Essential Oils Great Alternative to Synthetic Chemical Insect Repellents: Citronella, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Lemongrass


gardeningSummer is here! That means, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy some relaxation and sun time with friends and family. For many of us, though, summer fun can come at a price (so to speak!). Bug bites! Ouch. Ick. Yuck!

If you’re swarmed by cookout invites and gardening have-tos, don’t fear your time outdoors … with a little pre-planning, you can protect your skin and fun-time from potential discomfort caused by bug bites.

This summer, make aromatherapy part of your outdoor fun. These essential oils are attributed with natural insect repellent properties and create great atmosphere when diffused into the air. You also can turn skin protection into a fun activity and get your friends and family involved by creating essential oil blends with base oils*. Plus, essential oils are a natural alternative to synthetic chemicals, which further helps protect environmental and personal health.[1]

Citronella Cymbopogon nardus
Citronella essential oil is well know for its mosquito repellent properties and is used in many products, as well as in soap making and natural cleaning products. Citronella is generally considered a top note and has a medium-strong fragrance.

Peppermint Mentha piperita var. vulgaris Peppermint essential oil releases a very fresh, invigorating aroma when diffused into the air and can be very refreshing at outdoor events. Like citronella, peppermint is effective for keeping insects at bay and it blends well with other essential oils, such as eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary. [2]

Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globulus
Eucalyptus essential oil is considered a top note and has a high aroma intensity described as fresh, penetrating, and woody. Like peppermint, it blends wells with eucalyptus, lavender, and rosemary. Note, it is not recommended to use eucalyptus on the skin undiluted as it can cause stinging. To use on the skin, blend with a base oil like olive.

Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus
Lemongrass essential oil has a very refreshing aroma known for its uplifting, energizing properties … perfect for outdoor events! It also is thought to support “clear thinking” and good concentration.[3]

For more information about aromatherapy, diffusion, blending, and making your own aromatic sprays, download our free lecture What Is Aromatherapy? from the Apothecary Shoppe College Store website here:

Share your aromatherapy insights, tips, and custom blends with our natural products discussion on Facebook. Download new recipes and comment here:

[1] Nerio LS, Olivero-Verbel J, Stashenko E.Repellent activity of essential oils: a review. Bioresour Technol. 2010 Jan;101(1):372-8. Epub 2009 Sep 2:
[2]Samarasekera R, Weerasinghe IS, Hemalal KP.Insecticidal activity of menthol derivatives against mosquitoes. Pest Manag Sci. 2008 Mar;64(3):290-5:
[3] Qualls WA, Xue RD. Field evaluation of three botanical repellents against Psorophora ferox, Aedes atlanticus, and Aedes mitchellae. J Am Mosq Control Assoc. 2009 Sep;25(3):379-81:

*Note, it is always best to consult with a certified aromatherapist about which essential oils are best suited for your purposes. It is also recommended to perform a skin patch test before applying essential oils to test for possible sensitivities. This article is for informational purposes only; it is not intended to treat, diagnose, prescribe, or cure.

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