With rising temperatures of spring, ticks become active again and the risk of tick bite increases. The bite alone is not all, more than 1 out of ten ticks carries pathogens that can transmit dangerous diseases. Protection from ticks becomes ever more important. You can choose between natural tick repellent for humans or chemical products.
Synthetic products may contain active substances such as DEED, Picaridin, Permethrin, Fipronil, and similar. Those are pesticides or nerve agents that repel ticks and other insects quite effective, but they can, in rare cases, cause skin irritations or allergic reactions in some users. So it is no wonder that some people prefer natural tick repellent for humans to reduce the risk of unwanted side effects.
Natural Tick Repellent For Humans
There are many natural tick repellents ranging from essential oils to coconut oil, tea tree oil, black cumin oil, to amber stone necklaces, varies herbs to homeopathy… the list is endless.
But what can they do? Scientific studies on natural tick repellent for humans are rare. However, the effectiveness of coconut oil, garlic oil, black cumin oil, brewer’s yeast, and other home remedies as tick repellents is well discussed and has many followers.
Essential oils against ticks
Many homemade tick repellents are made using a carrier liquid, mixed with one or more essential oils that keep ticks away. A list of essential oils commonly used includes lavender, lemon, citronella, eucalyptus, cedarwood, sweet orange, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, juniper, grapefruit, myrrh, rosewood, and geranium.
The smell of essential oils irritates the senses of the tick, or for that matter that of many insects, making it more difficult to find its host. Some essential oils also have a damaging effect on the chitinous exoskeleton of insects.
Many essential oils are too strong in their pure form and can cause skin irritation and unpleasant reactions. So it is important to use essential oils diluted.
Mix 5 to 10 drops per 100ml base oil, such as coconut oil, almond oil, sesame or olive. The combination with coconut oil may be particularly effective as coconut oil itself repels ticks and insects.
Coconut oil against ticks
People all around the tropics traditionally use coconut oil as a natural repellent against blood-sucking insects such as mosquitos and sandflies. Coconut oil contains Lauric Acid. Many plants produce Lauric Acid to deter sap-sucking pests.
Coconut oil can be used in its pure form and be directly rubbed onto the skin. Besides repelling pests it also a good skin moisturizer.
Garlic, the smell ticks don’t like
Ticks do not like garlic. A scientific study at Lund University Malmö with 100 soldiers showed that regular consumption of garlic capsule significantly reduced the number of tick bites.
Garlic is native to Central Asia and has been used there traditionally for its health benefits. The strong smell of the plant works as a natural deterrent against plant-eating insects.
Eating fresh garlic on a regular basis may reduce the risk of a tick bite and bites from other insects.
Nigella Sativa – Black Seed Oil
Black cumin (Black Seed) does not belong to the family of caraway or cumin but belongs to the family of the buttercup. Black seed, whose botanical name is “Nigella Sativa”, is cultivated in Central Asia, India, North Africa, and Southern Europe. It has traditionally been used as a cure for allergies, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, heart diseases and considered to strengthen the immune system.
Black Seed Oil contains small concentrations of citronellol, an effective insect repellent, that is also a component in Lemongrass oil.
Citronella Oil, also know as Lemongrass Oil is obtained from Lemongrass. To produce Citronella oil, the reed-like leaves of the Lemongrass are steam distilled.
Lemongrass grows all around the tropics and has traditionally been used as a medicine and spice plant.
The fresh citrus scent is fine and refreshing to the human nose, it repels mosquitoes and other insects and is thus perfect for insect repellent mixtures. Citronella is a natural and harmless oil if it is not used excessively.
Do Natural Tick Repellents Work?
There are quite a few natural remedies that can help against ticks, but their effectiveness may vary in different users. As no scientific data exists on their benefits and how they should be applied, you have no choice but to try out which tick repellent is right for you and which one works best.