For me, summertime means spending as much time as possible outdoors. It’s a great time of year to go for long walks or hikes. However, this also means watching out for ticks, especially when going into the woods.
Ticks often carry multiple viruses and bacteria, including Lyme disease. Because they feed on blood, they transmit those diseases to whatever host they latch onto. Yuck! Always check for ticks after a hike or any other trip into nature. If you find one, remove it asap, using tweezers to pull it off you.
To help protect yourself and discourage ticks from latching onto you in the first place, I recommend using lavender and lemongrass essential oils.
Essential oils are made from herbs and contain the natural chemicals that those herbs produce to protect themselves from bugs. They are a safe, effective way to keep ticks away without exposing yourself to highly toxic man-made insecticides. You can buy them at Whole Foods, or similar retailers. I also carry them at my office.
Lavender oil is really powerful stuff. It has a number of healing properties, including being antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial. It’s also really good at calming the body—people have historically added a few drops of lavender oil to a bath in order to relieve stress. It also smells wonderful.
Lemongrass oil also smells pleasing to humans, but its scent actually repels bugs. Lemongrass oil has a number of insecticidal properties of its own, and helps kill bacteria and fungi. It can also be useful with dogs—spraying water mixed with a few drops of lemongrass oil on your dog’s coat can get rid of fleas and lice.
To create your own tick repellant, I suggest mixing several drops of lavender and lemongrass oil with some fragrance-free lotion and then applying it over your body before you go out for a hike. This will make you considerably less attractive to any ticks lurking about (although it is still a very good idea to check for them when you’re done).
I also recommend a pre-made bug repellant called TerraShield, which is made from a blend of several essential oils. No mixing required; just apply to your body before going outside. I carry it at my office, or you can order it here.