Can oils in St. Jude’s Miracle oil repel mosquitoes?

My wife posted a comment on the SJMO facebook page regarding mosquitoes.  About a year ago, each time we would take the dogs out, we would get bit.  About a year ago, I rubbed my oil on my neck and leftover oil I rubbed on my arms and one leg.  I took the dogs out, and came back with one leg bitten by mosquitoes!  I was perplexed why it was only one leg, until I came to the conclusion that it was related to the oil.  To research further, I went to PubMed and there it is!  Research shows 38 oils are mosquito repellents!  The top one is Clove oil, which we have in our product. (1)

I wanted to dig in  a little more, and found more pubmed (ncbi) studies that has more discussion on oils with mosquitoes.  Again we find three out of five oils used in this anti repellent clinical are oils we use in our product (geranium, clove, peppermint, the other two used in this trial were cedarwood and thyme) (2).

Mosquito repellent inventions show 1/3 are using essential oils.  In this pubmed article, the main oils used for inventions were: Camphor [Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl], cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume), clove [Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry], geranium (Pelargonium graveolens LʼHér.), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.), lemon [Citrus × limon (L.) Osbeck], lemongrass [Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf] and peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.)  Here again it shows a consistency with the oils in our product for the repellent affect.  Half of the oils used are Clove, Lavender, Peppermint and Geranium(3).

To show a more direct effect on our oils, peppermint essential oil is proved to be efficient larvicide (4).

Eucalyptus, geranium, and lavender together without any other oils in this study are a very effective mosquito repellent(5).

Frankincense(6) and Myrrh(7) are lethal to larvae of mosquitos.   Perhaps a diluted SJMO with water or oil to rub or spray may repel mosquitos!  We would love to do more studies on mosquito bites and our oil.  In the picture section of this website, it does show how the SJMO reduces mosquito bites within a short time.


1. Phytother Res. 2005 Apr;19(4):303-9.

Comparative repellency of 38 essential oils against mosquito bites.

Trongtokit Y, Rongsriyam Y, Komalamisra N, Apiwathnasorn C.


Department of Medical Entomology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.


The mosquito repellent activity of 38 essential oils from plants at three concentrations was screened against the mosquito Aedes aegypti under laboratory conditions using human subjects. On a volunteer’s forearm, 0.1 mL of oil was applied per 30 cm2 of exposed skin. When the tested oils were applied at a 10% or 50% concentration, none of them prevented mosquito bites for as long as 2 h, but the undiluted oils of Cymbopogon nardus (citronella), Pogostemon cablin (patchuli), Syzygium aromaticum (clove) and Zanthoxylum limonella (Thai name: makaen) were the most effective and provided 2 h of complete repellency. From these initial results, three concentrations (10%, 50% and undiluted) of citronella, patchouli, clove and makaen were selected for repellency tests against Culex quinquefasciatus and Anopheles dirus. As expected, the undiluted oil showed the highest protection in each case. Clove oil gave the longest duration of 100% repellency (2-4 h) against all three species of mosquito

2. J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):625-9.

Repellency of essential oils to mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae).

Barnard DR.


Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville, FL 32604, USA.


The repellency of different concentrations (5, 10, 25, 50, 75, and 100%) and combinations of 5 essential oils (Bourbon geranium, cedarwood, clove, peppermint, and thyme) to Aedes aegypti (L.) and Anopheles albimanus Wiedemann when applied to human skin was determined in laboratory tests. Cedarwood oil failed to repel mosquitoes and only high concentrations of peppermint oil repelled Ae. aegypti. None of the oils tested prevented mosquito bite when used at the 5 or 10% concentration. Thyme and clove oils were the most effective mosquito repellents and provided 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 h of protection, depending on oil concentration. Clove oil (50%) combined with geranium oil (50%) or with thyme oil (50%) prevented biting by An. albimanus for 1 1/4 to 2 1/2 h. The potential for using essential oils as topical mosquito repellents may be limited by user acceptability; clove, thyme, and peppermint oils can be irritating to the skin, whereas both human subjects in this study judged the odor of clove and thyme oils unacceptable at concentrations > or = 25%.

