Today, let’s tackle TICKS & MOSQUITOS, the two warm weather insects that present the greatest concerns for most of us.
TICKS. I certainly don’t need to tell anyone that so far this tick season is perhaps the thickest we’ve ever seen. Lyme disease is a relatively new phenomenon as we know it. When I was a kid in the 60’s, my chums and I were rolling down hills with bare legs and feet. We never worried about a tick check at the end of the day or feared getting Lyme disease. There was no Lyme disease. Lyme disease wasn’t even identified until 1975. Today, however, the prospect of contracting Lyme disease is a very serious concern. As a healthcare practitioner I have seen many a person’s health ruined by chronic Lyme disease and its coinfections.
How can we protect ourselves and still enjoy the great outdoors? Unlike the days of my childhood, kids and adults now wear long pants, socks, and shoes outside (Ugh!). However, there are some other things we can do to help discourage ticks from loving us.
Rose Geranium essential oil. It smells great to us, but ticks hate it. You can add the essential oil to some witch hazel in a spray bottle and spray all over your clothes, shoes, and skin. For a 2% dilution, add ½-¾ tsp of the essential oil to a 4 oz bottle and fill to the top with witch hazel. For dogs, drop rose geranium essential oil around its collar, refreshing every five days or so. The above spray can also be used on dogs (but not on cats; they’re so persnickety that way, and it isn’t good for them!).
Some of you might be thinking smelling like a rose isn’t very macho, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This isn’t rose absolute essential oil but rose GERANIUM, which is not as “sweet-smelling.” As far as turning off ticks, there is nothing else that compares. At Wondrous Roots we do make an herbal insect repellent – Beck’s Bug Blast – that includes rose geranium essential oil and other oils and extracts to repel most of our local pests, such as black flies, mosquitos, ticks, deerflies, horseflies, fleas; even bedbugs! This one is perhaps more balanced in fragrance regarding masculine and feminine.
Herbs. Astragalus and echinacea possess properties that thwart the Borrelia bacteria’s efforts at altering your immune system to “let it in.” At Wondrous Roots we make a formula of those two herbs with a couple of others that also assist. It isn’t a bad idea to take a dose daily during tick season to help prevent infection should you be bitten. These can also be placed directly on the area of a bite.
MOSQUITOS. Mosquitos are not only an annoyance but another big concern due to the possible transmission of West Nile virus and eastern equine encephalitis. You know what mosquitos hate? The smell of thiamine; yes, vitamin B1! One of your best mosquito protections is taking an inexpensive supplement of thiamine a few times daily; maybe 250 mg. They smell it coming off your skin and avoid you. Try it; it works! Summertime is also a season when we love being outside with family and friends, grilling, and perhaps enjoying a few beers, etc. Alcohol depletes thiamine in the body, so it needs to be replenished. Thiamine also helps protect our livers and brains from the toxicity of alcohol, so that’s double duty! Just keep it with you and remember to take it! You can’t OD, as it is a water-soluble vitamin.
As with almost everything in life, being aware and prepared is our best offense AND defense, so get your game on, and enjoy the summer!