Using Organic Essential Oils During Tick Season
Posted on 07 November 2016 by Leonie Satori
When it comes to natural remedies, organic essential oils provide an effective, natural way to prevent and treat the symptoms of ticks. These alien-like critters can wreak havoc on your health and not only have the potential to cause irritation and itchiness, but can also have systemic effects on the body. In this article we look at some natural and simple at home techniques for preventing ticks, with an emphasis on using pure organic essential oils in the home.
Obviously, prevention is better than cure, when it comes to natural tick remedies there are many that are readily available. While it may not be possible to prevent all ticks from affecting your family, these preventative measures will make it so much more difficult for ticks to latch on and affect your health.
Tick-Proof Your Yard
One of the simplest ways to prevent ticks from affecting your family and animals is to maintain areas of your yard by keeping grasses mowed and ensuring any areas around your house are not tick-havens. Ticks love a good humid environment, they like to live in shady moist areas of your garden, so keep moist leaf litter away from areas around the house.
Using Organic Essential Oils To Make Yourself Less Attractive To Ticks
Essential oils are concentrated extracts of herbs and plants, that not only smell great, but also have therapeutic benefit. Ticks are said to identify their host or next victim by both temperature and scent, so it makes sense that using organic essential oils on our clothing and on our skin will typically prevent ticks from identifying us as suitable hosts.
Many essential oils that are naturally 'repellent' for insects and bugs work on repelling ticks as well. One of the best known essential oils which seems unpleasant for a great many critters is citronella oil and it is this essential oil that forms the basis for many natural insect repellents. Currently our favourite brands for, lets call them outdoor preventative remedies (because the APVMA does not allow the usage of the term 'natural insect repellent') are Biologika Bug Another and Bug-Grrr Off Natural Protection Jungle Strength.
Other organic essential oils that can be used to ward off ticks include eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass and sandalwood and while many of these essential oils will be found in the above mentioned products, they can be useful on their own. More will be written about these organic essential oils in "Treating the Symptoms of Ticks" below.
Another way to make your 'scent' less appealing to ticks is by consuming foods from the allium family, these foods include onions and garlic and are commonly high in sulphur containing compounds. So, yes, I am encouraging you to consume garlicky foods before venturing out into your garden for the weekend, these foods also help to boost the immune system and among other things are beneficial for the respiratory tract and digestive system.
Dress For Tick Prevention
While it may not seem the most sartorial pursuit, but ensuring you have your pants tucked into your socks and most areas of warm, moist skin covered by clothing creates just one more barrier that the ticks need to work through to get to your skin. There are also suggestions that ticks are more attracted to lighter clothing and here in the Northern Rivers NSW I have been told by people who collect ticks that they lay down a piece of white fabric to attract and collect ticks on. Whether ticks are influenced by the colour of your clothing or not is questionable, but I do suggest using the above mentioned essential oils sprayed on the outer surface of clothing to ensure they really don't find anywhere to latch on.
Treating the Symptoms of Ticks
Keeping a few natural remedies on hand at home can help to alleviate the local effects of ticks and also reduce some of the more serious side effects of ticks. Many of the systemic or whole body symptoms of tick bites are related to not just the tick itself, but also the bacteria associated with ticks. These bacteria, carried by ticks can, in some instances contribute to headaches, nausea and a general sensation of feeling off balance. While we do suggest keeping an ammunition of natural remedies on hand for your family and pets, we cannot emphasise more strongly the need to seek medical guidance should you feel unsure about any insect bites or health concern.
Using Organic Essential Oils For Ticks
Topical essential oils when used after a tick bite, can help to reduce the itching and inflammation associated with ticks. Many of the essential oils used to prevent ticks from latching on can also treat the symptoms of ticks, however the outstanding favourite essential oil is lavender. Lavender essential oil takes its place at the centre of the home natural dispensary, this essential oil can be applied directly onto the skin to reduce itching. Organic lavender essential oil has a local antiseptic action and its stress reducing qualities make it ideal for the stress of a tick bite. Lavender essential oil is one of the few essential oils that is suitable for use during pregnancy, making it one of the most universally beneficial essential oils for the home.
Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil, is not only beneficial in repelling biting bugs, but also has beneficial anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is best suited for use in a spray with a water or oil base as this essential oil is quite strong and can cause irritation if used directly on the skin. Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil is an aroma synonymous with Australia, it is well known for its antibacterial properties and is beneficial for reducing inflammation. Eucalyptus oil is a great laundry additive and is an excellent way to ensure that any ticks that may have latched onto your clothing do not survive your washing machines spin cycle. Again, this essential oil, eucalyptus is quite concentrated and is best used diluted, especially when using for children and, as with Lemongrass Essential Oil, should be avoided during pregnancy. Each of these essential oils are available in our health centre in Lismore or available to purchase in our online store.
Other Natural Remedies for Ticks
Two of the best natural remedies for any kind of insect bites are ice and aloe vera. Applying ice to a tick bite can help to reduce inflammation, heat and itchiness and in a pinch can be an excellent first aid remedy when you have nothing else on hand. Aloe vera is an easy to grow herb that is beneficial for soothing any kind of skin irritation, used in combination with organic lavender essential oil, aloe is perfect for soothing the skin after a tick bite.
In Conclusion, Ticks and Essential Oils
One of the the grounding philosophies with Holistic Medicine and Naturopathy is to encourage the health of the overall organism (your body) in order to minimise the affects of ticks. What I mean by this is, by improving your overall health, digestion and immune system, your body will invariably be strong enough to fight any of the bacteria, inflammation or irritation associated with ticks. That being said, the accumulative impact of ticks, especially paralysis ticks on those with a weakened immune system or those very young or old can be far more detrimental. For some, the start of tick season, Spring and early Summer, marks a time when supporting your overall health is imperative – using good food, herbs, natural remedies and of course organic essential oils.
About the Author
Leonie is a Naturopath & Medical Herbalist with a passion for good food, healthy living and of course, herbal medicine. When she is not consulting in her Naturopathic clinic in Lismore or blogging about nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine or natural health, she is studying yoga, growing her own herbs and vegetables or quietly walking in the natural bush land in Northern Rivers NSW.
Contact our health centre in Lismore to book an appointment with Leonie in our naturopathic clinic.
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