Until about a decade ago I had never heard of Lyme disease, which means I’ve lived most of my life without that fear. To this day I have not seen a tick. But now I personally know three first or second connections who have been hit with Lyme, and recently I heard it called an epidemic so I feel a deep concern for keeping my grandchildren safe when I take them out into nature. We try to stick to the trails and stay away from long grass. A fashion statement it isn’t and it pains them, but I have the girls wear long pants, preferably jeans, with their socks over the hems so ticks have no easy way to find skin.

Stephen Buhner has released a revised, expanded, updated second edition of his Healing Lyme: Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsioses. This book goes from being way-over-my-head technical to laugh-out-loud funny. If I ever come face to face with Lyme disease, I will definitely study it, but my big takeaway at this moment is his formula for a safe tick repellent made with essential oils. He states that is 99% effective. The oils are not common and will need some searching out, but I’m so thankful to have this information.

Natural Tick Repellent

Use 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following essential oils:

  • Rhododendron tomentosum (Labrador Tea), also known by its older taxonomy of Ledum palustre This one is crucial to the formula and expensive, assuming you can even find a source for it. Be sure you do not buy Rhododendron anthopagon because that is not effective.
  • Tagetes minuta (Tagetes)
  • Chamaecy-partis nookatensis (Nootka Cypress)
  • Artemisia absinthium (Absinthe, Wormwood)
  • Myrica gale (Bog Myrtle)
  • Juniperus virginia (Eastern Red Cedar)
  • Eucalyptus citriodora (Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Origanum majorana (Marjoram)

Mix these oils into 8 ounces of pure grain alcohol (95% alcohol or as close as you can get.) Store in a brown glass bottle, tightly capped, and away from light. To use, shake well and decant into a smaller glass spritzer bottle. Spray on liberally to repel ticks and black flies.

This is the right amount of the essential oils formula to make 8 ounces of spray. Add to pure alcohol such as everclear or vodka, or according to the seller you can use witch hazel. Currently, this bottle costs $75 US. Apparently Rhododendron tomentosum is costly and so far I haven’t been able to find a supplier for it, so this Lyme Armor concentrate might be my choice. It will save the difficulty of trying to track down eight different oils, none of which are in my fairly extensive essential oils collection.