Many of us know lightning a citronella candle helps keep mosquitos at bay on warm summer evenings, but did you know there are other aromatic plants that repel mosquitos, gnats, no-see-ums (which incidentally is the most appropriately named bug of all time) and other pesky bugs?
Peppermint, rosemary, and lavender we think of as 'grandparent herbs'. Our wise elders. These medicinal herbs can be grown in most climates and are gentle at keeping unwanted insects away during those lovely summer months when we finally get outside to soak up nature!
Mosquito repelling herbs are infused into our tonic too!
Peppermint: I recommend growing this herb in a container as opposed to planting in the ground or a garden bed as the roots will take over! Think of them like grass, their root system grows laterally and spreads rapidly. Use peppermint as a repellent by cutting or tearing the stems and leaves and smashing or rubbing the leaves all over your skin. The scent repels insects and, if you’re anything like us, you’ll add a few mint sprigs to your water or cocktail for added refreshment!
Rosemary: Grown in a bright windowsill or outdoors in most climates, rosemary is a hardy shrub with delicate, bluish purple flowers. In Sacred Elements Guidebook I mention how the first time I tasted a flower, it was a rosemary blossom. It was as though I was tasting the essence of the plant itself. Rosemary, just like peppermint, and lemon balm, can be rubbed directly on your skin as a repellent and can be placed on the grill, barbecue, or campfire as an aromatic way to keep most insects far from the picnic table or campsite.
Lavender: The grandmother herb; beautiful, wise, calming and healing. She’s also brilliant for repelling mosquitoes, deters moths, fleas and flies too. Lavender is a medicinal, hardy plant that thrives in most climates and it easily grown inside your home in a pot on a sunny window. Lavender can be applied by rubbing the leaves of a cut or broken stem directly on the skin to both soothe and repel.
You can grow this incredibly useful herb plant indoors as a small houseplant or plant outside as a small tree if you live in zone 9 or higher. The scented oil from the leaves are incredibly effective to repel mosquitoes and can be used on its own or mixed with lavender for best results.
Adding this to this list of favorites...
Basil: Not just for pizza topping or fantastic pesto, but basil is a natural way to keep flies and mosquitos away too! Grow one in your home in a bright window or under lights and during the warmer months add it to the garden around tomato plants as the perfect companion plant.
*Companion planting is a method of growing plants in proximity to one another for their unique abilities to complement and benefit each other. Corn and beans, onions and carrots, radishes and cucumbers are all great companions.
Our Sacred Leaf Tonic contains a thoughtful blend of essential oils that repel unwanted pests while attracting pollinators! In this aromatherapeutic blend you'll enjoy hints of lavender, peppermint and rosemary along with calming chamomile, fenugreek and citrus peel.
If you love a DIY project and want to mix up a batch of your own repellant formula, we highly suggest you find a high quality Neem oil as a base. Neem is an antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial oil with fatty acids and antioxidants that benefit skin in a variety of ways including promoting the healing of wounds and fighting skin infections! Yes please! Adding the tiniest amount of this incredible oil blend, in its most concentrated form, is highly beneficial as both repellent and holistic healer. Here’s a way to make your own repellent at home:
Choose any one or all of these ingredients for herb water:
Lemon Eucalyptus or Lemon Balm
Make a quick and simple repellent spray by adding 1 cup of dried leaves from the list above to 4 cups of water, boil softly for 20 minutes. Cool covered in the refrigerator for an hour. Pour 4 more cups of cool water into another container (I suggest a large mason jar) then strain the cooled herb water into your container. Add 1 teaspoon Neem oil and 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap (Dr Bronners is great for your skin), or you can use Sacred Leaf Tonic, cover and shake well. Add to a spray bottle and use it as a repellent for body, home and garden (avoid eyes and please test first for sensitivities)! Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Shake well before each use to emulsify.
*Other plants that repel mosquitos include:
Other plants that are fantastic repellents, specifically for mosquitos include: Lemon balm, catnip, marigold, lemon eucalyptus, American Beauty Berry, Pennyroyal!
Wishing you a beautiful summer.
Karina and the Sacred Elements Team