Living in the Ozarks is great. Opportunities to enjoy the outdoors abound everywhere. But if you spend any time in the outdoors you know there is one scourge here we can all agree we could do without. Ticks!
Where I grew up in southeast Arkansas the summers were filled with mosquitoes. Fortunately, the numbers of mosquitoes are few in our area of the Ozarks. The same can’t be said for ticks. It seems they are determined to find a way to make your time in the outdoors miserable. They attach to our clothing and then make their way to a patch of skin to embed themselves and make a meal of us.
In addition to the itching and sometimes painful whelps that can result from a tick bite, there are also several tick-borne diseases that can be transmitted to humans from the bites of ticks. Lyme disease is the most well known, but there are other diseases ticks can transmit as well.
How do we prevent ourselves from getting a tick-borne illness? The best prevention is to do our best to not get bitten in the first place. By preventing the bite from occurring you can prevent the contraction of one of these illnesses. The microbes that cause tick-borne illness are transmitted to humans when the tick penetrates the skin and begins feeding on our blood.
What if I told you there is an all natural tick repellent you can mix up at home that works as well as those commercial sprays you can buy? But instead of using harmful chemicals it contains only totally natural ingredients.
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I worked for 34 years in the healthcare field as a respiratory therapist. A few years ago I became certified in aromatherapy and the use of essential oils as natural alternatives to many of the chemical based products sold in stores. The natural chemical constituents contained in essential oils have many uses. Plants have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Essential oils are simply the naturally produced chemicals from plants that have been distilled and concentrated.
I conducted some research and looked at the essential oils believed to be the most effective at repelling ticks. From that research I found what has been an effective natural tick repellent for us as we hike or work in wooded areas where ticks are present.
Before getting to the recipe there are a few things I should mention about using essential oils as a natural tick repellent. Some people may be sensitive to the essential oils if sprayed directly on the skin. They may cause skin irritation in some people. The best way to check if this is a problem for you is to do what we call a patch test. Spray a little of the mixture on the underside of the forearm near the elbow. Wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. If not, you are most likely not sensitive, and it will not cause skin irritation.
Just to be on the safe side I recommend using the spray on the lower areas of your pants around the cuffs, and around the belt line. It can also be sprayed on shirts as well.
Ok, so now we’ll get to the recipe. You will need a small spray bottle. Use a glass bottle that is amber or blue. UV light breaks down essential oils, and they also may destroy plastic. It’s wise to spend a few dollars and get a good amber or blue glass spray bottle. The one I use is a 16 oz amber glass bottle with a trigger sprayer.
Natural Tick Repellent Recipe
Use 3 parts water to 1 part Witch Hazel for your natural tick repellent base. Fill the bottle a little over 3/4 full. You need to leave enough room for the essential oils and some headspace so you can shake it up.
If you need Witch Hazel you can get it at this link. Essential oils do not mix with water, so Witch Hazel is used as an emulsifier to help the essential oils mix with the water.
Now add 20 drops each of the following essential oils for a 16 oz bottle. Reduce the amount according to the size of your bottle. Example: For an 8 oz bottle us 10 drops each and for a 4 oz bottle use 5 drops each.
You can purchase quality essential oils at the links provided. Just click the name of each oil. With essential
Rose Geranium– This study found that one of the constituents of rose geranium oil is effective in repelling the lone star tick.
Lemongrass– Lemongrass is another essential oil that is believed to be effective in repelling ticks.
Lavender– Lavender essential oil is another essential oil that has been shown to be a natural tick repellent.
Cedarwood– Oil from Cedarwood is also an effective natural tick repellent.
Try this easy to make natural tick repellent with essential oils and let us know what you think in the comments section.
For more information about other wild medicinal plants and essential oils you can visit our list of articles.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. The health information in this article is not intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise a cure for any medical condition. Consult with your health care professional before considering any natural supplement or plant remedy for your health and wellness. We assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using manufactured or natural medications.