Garlic (Allium sativum) is a vegetable with a pungent taste and special smell, which is not only used as a spice in cooking, but is also considered a remedy for various physical ailments. Garlic grows well in mild to warmer climates (3 to 10) and can be grown year round. Garlic is related to onion, leek and chives. Garlic is believed to help control mosquitoes and other pests. Find out below if it can actually keep the pests away!
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Garlic as a mosquito repellent
Mosquitoes are one of the natural annoyances of summer and are often referred to as pests. The World Health Organization considers them the deadliest animals on the planet because of the diseases they transmit. There are more than 3000 species of mosquitoes worldwide, and about 50 in Germany.
Mosquitoes are not only a nuisance, but also potentially dangerous. People can be allergic to their bites , which makes summer outdoor trips an unpleasant experience. Even if you’re not allergic to mosquito bites, you probably still want to prevent the uncomfortable itch .
Garlic contains the amino acid alliin. When the garlic clove is crushed, chopped or finely mixed, enzymes transform alliin into the sulfur compound allicin. This cleavage product not only gives garlic its characteristic flavor, but also has many special properties.
Like some humans, insects and animals do not like the smell of garlic and therefore stay away. Garlic decoction, for example, is a well-known home remedy against pests such as aphids, fungus gnats, ants and even voles. Garlic works well as an insect repellent on people, sensitive trees, shrubs and lawns that may be harmed by conventional chemical treatments. Garlic is a natural remedy whose action is effective enough to compete with some synthetic products.
Does eating garlic help against mosquitoes?
It is a common belief that eating garlic can also repel mosquitoes, but research does not confirm this.
Eating large amounts of freshly chopped raw garlic could offer you protection from mosquitoes, both through the smell on your breath and the sulfur compounds that are released through your skin. However, the only way to consume that much raw garlic is to chop it up and eat it by the spoonful.
Garlic in oil against mosquitoes
Rubbed on the skin, garlic oil seems to be a better solution than mosquito repellent. Besides, garlic oil has soothing and antibacterial effect and makes the skin softer and smoother.
To make a natural repellent, mix 2 chopped cloves of garlic with 250 ml of vegetable oil in a jar. A neutral cooking oil such as sunflower or olive oil can be used for this purpose. Let it sit overnight so that the oil can absorb the garlic scent.
Prevent mosquito bites with garlic water
Mixing garlic in various forms with water or other liquids to make a spray has a long history of success. Garlic water and the smell of garlic juice repels mosquitoes as long as they can detect the odor. The smell of the sprayed garlic juice is undetectable to humans within minutes, but it lasts much longer for mosquitoes.
Mix one part chopped garlic with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. The effect should last up to 6 hours. Spray where you are or on a few pieces of cloth, which you then hang on the open window or door.
Studies on the effect of garlic against mosquitoes
The results of scientific studies on garlic vary depending on the research question and the goal of the study. Those who swear by garlic claim that it works, while others are more reluctant to acknowledge its effectiveness.
The majority of studies look at herbal agents that stop mosquito larvae development to curb populations of mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus.
A 2020 study confirmed the effectiveness of garlic solution at various concentrations in killing larvae of Aedes sp. The researchers concluded that garlic (Allium sativum) can be used as an alternative ingredient to kill Aedes sp. larvae at concentrations of 60%, as it kills 100% of larvae.
Aberystwyth University in Wales studied the use of a supplement called Horslyx Garlic on horses in 2016. Results showed that horses that had access to the lick were attracted to up to 64.5 percent fewer flies than control horses. The reduction in irritation left the horses calmer and more sociable.
Can taking garlic tablets repel mosquitoes?
There are now garlic tablets or capsules on the market that are odorless, unlike conventional garlic.
Christopher Gardner, PhD, a researcher at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, explained in 2003 that garlic preparations in pill form cannot have the same effect as fresh garlic. The main problem is garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, which is only produced when garlic cloves are injured.
However, it is more difficult to get allicin from a garlic pill. In some cases, when the pills dissolve in the stomach, the garlic enzyme needed to produce allicin is inactivated. Some pills have an enteric coating, and these pills often pass through the body undissolved.
So when it comes to mosquito repellent, only fresh, raw garlic will do.