Basil as a natural remedy against mosquitoes

Surely many of us use basil in the kitchen to prepare different dishes. With an unmistakable and delicious aroma, it is a herb widely used in pasta, pizzas and aromatic oils. However, did you know that basil can also be used as a natural remedy against mosquitoes?

The natural repellent function it is one of the many attributes that this aromatic herb has and in this article we will learn how to use it at home.

Basil characteristics

Basil is native to Asia and over time its cultivation spread to all parts of the world. Currently more than 40 different species are known, of which the Ocimum basilicum or sweet basil is the best known.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant whose leaves are broad and deep green. It can barely pass half a meter in height and its foliage is what remains with all the aroma. Generally, it blooms in summer and fills with small clusters of white or lilac flowers.

It is recognized for its high content of essential oils that give it different medicinal properties. Among them we can mention its use for gastric, respiratory and urinary problems.

According to a study published in the Cuban Journal of Pharmacy, basil is used in medicine to treat the following:

  • Gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea and parasitism.
  • Respiratory pathologies such as bronchitis.
  • General dermatological problems.
  • Altitude sickness: by containing eugenol, it has anticoagulant properties that improve blood circulation.
  • Basil essential oil has antifungal properties and works against bacteria and fungi.

Basil has culinary and medicinal properties, but it is also an effective repellent.

Continue reading: Essential oils for winter conditions

Why is basil a natural remedy against mosquitoes?

To know why this grass keeps mosquitoes away, we need to know how these insects detect their prey. However tedious and painful the bites are, they can lead to more serious illnesses. In this sense, epidemics of dengue or yellow fever transmitted by Aedes aegypti.

These types of insects have thermal and chemical sensors that allow them to detect their food. His entire tiny body works as a team to locate the victim:

  • Their paws notice the difference in temperature between their target and the environment.
  • Their antennae warn of the water vapor and carbon dioxide that are present every time we breathe out. In addition, the skin releases certain substances, such as lactic acid from sweat, which also attract mosquitoes.

By using a repellent with chemical substances, what we do is attack the natural sensors of the mosquito. In this way, it loses the ability to detect its prey, so it moves aside to retrieve them. Basil has four natural substances that are repellants: estragole, citronellol, limonene and trans-nerolidol.

Find out more: Top Mosquito-Borne Diseases

How can I use basil as a natural remedy against mosquitoes?

Basil is a plant that offers us a sustainable, simple and inexpensive way to repel mosquitoes. While just by placing a plant in windows, terraces and gardens we are already reducing the presence of insectsLet's see other ways to use it.

To prepare a natural basil-based insect repellent we will need the following ingredients:

  • 120 milliliters of water.
  • Basil leaves.
  • 120 milliliters of vodka or 96ยบ alcohol.

With the leaves and water we are going to prepare a tea and strain it. We mix the remaining liquid with the vodka or alcohol and pour it into a container that has a spray. Then we can spray the plants whenever necessary.

Another alternative would be to buy a basil essential body oil. In addition to perfuming and moisturizing the skin, we would keep mosquitoes away. Likewise, it could also be obtained to aromatize the environments.

Mosquitoes can transmit serious diseases, such as dengue. That is why its control is important.

Basil as a natural remedy against mosquitoes versus synthetic products

Synthetic repellants are not always as effective as we think. For example, only those that contain DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) in a percentage of no less than 25% have been shown to be effective.

As for the natural essential oils used as repellants, we must bear in mind that they evaporate more easily. This is why the pharmacist Dr. Beatriz Badilla warns us that we have to replace it more frequently, because the time that its effect lasts is shorter.

Finally, in addition to natural remedies such as basil, we can take some extra measures to keep mosquitoes away:

  • Use mosquito netting on windows and doors and tulle in the baby's crib.
  • Check the labels of the products that we are going to use, whether synthetic or natural. The time of effectiveness, the allowed age and the type of skin for which they are suitable are indicated there.
  • Shaking the bedding before going to bed to check for mosquitoes in the bedroom.

We hope that you try these natural remedies against mosquitoes such as basil and that with these recommendations you can keep insects well away from your home and your family.

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