As the days get warmer and brighter in spring and summer, ticks can be lurking around every corner. Ticks pose a risk of exposure to diseases such as Lyme disease and it is therefore essential to have effective protection against these pesky parasites.
Unfortunately, conventional tick repellents for humans and animals often contain active ingredients that are harmful, which is why natural alternatives such as coconut oil against ticks are increasingly in demand. Here you can find out what is behind coconut oil as a tick repellent and how you can protect yourself and your four-legged friend from the little bloodsuckers in a natural way.
the essentials in brief
- Coconut oil can be used on humans and any four-legged friend, as coconut oil is considered a natural repellent. It's not too bad here if the animal licks its fur.
- Coconut oil has lauric acid, which has an odor that deters ticks. The coconut oil also restricts tick movement. In addition, it also has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- There are also alternatives to coconut oil against ticks that offer natural protection. For example, black cumin oil, essential oils, red thyme, garlic, brewer's yeast and rockrose.
Coconut oil against ticks: what you should know
Coconut oil is used in the tropics, and native peoples apply it liberally in its pure form to moisturize their skin and repel mosquitoes (1). Here it was also found that coconut oil can also repel ticks very well. More and more people prefer natural protection against ticks, which they can also use on their beloved four-legged friends.
The decision to rely on established products from the pharmaceutical industry, which of course have gone through all the scientific studies with effect and side effects, is not always easy. In this article we have tried to give you more information about coconut oil and other natural protectants.
The good thing about coconut oil is that it can be applied directly to the skin. When using pure, natural coconut oil, there is no risk of overdose and there are no known side effects. The oil is also a good moisturizer and offers additional benefits in addition to repelling insects.
How does coconut oil work against ticks?
The reason why coconut oil helps against ticks is that it contains a medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid. As a 2008 study showed, lauric acid acts as a deterrent to ticks (2). The smell has a repellent effect on the small bloodsuckers, so that the probability of a possible infestation and thus the risk of infection from coconut oil against ticks can actually be significantly reduced.
When coconut oil is applied to skin and fur, it coats the exoskeleton of any parasites present, suffocating them and reducing their mobility. Additionally, due to coconut oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it prevents bites from becoming infected and helps heal inflamed skin.
For whom is coconut oil against ticks suitable?
For animals, coconut oil is an "all-round talent" that provides protection against other insects such as fleas and the like. Since coconut oil serves as a natural protection against ticks, the oil can be used by humans and animals. These include infants, cats, rabbits, horses, dogs and puppies.
Coconut oil is a natural home remedy, perfect for humans and animals.
The coconut oil can be taken with food or applied directly to the skin or coat. As a side benefit, your pet will have shiny, moisturized skin and coat. Coconut oil also helps with itchy and scaly skin.
Which coconut oil against ticks?
Most importantly, your coconut oil is unrefined and native. Natural is best if the product is organic. This way you can be sure that there is enough of the natural lauric acid and that there are no other ingredients that could weaken this effect.
You should also pay attention to the ingredients in your coconut oil if you or your four-legged friend are allergic to any substances. It is very important to use organic quality, especially for animals and small children.
How do I use coconut oil against ticks?
Although coconut oil is a natural tick repellent, the size of the pet or you is what determines how much of the oil to apply. We have created a table where you get an overview for whom and how the oil is best used.
|use case||Application description|
|In adults and children||Especially the damp and warm skin areas are very popular with ticks. That is why you should primarily apply the oil to your ears, neck, armpits and the back of your knees.|
|With cats||Smearing on the coat is most often only recommended around a cat's head and neck area, otherwise cats will lick the oil off (3).|
|In dogs and puppies||Dogs and puppies are similar to cats, except that dogs don't try to lick the oil quite as often. You can give dogs the coconut oil over their food, but you should also start slowly in small amounts so that there are no problems with the transition.|
|With horses||Horses can also benefit from coconut oil. It is best to smear coconut oil on your legs and in places where you often see ticks or other insects. (4)|
|For small animals||Rabbits and other small animals can also get coconut oil in their fur. The only important thing here is that the dose is not too high and that it is administered in small quantities. (5)|
Does coconut oil also help against tick bites?
Since coconut oil also has antimicrobial properties, the oil can also ensure that invading bacteria and viruses are killed. Coconut oil is also very rich in antioxidants that help repair and protect the skin. The oil also has a calming effect.
Ticks pose a risk of exposure to diseases such as Lyme disease and it is therefore important to have effective protection. (Image Source: Catkin / Pixabay)
Coconut oil contains a good amount of vitamin E, which speeds up skin healing. The great thing about using coconut oil is that it penetrates deep. It doesn't take much to benefit from its healing properties, and using too much is just uncomfortable and would be a waste.
What is the best way to use coconut oil on animals if they have ticks?
If your four-legged friend already has ticks or fleas on their fur, cover your hands with coconut oil and rub them together until you get a liquid-like consistency. Now massage it onto your pet's fur, making sure it goes all the way down to the skin. Once you've covered your pet's fur, take a flea comb and run it through the fur.
You will find that the fleas and ticks will stick to the comb because of the oil. Any ticks that aren't stuck in your pet's fur due to the oil will pop off your pet due to the repellent nature of lauric acid, and any that don't escape will suffocate.
