Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer Soothers TIP #2: Insect Repellent

If you have ever read the ingredients in commercial insect repellent, you may wonder how you are not on the ground next to that mosquito who's legs are in the air. It is pretty toxic. Considering the skin is the biggest organ of our bodies, we need to be aware of what we are putting on it. It is estimated that 60% of everything we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream and therefore our organs.

A few years ago at our annual family reunion, the mosquito's were having a reunion themselves. The bites were abundant,except for my little family. We used a natural repellent made with essential oils (recipes to follow) and the only bites we received were where we forgot to spray. The great thing about all natural repellent is of course, it only benefits our skin and body and causes no harm. The other thing is-it smells good! I like to put it in a 6 oz spray bottle with a spritzer top. You could even do an industrial size in a big cleaning spray bottle. This blend I use works for mosquito's, ticks and other insects as well. As a bonus, rodents don't like it either!

Happy Camping Aromatherapy Repellent
Proportions are for 6 oz.

Distilled Water
60 drops Citronella Essential Oil
60 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
20 Drops Thyme Essential Oil

Mix well.

You can also mix the essential oils in an amber glass bottle and keep it on hand to make more spray when you need it. Spray all over exposed skin, and close eyes when spraying on face.

If you do get bit by some stronger than usual pest or one sneaks under your clothes and bites you were you didn't spray (don't laugh, we have documenation of this happening!;)) than I would apply Lavender essential oil directly on the bite. A few applications for the first day to keep the sting and itch away and as needed, if there is more itch or infection on subsequent days, keep applying. If you get bit by a bee or wasp, I will reccomend my mom's age old remedy. Make a paste out of baking soda and water (I of course add essential oils to this, but it is optional), remove the stinger with a credit card, or other object that works, and apply the paste. Leave on until it starts to crack and dry and reapply. Then apply essential oils. Comfrey Plantain Salve is also a wonderful thing to have on hand for bites and stings. Comfrey is known as nature's band aid and Plantain is anti-inflammatory and was such a popular and widely used herb for centuries that Chaucer and Shakespeare reference it in their works. There you have it!

Happy camping!