Try Out Catnip Oil Believe it or not, the essential oil in catnip, nepetalactone
, repels mosquitos more effectively than DEET.
Catmint, or rather the nepetalactone
in its leaves, mimics a feline hormone and acts like a recreational drug to cats.
Patience has started an agricultural and manufacturing initiative in civil war-torn Burundi in East Africa growing catnip to extract nepetalactone
, which is used as a repellent against malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
The university has since patented the primary active ingredient in catnip oil, nepetalactone
, and its research foundation is working with unnamed companies to do human trials so it can be licensed by the U.
Scientists have discovered that nepetalactone
oil, which gives the herb its smell, is the strongest mosquito repellent known to man and ten times more effective than DEET, the chemical used in most repellents.
Catnip contains two forms of a chemical called nepetalactone
Iowa State University researchers Chris Peterson and Joel Coats report that cockroaches are repelled by two forms of the chemical nepetalactone
found in the catnip plant.
The researchers gave insects a choice of walking on either a piece of paper treated with nepetalactone
or untreated paper.
The process itself is relatively simple: the catnip plant is harvested then partially dried and put into a huge vat where the essential oil, called nepetalactone
, is extracted using steam.
An Iowa State University research group presented a paper that compared the mosquito-repelling qualities of catnip oil, called nepetalactone, with deet, the "active ingredient" in countless commercial insect repellents.
That led to the claim that nepetalactone is 10 times as effective as deet.