Does Lemon Balm Keep Mosquitoes Away? Benefits, Research, and Tips

Does Lemon Balm Keep Mosquitoes Away? Benefits, Research, and Tips

So, Does Lemon Balm Keep Mosquitoes Away?

Introduction

Mosquitoes are not only annoying but can also be carriers of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and Zika. So, it is no wonder that finding effective ways to repel these pesky insects is a priority for many people. One natural remedy that has gained popularity in recent years is lemon balm. But does lemon balm really keep mosquitoes away? Let’s find out.

The Benefits of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is a herb from the mint family that is native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. It has a pleasant lemon scent, which is the basis of its name. Lemon balm has been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Relieving stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep
  • Promoting digestion
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Boosting cognitive function

But recently, lemon balm has also been touted as a natural mosquito repellent. The strong smell of lemon balm is believed to mask human scent, making it harder for mosquitoes to locate us. However, while there is anecdotal evidence supporting the use of lemon balm as a mosquito repellent, scientific studies are limited.

The Research on Lemon Balm as a Mosquito Repellent

A study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that topical application of a lemon balm essential oil-based repellent provided protection against mosquito bites for up to 2 hours. However, the effectiveness varied depending on the species of mosquito. Another study published in the Journal of Insect Science showed that lemon balm oil had a repellent effect on certain mosquito species, but again, the protection was limited to a few hours.

While these studies suggest that lemon balm may have some repellent properties, it is important to note that the effectiveness of lemon balm as a mosquito repellent may vary depending on factors such as concentration, application method, and individual body chemistry. Some people may find lemon balm to be a highly effective repellent, while others may not experience the same level of protection.

Using Lemon Balm as a Mosquito Repellent

If you decide to give lemon balm a try as a mosquito repellent, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Choose the right form: Lemon balm is available in different forms, including essential oil, spray, and lotion. Choose the form that is most convenient for you.
  2. Apply it properly: When applying lemon balm as a mosquito repellent, make sure to cover exposed skin thoroughly. Pay special attention to ankles, wrists, and neck, as these are common entry points for mosquitoes.
  3. Reapply as needed: Lemon balm-based repellents may need to be reapplied more frequently compared to chemical-based repellents. Follow the instructions on the product packaging for guidance on reapplication.
  4. Combine with other repellents: For maximum protection, consider combining lemon balm with other mosquito repellents such as DEET or picaridin. This can create a more effective barrier against mosquitoes.

Other Natural Ways to Repel Mosquitoes

If you are looking for natural alternatives to lemon balm, there are several other options you can consider:

  • Citronella: Citronella oil is a well-known natural mosquito repellent. You can use citronella candles or apply citronella oil to your skin or clothing.
  • Neem oil: Neem oil is derived from the neem tree and has insect-repelling properties. Mix neem oil with a carrier oil and apply it to your skin.
  • Lavender: Lavender has a pleasant scent that mosquitoes dislike. Plant lavender in your garden or use lavender essential oil to repel mosquitoes.
  • Garlic: Consuming garlic may actually help repel mosquitoes. The sulfur compounds in garlic are released through the pores, creating an odor that mosquitoes find unpleasant.

Conclusion

While there is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of lemon balm as a mosquito repellent, anecdotal evidence suggests that it may provide some level of protection against mosquito bites. If you decide to use lemon balm, make sure to choose the right form and apply it properly. Remember, lemon balm may not work the same for everyone, so it’s always a good idea to have other mosquito repellent options on hand. Stay safe and enjoy your mosquito-free outdoor activities!

My 2 Cents

As an outdoor enthusiast, I’ve tried many different natural mosquito repellents, including lemon balm. While lemon balm did provide some protection, I found that it was not as effective as some other options. However, everyone’s body chemistry is different, so it’s worth giving lemon balm a try to see if it works for you. In my experience, combining lemon balm with other natural repellents like citronella or lavender can create a more potent repellent. Remember to always follow the instructions on the product packaging and reapply as needed. Stay mosquito-free and enjoy the great outdoors!