Health & Lifestyle

Coconut oil compounds more effective in repelling insects than DEET: Study

A study says that compounds derived from the coconut oil are much better than ‘DEET’ in preventing disease transmission and uneasiness related with insect bites.

For those who don’t know what DEET is?

  • DEET - N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide or diethyltoluamide is the most common active element in insect repellents.

  • It is light yellow color oil that is applied to the skin or clothes to prevent from mosquitoes, ticks, leeches, and other biting insects.

  • Since more than 60 years, DEET has been considered the gold standard in insect repellents as per the researchers from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

However, increasing policies and growing health concerns regarding synthetic repellents and insecticides like DEET have created interest in making plant-based repellents that are more effectual and long lasting.

The study, which was published in Scientific Reports journal has discovered specific coconut oil fatty acids that contains strong repellency as well as long-lasting effectiveness against several insects like mosquitoes, ticks and bed bugs etc that can spread diseases to humans and animals.

The scientists’ team, which was led by Junwei Zhu had found that the compound in coconut oil were very effective against biting flies and bed bugs for around two weeks and also had enduring repellency against ticks for at least a week in laboratory tests.

There are many people who don’t prefer using DEET and switch to traditional medicines or plant-based repellents. Zhu noted that most of the currently available plant-based repellents work for a small period.

The free fatty acid mixture derived from coconut oil that includes capric acid, lauric acid and caprylic acid in addition to their corresponding methyl esters gives strong repellency against parasitical insects. Researchers also said by enclosing the coconut fatty acids into a starch-based formula, it could provide protection to domestic animals against stable flies for 4 days.



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