They can literally jump off, so it's best not to do this indoors. Of course, it is also possible that a tick remains in the skin, but this can be removed quickly with the help of tick tweezers in combination with coconut oil.
How long does coconut oil work against ticks?
The coconut oil works around six hours after being generously rubbed onto the skin areas. With animals, you just have to be careful that they don't lick the oil off immediately before the protective active ingredient has penetrated the skin.
Mostly cats like to lick the oil, but this is a quick fix by distracting the cat to give the oil time to work. However, if your cat manages to get rid of most of the coconut oil, we advise you to use an alternative tick repellent. For example, a tick collar can also bring many benefits.
Does coconut oil also help against fleas and mosquitoes?
One study found that fatty acids derived from coconut oil have long-lasting insect repellent properties against all sorts of insects like flies, ticks, bed bugs, and mosquitoes (6). Above all, fleas can be very annoying for you and your four-legged friend, so you can be happy that coconut oil also fights fleas.
What alternatives are there to coconut oil against ticks?
If you don't have coconut oil at home or maybe you want another natural protection against ticks, there are many alternatives. You have to try out for yourself which remedy works best for you and whether you might want to combine several. Here are a few alternatives that also offer natural protection against ticks:
- black seed oil
- Essential Oils
- Red Thyme
- brewer's yeast
black seed oil
By chance, the student Alexander Betz discovered on his dog that black cumin oil works wonders against ticks (7.8). He explained that the smell of the oil repels ticks. For his discovery he received a prize from "Jugend forscht". It should be avoided on cats, however, as oils can be toxic to them. It has not yet been scientifically proven in humans, but you could try it yourself because the oil can also be good for dry skin.
One study found that even small concentrations of some essential oils can interfere with a tick's attachment (9). Therefore, these oils can be considered as an alternative protection for people not using commercially available products. Here we go into a few more examples.
Oregano essential oil has come out on top in several studies. It contains cedrol, which was shown in one study to kill 100 percent of ticks it came in contact with when used in high doses (10).
But in some people, oregano oil can irritate the skin. Like all essential oils, oregano oil should be diluted in a carrier oil. Make sure you do a patch test first before using it widely.
It is the ingredients that make up lavender oil that give lavender oil its multiple beneficial properties (11). In the case of the deterrent effect on many insects and ticks, it is probably the smell of the oil that bothers the critters.
In addition to the ingredients, the concentration and purity of the oil is also decisive for the effect of lavender oil. The purer it is, the stronger it works. Lavender oil is one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin in small doses. However, it is usually diluted with alcohol, other carrier oils in lotions, and creams for use.
Geraniol is a colorless or sometimes light yellow oily liquid with a sweet rose scent that is extracted from various essential oils. In fact, it is one of the few essential oils that is safe to use on dogs and cats.
Geraniol is a commercially important terpene alcohol found in the essential oils of several aromatic plants. It is one of the most important molecules in the flavor and fragrance industries and a common ingredient in consumer products manufactured in these industries.
In small amounts, essential oils can provide protection against ticks. (Image Source: Chelsea Shapouri / Unsplash)
Researchers are still studying how geraniol fights external parasites. One study showed that it can dehydrate or suffocate insects if they come into contact with it, and is specifically effective against eggs and larvae. Geraniol has also been shown to act as a repellent against mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, keeping them away from the start (12,13).
Red thyme contains carvacrol and has been shown to be effective at repelling ticks when applied to the skin or clothing (8). It is a highly concentrated, powerful oil that acts as a natural antiseptic. It comes from the first distillation of white thyme oil.
But be careful: red thyme oil can irritate some people's skin. Never use it at full strength and do not use it on pets.
Garlic belongs to the Allium genus and has been prized for its antibiotic properties since ancient times. It contains hundreds of minerals, amino acids, vitamins and enzymes that deoxidize and heal diseases. Garlic is also used to repel ticks. Ticks don't like the smell and taste of garlic. In addition to ticks, garlic also repels and kills flies, mites, fleas and mosquitoes in the yard.
Brewer's yeast also appears to protect against ticks. The smell of the B vitamin it contains deters ticks (10). Brewer's yeast is usually added to the feed, but often the smell of the B vitamin can bother some animals. That's why it can be difficult to feed the brewer's yeast to your four-legged friend. A tip would be to start in small amounts so your pet can slowly get used to it.
Rockrose is a very popular herb that is drunk regularly, provides health and a beautiful appearance. Cistus tea strengthens the immune system and adds energy due to the high content of polyphenols. It inhibits the growth of microorganisms and fungi and reduces inflammation.
As already mentioned, ticks are very sensitive to smells. It turns out that the cistus incanus contains in its composition a substance that irritates ticks. Regular drinking of the infusion not only strengthens our body, but also protects against ticks. Rockrose can also be applied directly to the skin, which will further repel ticks. Animals can also be safely sprayed with it.
As you can see, coconut oil is certainly a sensible alternative to protect people and animals from ticks. The lauric acid it contains has a deterrent effect on the dangerous parasites and can thus help to significantly reduce the likelihood of a tick infestation.
In addition, more and more people are trying to rely on natural herbal active ingredients when it comes to tick repellents. It is a weighing of the extent of the danger from heavy tick infestation and possible side effects of the remedies. The fact is, however, that numerous primitive peoples have always known and still know how to use natural means to defend themselves very effectively against pests and parasites.
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