23 April 2019
To keep nasty bugs away, keep your skin clean and dry. Photos: internet, Reuters
To keep nasty bugs away, keep your skin clean and dry. Photos: internet, Reuters

Make your own anti-bug spray

With summer just around the corner, many readers and patients ask me if there are any natural remedies against mosquitoes and biting midges.

When people perspire or take in food with strong flavors, their skin will send off a delicious scent to bugs that sting and suck human blood.

According to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, people who have heat in their blood or any endoretention of damp heat inside their body carry an attractive scent, which is caused by a relatively higher skin temperature and increased body secretions when the weather is hot, wet and stuffy.

Also, people who have more heat in their blood tend to suffer from slower healing of their wounds. As such, sting marks and itchiness from insect bites also fade away more slowly.

To keep the nasty bugs away, you should keep your skin clean and dry. That’s first and foremost.

Smokers and drinkers should kick their indulgence. Raw food, cold drinks as well as overly sweet, strong-flavored, deep-fried, baked and spicy food items should be avoided.

Drink more water, and keep the skin dry using a handkerchief.

People could also consider taking Chinese herbal soup to control the heat in the blood and remove damp heat from their body.

Alternatively, you could make an anti-bug spray out of natural ingredients to prevent insect bites.


1 catty of fresh lemongrass
Peel of 2 lemons
1 catty of mint leaves
5 mL of tea tree oil
3 mL lemongrass essential oil
5 mL mint essential oil
500 mL water


1. Chop the fresh lemongrass and lemon peel, and tear up the mint leaves. Cook them in water until it boils, then turn down to a medium fire for 10 minutes.

2. Put the pot off the stove. Sift the content for the solution.

3. Mix all the essential oils well with the solution which has been cooled down to room temperature.

The anti-bug repellent is done. Best to keep it refrigerated and refill a spray bottle only when you are about to use it.

This is only for external use and avoid contact with the face, especially the eyes.

To avoid an allergic reaction, you might want to have a brief skin testing. Apply a small amount of the spray on your inner wrist. If it appears to be or looks like it is turning red, do not use the spray.

The anti-bug spray can also be applied on home furniture and floors. Adding a few drops into the vase or spraying directly onto the plants would inhibit the breeding of bugs.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 26.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Registered traditional Chinese medicine practitioner

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