During class this morning at Herbstalk, a question was raised about Lyme and ticks — namely, how to avoid them! Of course, that is a far larger topic deserving of its own class involving nutrition and the immune system and parasites and the actions of spirochetes and so on. (Oh, lookie – an earlier blog post, too!) After a little discussion, attendants had asked for the recipe of the tick spray that I make, and so here it is:
1 quart filtered water
4 oz Neem oil
2 oz thyme (dry herb)
1 oz Neem leaf
1 large lemon, sliced
Essential oils: catnip, citronella, tea tree, lavender, geranium
Simmer thyme, neem leaf, and sliced lemon in covered pot for several minutes in filtered water. Turn off heat, allowing it to cool while still covered (I like to leave it overnight). Once cool, strain and add neem oil and the following essential oils:
9 drops catnip
9 drops citronella
8 drops tea tree
6 drops lavender
5 drops geranium
Spray lightly before exposure to areas with tick populations.
Tea Tree has shown toxicity (seizures) in cats, so do not use if you have cats in the house. A safe rule is to avoid use any essential oils with cats. Robert Tisserand writes “It’s true that cats are missing an enzyme (glucuronyl transferase) that humans do possess, and which is important in the metabolism of many essential oil constituents. Therefore, there is a theoretical risk of increased toxicity to cats.” Honestly, I am not a fan of using essential oils at all with pets, and this is the only time that I use essential oils with dogs, but (as long as the oils are of good quality,) I feel it’s better than coating them in neonicotinoids and other neurotoxins that we are advised to wash off immediately if they touch our own skin.
Lavender and geranium are said to have bug repelling properties, but I haven’t seen much evidence of it. Ticks hate tea tree (I have seen that) and neem, but they smell godawful (especially on top of lemon and thyme), so I add the lavender & geranium more to make the odor bearable. If they do help to repel annoying little bugs, all the better.
Now, go outside and play!