Oil of lemon eucalyptus is the best plant-based natural insect repellent, repelling mosquitoes, gnats and other biting insects. It is available in the form of sprays, which can be applied to skin or clothing, and lotions that are rubbed into skin.
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Clinically proven, natural insect repellent containing Citriodiol. Protects against mosquitoes and other biting insects for 10 hours. Kind to skin, child friendly, tested by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
In scientific tests, the active ingredient in oil of lemon eucalyptus, p-menthane 3,8-diol (also known as PMD, Citriodiol or Citrepel), has been shown to be highly effective for repelling insects. Thus, p-menthane 3,8-diol is registered for use as an insect repellent by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having satisfied the necessary requirements for efficacy and safety.
In the context of insect repellents, it is important to make the distinction between p-menthane 3,8-diol and oil of lemon eucalyptus. p-menthane 3,8-diol is synthesized from leaves of the Australian lemon-scented gum tree and is an EPA-registered insect repellent. Pure oil of lemon eucalyptus essential oil has not received the same testing as p-menthane 3,8-diol and therefore is not registered for use as an insect repellent by the EPA.
Peer-reviewed scientific studies have shown p-menthane 3,8-diol provides long-lasting protection against mosquito bites. According to the CDC, PMD insect repellent offers similar protection against mosquitoes to low-level DEET insect repellents. Furthermore, insect repellents based on oil of lemon eucalyptus provide longer-lasting protection than other plant-derived insect repellents.
In a study published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, Carroll and Loye (2006) discuss the performance of p-menthane 3,8-diol as an insect repellent against several species of mosquito. Based on their review of numerous research studies involving insect repellents, they conclude that not only is the CDC correct in recommending PMD as an insect repellent, but that the CDC may have underestimated the importance of PMD as an effective alternative to DEET-based repellents.
In an informative article entitled “Bug Off! Which Mosquito Repellents Work Best?”, published in Slate online magazine (2005), writer Andria Lisle describes how she and her friends offered themselves as a mosquito buffet during the Memphis summertime, in order to test the performance of a range of chemical and natural insect repellents.
The testers rated Off! Botanicals Lotion, which contains the active ingredient p-menthane 3,8-diol, as the best performing insect repellent. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Spray, also containing PMD, was the runner up. Repellents containing the active ingredients DEET and citronella also performed well, while soybean oil, IR3535, picaridin and permethrin trailed behind.
p-menthane 3,8-diol is classified as a biopesticide because it is derived from natural plant-based substances. It is not expected to cause harm to humans, animals or the environment. (Biopesticides are less toxic to the environment than conventional pesticides and degrade quickly.) According to the CDC, oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children aged under 3 years.
p-menthane 3,8-diol is found in a range of natural insect repellents, including Mosiguard, Incognito, Off! Botanicals, Lifesystems Natural Insect Repellent and Ben’s Natural Insect Repellent.