This is the post that I tried to do yesterday and failed because of technology problems. And as I sit here typing I am itching something fierce! Western Michigan has a small mosquito problem right now. It's pretty bad everywhere you go. So what can you do to avoid the itch?
1. Wear light colored clothing, long pants, long sleeves, collars high, and leave as little skin available as possible.
2. Keep a smudge or smokey fire burning near you. To make a smudge tie together dried lavender stalks, dried peppermint sprigs, dried mullein and dried catnip sprigs and light on fire.
3. Crush a handful of leaves of a mosquito repelling plant (see here) and rub on your body as needed.
4. Watch what you put in or on your body. Lotions, soaps, shampoos and perfumes can attract insects. Eating sugary processed foods attract them also. Eat a wholesome real food diet rich in nutrients to keep your body chemistry from attracting interested bites. You can take vitamin B6 supplements but it would be so much better to get your B6 from real food: Bananas, potatoes, tuna, beans. Mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide you exhale so eat lots of garlic and onions too. This is a case of bad breath being great!
5. Use a natural repellent. Repellents block your pores so the mosquitoes can't sense the warmth and moisture of your body. Though DEET is the most effective repellent it is a chemical cocktail of yuck. Would you rub nuclear waste on your body?
To make a repellent take 2 cups of witch hazel, 1/2 tsp. each of citronella, lemongrass and lavender essential oils and 1Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, mix together and put in a spray bottle.
To make a rub on massage type oil take 1/2 cup base oil, (I think olive oil would work good. I would avoid coconut oil unless it is unscented.) 5 drops each of lemongrass, geranium and catnip essential oils and 10 drops of basil and eucalyptus essential oils. Mix and use. I do not recommend a spray bottle because the oil will clog the sprayer.
To make a balm take 3 Tbsp. of base oil (olive again is my choice), 1 Tbsp. of neem oil and 1Tbsp. of beeswax and heat together on a low heat. Cool slightly (but not too much for the beeswax to solidify) and add 20 drops of catnip EO (essential oil), 10 drops each of lemongrass, rosemary and thyme EO's and 5 drops of cedar EO. Pour into a container and let harden. Rub on.
For the more adventurous herbalist try Joyce A. Wardwell's repellent salve from her book, The Herbal Home Remedy Book. She uses fresh plantain, lavender, peppermint and thyme to make infused oils which she then turns into salve with the addition of beeswax and cocoa butter. (Again, I would recommend an unscented cocoa butter.) The entire process takes a couple of weeks though because the herbs need to soak in the oil. It is a plan ahead project.
Well, I'm off to make some bug spray and soak in a lavender bath with baking soda. I'll share about the bath on Monday. Here's to an itch free summer!