Lavender Oil as a Bug Repellent

Lavender bathing oil
Fresh lavender and lavender oil. (Image: Marina Lohrbach/iStock/Getty Images)

Lavender oil is one of the most popular and most used oils in the practice of aromatherapy. It is popular because it is believed to have a number of healing properties and is gentle in its actions. A number of lavender oils are available, so make sure that you know which type of lavender oil you are using. Lavender oil can be used as a bug repellent and applied in a couple of ways. Consult a qualified health professional before using lavender oil as a bug repellent.

Types of Lavender

True lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, is the most common lavender oil used in aromatherapy. Other types of lavender include spike lavender or Lavandula latifolia, lavandin, Lavandula x intermedia and lavender stoechas. According to Julia Price in “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils,” both spike lavender and lavandin oils are similar in their actions to true lavender. However, Patricia Davis, in “Aromatherapy: An A-Z,” writes that lavender stoechas oil is too toxic to be safely used in aromatherapy.

Properties

Lavender oil is believed to possess a number of therapeutic properties. Lawless writes that lavender is analgesic, insecticidal, antiseptic and calming. These particular healing properties of lavender are suitable in both preventing insect bites and soothing insect bites and stings.

Insect Repellent

According to Davis, lavender oil has been used as a bug repellent for many centuries. Lavender was used in the past to protect clothes and linens from the infestation of moths and other insects. Davis advises to use lavender oil to prevent bites from mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Lavender oil also prevents the spread of infection caused by a bug bite and controls the itching and inflammation often associated with bug bites. Valerie Ann Worwood, in “The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy,” writes that lavender oil also helps control the infestation of fleas, black fly, black beetle, flies, greenfly and white fly.

How to Use

Use lavender oil in a lotion base; carrier oil, such as sunflower oil; or a spray before applying to the skin as a bug repellent. Although lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that can be applied to the skin undiluted, it is not advisable to do so without consulting a qualified health professional. Davis advises mixing lavender oil with grapefruit or eucalyptus oil to use as a bug repellent.

Cautions

Lavender oil is, in general, a gentle, nontoxic and nonsensitizing oil. It is suitable for use with children and the elderly. It can also be used in pregnancy. Before using lavender oil as a bug repellent, however, consult a qualified health care professional, as individual circumstances may differ.

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