3. Planta Med. 2011 Apr;77(6):598-617. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1270723. Epub  2011 Feb 15.

Patent literature on mosquito repellent inventions which contain plant essential oils–a review.

Pohlit AM, Lopes NP, Gama RA, Tadei WP, Neto VF.


Natural Products Department, National Institute for Amazon Research, Manaus, Brazil.


Bites Bites of mosquitoes belonging to the genera Anopheles Meigen, Aedes Meigen, Culex L. and Haemagogus L. are a general nuisance and are responsible for the transmission of important tropical diseases such as malaria, hemorrhagic dengue and yellow fevers and filariasis (elephantiasis). Plants are traditional sources of mosquito repelling essential oils (EOs), glyceridic oils and repellent and synergistic chemicals. A Chemical Abstracts search on mosquito repellent inventions containing plant-derived EOs revealed 144 active patents mostly from Asia. Chinese, Japanese and Korean language patents and those of India (in English) accounted for roughly 3/4 of all patents. Since 1998 patents on EO-containing mosquito repellent inventions have almost doubled about every 4 years. In general, these patents describe repellent compositions for use in topical agents, cosmetic products, incense, fumigants, indoor and outdoor sprays, fibers, textiles among other applications. 67 EOs and 9 glyceridic oils were individually cited in at least 2 patents. Over 1/2 of all patents named just one EO. Citronella [Cymbopogon nardus (L.) Rendle, C.winterianus Jowitt ex Bor] and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus LʼHér. spp.) EOs were each cited in approximately 1/3 of all patents. Camphor [Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl], cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume), clove [Syzygium aromaticum (L.) Merr. & L.M. Perry], geranium (Pelargonium graveolens LʼHér.), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.), lemon [Citrus × limon (L.) Osbeck], lemongrass [Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf] and peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) EOs were each cited in > 10% of patents. Repellent chemicals present in EO compositions or added as pure “natural” ingredients such as geraniol, limonene, p-menthane-3,8-diol, nepetalactone and vanillin were described in approximately 40% of all patents. About 25% of EO-containing inventions included or were made to be used with synthetic insect control agents having mosquito repellent properties such as pyrethroids, N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), (±)-p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) and dialkyl phthalates. Synergistic effects involving one or more EOs and synthetic and/or natural components were claimed in about 10% of all patents. Scientific literature sources provide evidence for the mosquito repellency of many of the EOs and individual chemical components found in EOs used in patented repellent inventions.© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.


4. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011 Apr;1(2):85-8. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60001-4.Bioefficacy of Mentha piperita essential oil against dengue fever mosquito Aedes aegypti L.Kumar S, Wahab N, Warikoo R.


Department of Zoology, Acharya Narendra Dev College (University of Delhi), New Delhi-110019, India.



To assess the larvicidal and repellent potential of the essential oil extracted from the leaves of peppermint plant, Mentha piperita (M. piperita) against the larval and adult stages of Aedes aegypti (Ae. Aegypti).


The larvicidal potential of peppermint oil was evaluated against early fourth instar larvae of Ae. aegypti using WHO protocol. The mortality counts were made after 24 and 48 h, and LC50 and LC90 values were calculated. The efficacy of peppermint oil as mosquito repellent was assessed using the human-bait technique. The measured area of one arm of a human volunteer was applied with the oil and the other arm was applied with ethanol. The mosquito bites on both the arms were recorded for 3 min after every 15 min. The experiment continued for 3 h and the percent protection was calculated.


The essential oil extracted from M. piperita possessed excellent larvicidal efficiency against dengue vector. The bioassays showed an LC50 and LC90 value of 111.9 and 295.18 ppm, respectively after 24 h of exposure. The toxicity of the oil increased 11.8% when the larvae were exposed to the oil for 48 h. The remarkable repellent properties of M. piperita essential oil were established against adults Ae. aegypti. The application of oil resulted in 100% protection till 150 min. After next 30 min, only 1-2 bites were recorded as compared with 8-9 bites on the control arm.


The peppermint essential oil is proved to be efficient larvicide and repellent against dengue vector. Further studies are needed to identify the possible role of oil as adulticide, oviposition deterrent and ovicidal agent. The isolation of active ingredient from the oil could help in formulating strategies for mosquito control.


