Contributed by Jennifer Hochell Pressimone

In today's world, finding ways to green our earth, our communities and ourselves are vital. Having natural, green alternatives at our fingertips not only makes it simple, but it ensures that we may take action. Take pest control for example, if a greener solution for insect repellent, ant repellent or flea control was available, wouldn't you be likely to use it? Especially if it has additional health benefits, such as boosting immune function, enhancing your mood or helping release irritability?

Well, bugs may be a part of the natural greening process for the environment, but when they start attacking us or our pets, compromising our immunity and health, we need to take control. Using a natural, aromatherapy-based bug repellent, may be necessary to deter pests from biting you or your pet.

The great thing is that by using this natural repellent, you may also gain therapeutic value such as reduced anxiety and increased mental clarity, all at the same time. As we know, aromatherapy is a powerful combination of science and art. It is known to shift, alter, enhance and change our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual state. It provides a plethora of therapeutic properties such as antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and vermifuge. Using essential oils with these properties provide you with a multi-faceted, multi-therapeutic and effective product, especially when seeking bug protection.

There are several essential oils known to offer stronger bug repelling properties than others. The ones I have found to be tremendously effective in fighting these unwanted nuisances are citronella, lemongrass, thyme, geranium and lavender. I have also found additional benefit by blending these essential oils with liquid plant-based enzymes, which are known to break down protein. Most bugs have an exoskeleton made of a protein structure. These enzymes help to break down their outer shell, thus disabling them from biting you or anyone else. The enzymes in conjunction with pure essential oils make for a valuable blend that may combat lice, fleas, insects and other nagging pests that may compromise optimal body functions.

If you happen to miss a spot while applying your bug repellent and get an insect bite, lavender and frankincense essential oils are known to provide anti-itch, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Simple apply 1 drop neat to the specific area or mix in some avocado or jojoba oil for instant relief.

Bug Repelling Essential Oils

Cymbopogon nardus, is a member of the Gramineae family. This tall, perennial grass has a history of providing insect repellent properties in addition to being antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-parasitic. It is commonly employed in outdoor candles, natural bug repellents, aromatic mists, lotions and herbal teas. In addition to repellent bugs, citronella may help ease depression, reduce fever and combat colds.

Cymbopogon citratus, is a member of the Gramineae family. It is a tall, perennial grass that has historically been used to energize the mind and body, combat fatigue, combat infection and repel insects. It offers analgesic, astringent, antibacterial, antifungal and vermifuge properties. Lemongrass is commonly employed in herbal teas, aromatic mists, immune supporting blends and insect repellents.

Thymus vulgaris, is a member of the Labiatae family. It is a perennial, evergreen herb, historically used as a digestive tonic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and vermifuge. Thyme was employed along with clove and lemon during WWII to disinfect hospitals and fight against pesty invaders. Thyme has been commonly associated with cooking as it may combat internal parasites, indigestion, gas and bloating. It is a great addition to any insect repellent adding a sweet, green and herbaceous scent.

Pelargonium graveolens, is a member of the Geraniaceae family. It is a perennial shrub offering antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and vermifuge properties. Geranium essential oil, not to be confused with the plant we see on our doorstep, historically has been known to have a balancing effect on the body - physically, emotionally and mentally, as well as pH. This scent often repels bugs as soon as they come into contact with it.

Lavendula angustifolia, is a member of the Labiatae family. It is an evergreen shrub that perhaps is the most recognized, researched and used essential oil to date. Historically, it has been referred to as "the jack-of-all-trades" essential oil, providing countless therapeutic properties such as antiviral, antifungal, antifungal, analgesic, antiseptic and vermifuge. It not only helps to protect the body from pest invasions, it helps to calm irritations from those who attack us, reducing redness, inflammation, swelling and itching.

As you will note, a common denominator among most of these oils is that they belong to the Gramineae or Labiatae family and are perennial grasses or shrubs. So, if you do not have one of these listed oils in your cabinet, but you do have another that belongs in this botanical family, you may be able to substitute. Research it in an aromatherapy reference book (there are several available at www.naha.org online bookstore) and decide if it is a good choice for the blend you are creating.

You can choose to combine all of these oils in a blend or just use the ones you have on hand. Apply in a carrier to protect skin as well as hydrate and moisturize the skin. For pets, children and elderly, use a greater dilution ratio.

There are also many other ways to bust bugs, such as ants, roaches and fleas, from our home, our pets and even our plants. Peppermint, eucalyptus and clove essential oils are historically known to combat ants and other crawling critters. You can spray a mixture of these essential oils with plant-based enzymes and/or a soap concentrate like castile soap directly on their path or place a few drops of essential oil onto a cotton ball and place in the areas they may hide (of course, keeping it out of reach for children and pets).

To protect a plant from bug invasions, use a very diluted solution of water, vinegar and plant-based enzymes with 1 drop of an essential oil. Spray once daily.

Green Bug Buster Checklist: 100% pure essential oilsAvocado oil or jojoba oil, Liquid plant-based enzymes,Soap Concentrate or Castile Soap, Bandana or scarf (to spray solution for you or your pet when outside)

Bug Buster Spray 3.75 oz. Plant-based enzymes .25 oz Avocado oil 6 drops citronella 5 drops lemongrass 4 drops thyme 4 drops geranium 4 drops lavender. Combine avocado oil in the bottle with the essential oils and shake. Add in the plant-based enzymes and shake well.

Apply generous layer to skin at least 10 minutes before bug exposure. Use as needed. * for pets, because they have a more sensitive system than humans, apply a light layer over their coat once before bug exposure. An over-intoxification of the spray can cause them to be lethargic.

Information provided is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, prescribe or treat any health concerns. A professional healthcare provider should be consulted before beginning any health program.

Here's to a greener you, a greener pet and greener environment. In scents and health, Jennifer Hochell Pressimone

Jennifer Hochell Pressimone is a holistic aromatherapist and herbalist, NAHA Regional Director, author, educator and natural health consultant. She is the owner of JennScents®, Inc. and the Clermont Herb Shoppe & Day Spa in Clermont, Florida. Jennifer contributes regularly to the NAHA journal and will be a featured speaker for NAHA upcoming tele-seminar in December. She can be reached at jh@jennscents.com www.jennscents.com

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