Natural Mosquito Repellents for Health and Environment

Mosquito-borne diseases (such as dengue, fever, malaria, kala azar or black fever, and chikungunya) pose significant health challenges. Synthetic chemical repellents used for mosquito control are toxic to humans and animals. Researchers are actively exploring eco-friendly, non-toxic, and side-effect-free natural products to effectively control mosquito larvae, similar to chemical repellents.

The use of natural mosquito repellent plants to repel mosquitoes.

In the Americas, primary insecticides used against mosquitoes include DEET, organophosphates, and pyrethroids, known for their reduced side effects. Additionally, numerous plant extracts with eco-friendly properties have been identified and applied in mosquito control efforts. Certain natural plants contain alkaloids, phenolics, terpenoids, proteinase inhibitors, and growth regulators, which act as a defense mechanism against plant-feeding insects while remaining environmentally friendly.

Natural Mosquito Repellents

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a natural mosquito repellent. Various insect pests have been shown to be susceptible to the insecticidal properties of fresh juice, alcoholic and aqueous extracts, as well as essential oils derived from turmeric. Additionally, they have proven effective in repelling mosquitoes. [9]

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) seed extract showed higher efficacy with chloroform solvent compared to petroleum ether solvent, especially at concentrations of 0.7 and 0.8 ml. All insects treated with the extract died within 24 hours, and the mortality rate remained 100 percent after 3 days at all concentrations, irrespective of the extraction method. [10]

Papaya,  Tawa  Tawa,  Guava,  and  Neem - Studies have validated the mosquito repellent properties of Papaya, Tawa Tawa, Guava, and Neem leaves. By utilizing extracts from these plant leaves, researchers have successfully developed a safe and effective mosquito repellent cream. The repellent action of the cream was confirmed through cage tests. [1]

Citronella and peppermint oils were used in herbal mosquito repellent preparations, including vaporizers and ointments, with effective results and good vaporization rates. Absorption base ointments, preferred over water removable base ointments, provided longer-lasting effects due to the interaction between citronella and peppermint oils and the oily ingredients in the ointment bases. [2]

Elettaria cardamomum (Linn.) seed - TThe study aimed to analyze linn seed and create eco-friendly mosquito repellents. Mosquito repellency tests were conducted using a combination of ingredients, proving their effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness. The developed mosquito repellent cakes showed consistent burning ability, minimal smoke irritation, and strong repellent properties, laying the groundwork for future herbal and eco-friendly repellent development. [3]

Siam weed (Eupatorium odoratum) - Researchers assessed different concentrations of Siam weed as an insecticide for cabbage-damaging insects in Ghana. The botanical effectively controlled pests, resulting in marketable cabbage heads and reduced crop damage. The absence of diamondback moths in treatment plots during the main season could be due to natural factors like rainfall disrupting their life cycle. [14]

Citrus hystrix (kaffir lime) - Kaffir lime essential oil has skin-protective properties for up to 60 minutes, but its effectiveness decreases when diluted in alcohol. However, combining it with other essential oils like vanillin oil can significantly enhance its protective duration. Limited research has been conducted on enclosing kaffir lime for natural mosquito repellent purposes, indicating the need for further exploration to establish its effectiveness. [4]

Garlic and peppermint - The research aimed to explore the characteristics of mosquito-repellent knitted fabric made with a natural dye from peppermint leaves and garlic. The effectiveness of the fabric treated with peppermint-garlic extract in repelling mosquitoes was analyzed, showing promising results. [5]

Mint has been known as a natural insect repellent since ancient times.

Lemon  grass  powder  and  neem  powder - Lemon grass and neem powder have powerful mosquito repellent properties and can be used as effective natural and eco-friendly alternatives. Different combinations of these ingredients can be employed to create sprays, candles, creams, and other products, reducing the harmful effects of synthetic repellents on human health and the environment. Natural mosquito repellents are affordable, user-friendly, readily available, and demonstrate maximum effectiveness against mosquitoes.  [6]

Vetiveria zizanioides oil - A cream with 7.5% vetiveria zizanioides oil provided 57.01% protection against mosquito bites, and higher concentrations of the oil showed a greater level of protection. Natural repellents, such as citronella, mint, neem, basil, thyme, and lemongrass oils, have been used as alternatives to repel mosquitoes. The effectiveness of repellents can vary based on the combination of essential oils used, but the use of natural formulations as mosquito repellents has been proven effective. [7]

Neem oil (Azadirachta indica) - Under natural field conditions, neem oil formulations have been proven effective in controlling mosquito larvae in various breeding sites. With the widespread presence of neem trees in India, these formulations can be an efficient and eco-friendly larvae-killing agent, offering a promising alternative for malaria control. [8]

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) The test oils were highly effective against Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes. At 50% and 100% concentration, neem seed oil exhibited significant protective effects, while eucalyptus oil demonstrated even higher levels of protection. These protective effects lasted for 240 minutes. [11]

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) - Different plant oils were tested on the forearm to determine their repellency against A. aegypti. Ylang ylang oil mixed with coconut oil provided the longest-lasting complete repellency at 88.7 minutes, followed by mixtures of ylang ylang oil with olive oil and lemongrass oil with coconut oil, offering complete protection for 85.5 minutes. [12]

Siamese cassia - The findings demonstrate the natural bio-pesticide properties of aqueous extracts from C. siamea leaves. [13]

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) - Depending on the mosquito species, the combination of turmeric and hairy-leaved basil oils, along with 5% vanillin, effectively repelled three mosquito species for a duration of 6-8 hours in controlled cage conditions. [15]

When basil and turmeric come together, their repellent effects on mosquitoes are strengthened.

Catnip (Nepta cataria) - The study examined the repellent properties of catnip essential oil and its major components against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in an olfactometer. Applying 1% and 0.1% solutions of catnip oil and nepetalactone isomers at different concentrations significantly repelled mosquitoes, outperforming the positive control DEET. [16]

Research on plants continues to be conducted to be used as natural mosquito repellents. In the upcoming periods, the insect-repellent effects of more plants will be revealed. Remember that mosquitoes may dislike certain compounds found in plants, but they can also be attracted to certain odors. Therefore, you should not rely on plants whose mosquito-repellent properties you are unsure of when it comes to using them against mosquitoes.

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