% protection, Adulticide, Aedes aegypti, Bioefficacy, Dengue, Essential oil, Larvicidal potential, Larvicide, Mentha piperita, Repellent






5. J Med Entomol. 2006 Jul;43(4):731-6.

Repellency of oils of lemon eucalyptus, geranium, and lavender and the mosquito repellent MyggA natural to Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the laboratory and field.

Jaenson TG, Garboui S, Palsson K.


Medical Entomology Unit, Department of Systematic Zoology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18d, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


MyggA Natural (Bioglan, Lund, Sweden) is a commercially available repellent against blood-feeding arthropods. It contains 30% of lemon-scented eucalyptus, Corymbia citriodora (Hook.) K. D. Hill & L. A. S. Johnson (Myrtaceae), oil with a minimum of 50% p-menthane-3,8-diol. MyggA Natural also contains small amounts of the essential oils of lavender, Lavandula angustifolia Mill. (Lamiaceae), and geranium, Pelargonium graveolens L’Her. (Geraniaceae). In laboratory bioassays, MyggA Natural and C. citriodora oil exhibited 100% repellency against host-seeking nymphs of Ixodes ricinus (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae). Lavender oil and geranium oil, when diluted to 1% in 1,2-propanediol, had weak repellent activities on I. ricinus nymphs, but when diluted to 30% in 1,2-propanediol had 100% repellencies. 1,2-Propanediol (100%) had no significant repellent activity in comparison with that of the control. In field tests in tick-infested areas in central Sweden, tick repellency of MyggA Natural and C. citriodora oil was tested by the blanket-dragging technique for 4 d during a 6-d period. The repellencies (74 and 85%, respectively) on day 1 are similar (89%) to that of blankets treated in a similar manner with 19% diethyl-methyl-benzamide, based on previous work. Repellencies declined significantly from day 1 to day 6 (74 to 45% for MyggA Natural; 85 to 42% for C. citriodora oil).



[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

6.Parasitol Res. 2006 Sep;99(4):473-7. Epub  2006 Apr 27.

Persistency of larvicidal effects of plant oil extracts under different storage conditions.

Amer A, Mehlhorn H.


Omar Almukhtar University, P.O. Box 919, Elbieda, Libya.


The persistency of larvicidal effects of 13 oils (camphor, thyme, amyris, lemon, cedarwood, frankincense, dill, myrtle, juniper, black pepper, verbena, helichrysum, and sandalwood) was examined by storage of 50-ppm solutions under different conditions (open, closed, in the light, and in the dark) for 1 month after the preparation of the solutions. The stored solutions were tested against Aedes aegypti larvae for four times during the storage period. Some oils under some conditions stayed effective until the last test, while some solutions had lost their toxicity during a short time after preparation. Thus, the mode of storage is absolutely important for the larvicidal effects. The fresh preparations were always the best.



[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

7. J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2000 Apr;30(1):101-15.

Larvicidal activity of Commiphora molmol against Culex pipiens and Aedes caspius larvae.Massoud AM, Labib IM.


Department of Tropical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, El-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.


Myrrh (oleo-gum-resin) obtained from the stem of Commiphora molmol proved to have insecticidal activity against mosquito larvae. The oil extract of Myrrh possesses median lethal activity against 2nd, 3rd and 4th instar larvae of Culex pipiens at 0.016 x 10(2), 0.17 x 10(2) & 1.6 x 10(2) g/l respectively. While LC50 against 3rd instar larvae of Aedes caspius was 0.2 x 10(2) g/l. The oleo-resin extract showed toxicity against 2nd, 3rd, 4th instar larvae of C. pipiens recording the LC50 values of 0.06 x 10(2), 0.09 x 10(2) & 0.5 x 10(2) g/l respectively. While LC50 against 3rd instar larvae of A. caspius was 0.08 x 10(2) g/l. This plant extract has no marked toxic effect against the water bug Sphaerodema urinator (Dufor) and the water beetle Hydaticus leander (Rossi). Histological examinations of Myrrh treated mosquito larvae showed great pathological effect on their fat, muscles, gut and nervous tissues.



[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]