Natural Health News – Mosquitoes and other pesky insects are a part of life daily and in many parts of the world, their bites are linked to a number of serious diseases, such as malaria.
To help find new ways to fight them researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been investigating the components of the plants used in traditional herbs.
One of these home remedies is sweet grass ( Hierochloe odorata ) is a prairie grass that is native to northern climates.
A ‘sacred medicine’
Sweetgrass is considered by Native Americans to be one of the “four sacred medicines”, the other three are cedar, sage, and snuff. Native Americans have long used this plant for medicinal, decorative and even ritual purposes. What you need to know
“ Sweetgrass, native to North America and Eurasia plant, has a popular history as a medicine and insect repellent.
“ Recent research conducted by researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture have identified components in fresh natural grass that are as powerful as conventional insecticide DEET.
“ The researchers suggest folklore plant often provides the basis for new useful medicinal substances.
At a recent annual meeting of American Chemical Society researchers say the hypothesis that chemical repellents active insects should float out fresh at room temperature grass and, like oils essential lavender and other plants, could be extracted by steam distillation. This method involves passing hot steam through plant material, and then lower the temperature.
Having produced oil vapor distilled water sweetgrass researchers tested their effectiveness.
as effective as DEET
they were filled small vials with a red solution supply that mimicked human blood and the vials were covered with a thin skin-like membrane. Then, membranes with different substances were coated: the sweetgrass oil, alternative sweetgrass extracts obtained without steam distillation, the repellent standard insects N gold, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) or the solvent ethanol used as a control . The researchers observed what they did insects, counting the number of mosquitoes were for each type of Cuba “blood”.
sweet herb oil is steam distilled mosquito bites fewer, matching the power repellent DEET.
The researchers identified two chemicals in the sweet grass that seemed to be responsible for putting mosquitoes :. Coumarin, which is responsible for sweet smell of the plant, and fitol
folklore giving the reason
is coumarin present in many plants such as cinnamon, sweet clover and mullein and is an ingredient in some commercial anti-mosquito products, while the fitol, a constituent of chlorophyll, is also present in plants and they repel been reported to have activity in the scientific literature.
Other natural substances known to fight mosquitoes include citronella, which has a long history of effective use
Although this study did not dd find insects deter totally new substances in this study indicate that “we have been able to find components that are known to act repellents like insects in a folk remedy, and we now understand that there is a scientific real basis this folklore “.