Monday, April 30, 2012


Witch hazel's zigzag stem

A glance up into the late spring dusk will tell you that both bats and bugs are out, good beasts one and all if only they'd stay to themselves. But some must have their blood and others privacy for their queen. So be off, you bees, chiggers, mosquitoes, ticks, deer flies,  and various and sundry other biting and stinging insects!

Lavender in summer

I like a spray-on repellent from the garden that doubles as a cooling spritzer. In this simple recipe, distilled witch hazel provides a cooling and astringent base for extraction of aromatic and bug-noxious oils from lavender and thyme.

Thyme flowering in late spring


Bug Stuff in spray bottle

- distilled witch hazel - 4oz
- lavender sprigs - 3 (flowering if available)
- thyme sprigs - 3 (flowering if available)

HERBALIST'S NOTE: Lavender and thyme essential oils (3-5 drops) can be subsituted for the fresh flowering herbs.

1) Place lavender and thyme sprigs in a suitable spray bottle;
2) Fill the bottle with witch hazel and put on the spritzing lid;
3) Spray onto appropriate body areas before insect exposure:

chiggers - feet and ankles (they are mites that crawl up from the ground)

bees and wasps - face, neck, and arms (spray into hands and wipe onto face)

deer and horse flies - exposed skin

mosquitoes - exposed skin

ticks - feet, ankles, pant line, shirt line (they grasp clothing from grass stems and crawl upward until skin contact)

DOCTOR'S NOTE: It is important to check for and remove ticks within a day of possible exposure because a tick has to be attached for more than a day to transmit Lyme disease.

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