Fall is finally here, but sadly, that means summer is over. All my herbs are going to seed and clean up has begun.
I decided to harvest the rest of my basil this morning. They are now tied in cute bundles hanging on my porch. I’m lucky to have a large porch that stays shady and dry, so my bundles dry nicely there.
Sweet basil is my most favorite basil. I love cooking with basil. and there’s many “flavors” to choose from.
I’m writing this blog because I’ve discovered another great use for my basil.
We’ve gotten so much rain this summer, that mosquitoes have been in abundance. With all the news reports and articles on illnesses spread by mosquito bites, one can’t help but be concerned.
By accident, I discovered that mosquitoes did not bite me when I gathered my sweet basil. So, I did some research, and sure enough, mosquitoes are repelled by the scent that crushed basil releases.
Commercial insect repellent is very dangerous, so I refuse to let my family use it. I’m always getting asked by family and friends, “What herb is good for this?” Of course, they’re really asking for a natural approach instead of a chemical approach. I’m only too happy to help being a person in search of a all natural life. I know, impossible, but I keep trying.
Back to basil, I only grown sweet basil, but lemon, cinnamon, and Peruvian works great too for mosquitoes. I now keep a bundle by the kitchen door for the herb gathering trips. When my husband and I cook, we like to clip fresh herbs to use, so he sends me out, but I always give myself a few basil “whips” with my basil bundle. My arms and legs are most susceptible, so a few swipes keep the bites at bay. It works great even if it’s dried.
Of course, when we go on herb walks and fishing trips, a bundle of basil is questionable. Especially since I take a large backpack of “stuff” I need, which my husband usually, bless his heart, ends up carrying.
For these trips, I simmer some fresh or dried basil leaves in distilled water for about five minutes. Turn off the burner, and when cool, strain off the herbs, place in a sprayer bottle, and we have insect repellent to go. When we get to the lake or trail, we spray each other’s clothes from head to toe. You can stray your skin too, I do.
A big concern for people that have sensitive skin or have allergies. I think you won’t be bothered by using basil at all. I have very sensitive skin, and I can use it without any reactions. Please test on a small area just to be sure, especially on children.
But of course, I like the reaction the mosquitoes have.