Before taking off to Bangladesh earlier in the season, I resolved to not use chemical-y mosquito repellent in any case, while knowing I had to be well-prepared as the mosquitoes in BD are a real pain. Therefore I set out researching to blend my own mosquito-repellent body oil. There were a number of essential oils that are said to be effective, but apparently thyme was exceptional in preventing the mozzies. I did like the smell of thyme, which is of course delicately herbaceous with a touch of sweet peppery-ness. I could imagine thyme being a good repellent against harmful vectors, as it’s one of the most classic herbs and has an authentically healing but not unpleasantly medicinal tone. This, combined with its wholesome delicious quality, smells like it would promote vigor and health in warding off bad elements.
I decided I would blend the thyme with lemongrass, an essential oil which I had intuitively predicted from before would help repel harmful insects and mosquitoes. It has an anti-evil kind of brightness, and a medicinal quality that taken one step further would become repulsive to a human nose – so was bound to help ward off less complex creatures. The two, lemongrass and thyme, together are herbaceous and citrus, warm and savoury, but fresh in its tropical lushness. It would be a wonderful combo to wear in a country like Bangladesh.
I went for a ratio of three parts thyme to one part lemongrass, for the lemongrass was as powerful as a whole summer’s day. This proportion allowed me to get a scent that was not medicinal but delicious and perfume-like (to humans), while hopefully as repellent as poison to mosquitoes. I blended perhaps 16 or 20 drops of the essential oil in around 50ml of carrier oil. I can say it smelled as lovely as teatime in a summer garden, but did it turn out effective in warding off the little devils of crazy-hot tropical countries?
Well I feel it made a positive difference. Although I still got mosquito bites, their impact was insignificant compared to what it had always normally been. The spots were very small with much less irritation; maybe this suggests that the mosquitoes were not very happy to make themselves at home to suck all the blood they would have otherwise helped themselves to.