Lemongrass Insect Repellent

THIS IS NOT EDIBLE. Fresh lemongrass is easier to find than fresh citronella grass (which you can buy only from specialist nurseries). It works in a similar way as a potent natural insect repellent, with the added benefit of antibacterial and antifungal properties. Here, I've mixed it with a couple of other aromatic insecticidal plants for a modern take on a traditional South-East Asian bug-repellent oil, with a sweet spicy fragrance that smells wonderful to anyone but insects.

Show: Grow Your Own Drugs

TOTAL TIME:1 hr 40 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 30 min
Cook:1 hr


4 teaspoons whole cloves
4 teaspoons scented pelargonium 'citronella' leaves (about 15 leaves), washed and chopped
10 lemongrass sticks, washed and chopped
1 2/3 cups sunflower oil, to cover


Combine the cloves, pelargonium and lemongrass in a blender. Add the oil, then whizz until pulped.

Place the pulp in a glass heatproof bowl and cover. Put the bowl over a pan of boiling water over low heat, making sure there are no gaps around the bowl, and leave for 1 hour. Keep checking that the pan does not boil dry.

Let cool, then strain the citrus- and spice-scented oil through muslin to remove all the fibrous bits, and store in a pump spray bottle.

To use, shake the bottle well, then spray liberally onto skin up to 4 times a day, paying particular attention to exposed areas like ankles, wrists and neck, and avoiding the eyes. Re-apply after washing or bathing, and before bed. If any irritation occurs, wash off immediately.

The repellent will keep for up to 1 year in a cool dark place.


The content of this program is for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a professional healthcare provider before trying any form of therapy or if you have any questions or concerns about a medical condition. The use of natural products can be toxic if misused, and even when suitably used, certain individuals could have adverse reactions.




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