Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

This Sweet-Smelling Herb Can Ward Away Mosquitoes


If you hate the pungent odor of most mosquito repellents, there might be a very sweet-smelling alternative. Researchers have identified two mosquito-repelling chemicals naturally found in sweetgrass, an aromatic herb that some Native American peoples have traditionally used to ward off the pesky insects.

In one test, distilled sweetgrass oil even matched the repellent potency of DEET, the current gold standard for anti-mosquito effectiveness.

Stopping mosquito bites is about more than enjoying a barbecue in peace. It's a serious human health issue—as vectors for diseases such as malaria and yellow fever, mosquitoes kill more humans than murderers do. There are some unusual ideas for how to ward off the pests, including silencing the bacteria on your skin, but most people are still in search of a safe and effective topical repellent they can use when needed. Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) is the latest in a line of traditional, natural repellents to be examined by chemist Charles Cantrell and his colleagues at the USDA's Natural Products Utilization Research Unit at the University of Mississippi.

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