Beat mosquitoes with sweetgrass

Researchers reveal what Native North Americans have known forever: Sweetgrass keeps biting bugs at bay.

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the nuisance of mosquitoes. They buzz and vex, they keep us up at night and far worse, they were responsible for an estimated 627,000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2012 alone. Man versus mosquito has not been a war won easily, and conventional repellants and pesticides can prove problematic for anyone concerned about exposure to chemicals and potential toxins.

With that in mind, researchers have been looking into repellants that employ components of plants used in traditional therapies. Charles Cantrell, Ph.D., is one such scientist. “We found that in our search for new insect repellents,” he says, “folk remedies have provided good leads.”

As it turns out, native North Americans have long used fragrant sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata) to repel biting insects, especially mosquitoes. Now Cantrell and his team report that they have identified the compounds in this meadow grass, native to northern climates, that is the magic ingredient that turns these pesky pests away.

Source: Beat mosquitoes with sweetgrass

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