Much to our chagrin, ticks run rampant during the summer, especially in the Northeast and Midwest United States. But these tiny insects are more than just a minor nuisance; if they bite you, they could also be super dangerous—and deadly.
According to the Global Lyme Alliance, tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease can cause lots of unpleasant symptoms, including fever, fatigue, rash, and muscle and joint pain. The worst disease, called Powassan encephalitis, is a viral brain infection that causes seizures, aphasia, muscle weakness, dementia, and even death. Need we say more?
Although it’s pretty obvious that you should stop tick bites in their tracks, exactly how to prevent them is a little less clear. Luckily, we know the best (and all-natural!) tick repellent ever: cedar oil.
You’d typically find cedar oil in Atlas cedarwoods in northern Africa, and it was once used by the Egyptians to embalm their dead. But now, we know that this essential oil is a natural tick repellent—and it’s super effective.
Cedar oil is brutal when pitted against ticks and other insects, according to natural pesticide producer Wondercide. Not only does the oil block the bug’s scent receptors and disrupt its body systems, but it also dries the bug up upon contact. If the tick happens to be in an early life stage, it will disintegrate completely.
Ready to test it out? Try making a small dose of natural tick repellent in a spray bottle. Simply mix four ounces of distilled or boiled water, witch hazel, and 30 to 50 drops of cedar oil (along with other oils like lavender or vanilla for a sweet-smelling scent). Bring the bottle along in your car or handbag so you’ll be prepared for any outdoor activity. And before you run off to the woods, make sure you’re following these tips to avoid tick bites this summer.