Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus has long been used in Asia as a natural insect repellent, but ten years ago we couldn’t find it in a single repellent sold in New Zealand… so we made our own. 

We played with lots of combinations until we found the perfect recipe.  Avoiding the chemical DEET was a key consideration.  Knowing that it is unsuitable for use for more than about a month at a time, can render sunscreens ineffective, shouldn’t be used on young children, and can damage some plastics  seemed like more than enough reasons not to use it. 

Now you don’t have to either because there is a safe effective alternative backed by science, governments and worldwide safety authorities.

Oil of lemon eucalyptus is the common name of one of the natural oils extracted from the leaves and twigs of the lemon-scented gum/eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus Citriodora Hook.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus has been used for many years in China, often known as Quwenling (translated as “effective repellent of mosquitoes”).

Researchers in the U.S. began investigating this product in the early 1990s and identified the active ingredient as p-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD).  PMD is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a ‘biopesticide repellent’ meaning that it is derived from natural materials and effective for repelling insects, such as mosquitoes and biting flies.

PMD has also shown remarkable ability to repel mosquitoes when compared to DEET.   DEET is the most popular synthetic commercial insect repellent but it has been linked to serious adverse effects, especially in children.  When used in the field on humans in Tanzania against a 10% DEET repellent, PMD products prevented bites for 4 to 7 hours after application for aggressive species of mosquito and for greater than 12 hours for the less aggressive mosquitoes – PMD repellents out-performed the studied DEET repellent.

There have been numerous field trials conducted on Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus around the World, and it has proven effective against all biting insects including mosquitoes, sandflies, ticks, fleas, bedbugs, mites and midgies.

Eucalyptus leaf, key natural insect repellent ingredient
"I found 2B fragrance to be pleasant without that harsh chemical smell found in most off the shelf repellents."
Paul Rohal Encinitas
Vanilla Bean pods, natural insect repellent ingredient

Vanilla is highly valued for its flavour, aroma and use as a fixative. Due to the world-wide demand for Vanilla far outstripping supply, it is the second costliest spice, after Saffron. Its high cost is not only due to rarity, but also the intensive labour involved in processing the pods. In 2B we use an oil based form of natural Vanilla – it isn’t cheap but it is the very best in quality and effectiveness.

Fractionated Coconut Oil is thinner than the unrefined oil and  is readily absorbed by the skin, making it water resistant without feeling greasy.  In addition, it is practically odourless and tasteless, as well as able to withstand very high heat and remain liquid at room temperature.

‘Fractionated’ means it contains the fraction of the coconut oil from which almost all the long chain triglycerides have been removed, leaving an absolutely saturated oil. This saturation gives it a very, very long shelf life and greatly increased stability, and more of an antioxidant and disinfecting effect.  These factors combined make it the perfect carrier oil.

coconut cut in half
Lemon grass stalks, natural insect repellent ingredient

Lemongrass Oil is an effective insect repellent in its own right, aside from its many uses as an antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory.  In combination with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus you have a powerful and safe insect repellent.

Endemic to New Zealand, Kawakawa (Piper excelsum) is readily found in the native bush and has been valued for centuries for its healing properties.

Kawakawa leaves have traditionally been used topically for numerous conditions including bruises, rheumatism, dry skin, irritated skin, minor cuts and infections, tooth ache, digestive disorders and as a natural insect repellent. The oils in kawakawa leaves have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial & antiseptic properties.

The typical holes in kawakawa leaves are a sign of good plant health, and are made by a moth caterpillar which eats the leaves when the medicinal properties are most concentrated.