Natural citronella has gone mainstream: you can find citronella mosquito repellents everywhere. But the best natural insect repellent may be yarrow extract (Phytomed
1998;5(4):311-23). The same study that ranked yarrow number one also found citronella and eucalyptus oils to be effective and lemongrass to be 85% effective as a mosquito repellent. A study of over 4,000 natural compounds found lemongrass to be the very best (Greenhouse Management and Production
1999). A third study also found lemongrass to be extremely effective (Acta Trop
2015;142:127-30). This study also found the essential oil ylang ylang to work very well. The essential oils were put in a carrier of coconut oil, soybean oil or olive oil.
A study that looked at the Aedes aegypti
mosquito that carries dengue fever found citronella and cinnamon essential oils to be effective. The most effective essential oil against this strain of mosquito was the little known litsea essential oil (J Athropod Borne Dis
While the Aedes aegypti
mosquito carries dengue fever, it is Anopheles stephensi
that carries malaria. When a study looked at these 2 mosquitoes as well as the Culex quinquefasciatus
, whose bite can cause encephalitis, the most effective essential oils included litsea again as well as cajeput, violet and catnip (Parasitology Research
A study that put essential oils on people’s forearms under laboratory conditions found that undiluted clove essential oil provided 100% repellency against 3 species of mosquito for 2-4 hours (Phytother Res
2005;19(4):303-9), which is a very impressive result.
Another study suggests that the essential oils of turmeric and citronella are effective (J Vector Ecol
2001;26(1):76-82). One study actually suggests that the essential oil and extract of turmeric may be comparable to DEET (J Med Entomol
A recent laboratory study suggests that fatty acids from coconut oil is a stronger and longer lasting repellant than DEET and that it works against mosquitoes and ticks (Sci Rep
. 2018 Sep 19 ;8(1):14053).
Carrot seed essential oil may also be effective (J Am Mosq Control Assoc
. 2018 12;34(4):272-280). And one study found that celery extract is remarkably effective when applied to the skin (Trop Med Int Health
. 2005 Nov;10(11):1190-8) Neem oil may also be effective (J Insect Sci
. 2019 Nov 1;19(6)).
For protection from malaria, you should know about a species of the herb wormwood called Artemisia annua
, or Sweet Annie.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium
, a single cell parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. It can be deadly. According to the World Health Organization, in 2017, there were an incredible 219 million cases around the world.
is a traditional herbal treatment for malaria in Asia. In 2015, Tu Youyou won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her work in 1972 in isolating artemisinin as one of the antimalarial components of Artemisia annua
and developing it into a drug that saved the lives of millions of people. The problem was that the Plasmodium parasite began to develop resistance to the drug. The solution was to begin combining artemisinin with other antimalarial drugs into a cocktail known as Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs). But, in time, the clever little parasite began to adapt and develop resistance to that pharmaceutical treatment as well. The need became urgent for treatments that were more resilient to resistance.
has a 2,000 year history of use that is backed up by research in China and at the Walter Reed Army Research Institute in the US. Though artemisinin got all the attention, Artemisia annua
actually has more than 20 antimalarial components that work synergistically against the malaria parasite, making it a promising challenger to the drug. The herb has demonstrated a greater than 95% malaria cure rate in small studies with the important advantage that drug resistance was 3 times greater with the artemisinin drug.
A controlled unblinded study found that Artemisia annua
tea was as effective at symptom relief as quinine and effective, but not as effective, at completely curing the malaria (Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg
Now, Sweet Annie has been put to its most important test. A double-blind study compared Artemisia annua
to an African species of wormwood known, very imaginatively, as African wormwood (Artemisia afra
), and to ACT. The study included 943 children and adults with malaria. The study did not include people whose malaria was already severe. Each person was given either ACT or .33 litres of tea made from one of the two wormwoods every 8 hours for 7 days. The tea was made from 5g of dried leaves and twigs that were steeped in boiling water for 10 minutes.
After one day, the parasite count went down by 85.2% in the ACT group but by 97.7% in both of the artemisia groups. In both artemisia groups, by day 2, there was a total clearance of the parasite; some people in the ACT group still had parasites until day 14. By the second day, the malaria cure rate was 34.3% on the ACT but it was 88.8% in the African wormwood group and 96.4% in the Sweet Annie group.
By day 28, the cure rate for children was 49.5% on ACT, 91.2% on African wormwood and 100% on Sweet Annie. For adults, the cure rate was 30% on ACT, 90.7% on African wormwood and, again, a full 100% on Sweet Annie. In both wormwood groups, fever cleared in 24 hours versus 48 hours on ACT.
The two wormwoods were not only better, they were safer: 42.8% of ACT people experienced adverse events versus only 5% of the artemisia people.
This study shows that both wormwoods and, perhaps especially Artemisia annua
, or Sweet Annie, are better than and safer than ACT drug therapy. Given that the cure rate in the ACT group was so poor, it has been suggested that Artemisia annua
may be effective against ACT resistant malaria.
is safe, effective, inexpensive and easy to get (Phytomed
Goldenseal may also help, and a test tube study suggests that curcumin may inhibit the growth of malaria (Biochem Biophys Res Commun
2005;326(2):472-4). A double-blind, placebo-controlled study that combined zinc with high doses of vitamin A found that that combination significantly reduces the risk of malaria (Nutr J
If you do get malaria, then, strangely, lime juice might help. A study of children with malaria found that adding lime juice to their treatment significantly sped up the time it took to reduce the load of parasites by more than 75% and significantly increased their odds of completely getting rid of the parasites by the third day of treatment (Phytother Res
To Increase Your Sales by Educating Your Customers, Start Giving The Natural Path Newsletter to Your Customers Today!
The Natural Path is a natural health newsletter specifically designed to help Canadian health food stores increase their sales by educating their customers. The Natural Path contains no advertising and never mentions a brand name.
Contact Ted Snider at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 416.782.8211.
For comprehensive natural help with your health, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now. Linda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments. Linda is a master herbalist, acupuncturist, and solution-focused counselor with a practice in Toronto. Linda is also an artist whose paintings hang in galleries and private collections across North America. You can see some of her paintings here.