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Research Confirms the Insect Repelling Properties of Sweetgrass

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Published on : Aug 18, 2015

Western science has unearthed the secrets of healthcare from the Native American wisdom in a latest research wherein sweetgrass was identified as an aromatic herb that can keep mosquitoes at bay. 

The American Chemical Society organized a news conference on Tuesday morning to discuss how their experiments revealed that the presence of certain chemicals in sweet grass oil actually matches to the effectiveness of certain mosquito repellents. 

The findings are obtained from research conducted on the traditional therapies popular among Native American tribes. Sweetgrass is one of the sacred plants that was extensively used in the Native American culture for its medicinal values. 

Scholars also reported that the Native Americans used the herbs as incense in ritual purifications as well. Natives, according to the researchers, always knew about the medicinal property of sweetgrass in keeping bugs away. Many-a-time they also covered themselves and their homes with sweetgrass when they were at home. 

Chemist Charles Cantrell mentioned in a news release released by the American Chemical Society that researches on new insect repellents have revealed that folk remedies provided better leads.  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cantrell conducted a research to study the compounds present in the sweetgrass by stem distilling the oil obtained from the plant and testing the mosquito repellent attribute oil alongside DEET – the standard insect repellent. 

Marilyn Dingle, a celebrated basket weaver said that she uses sweetgrass in her crafts. She couldn’t stop herself from chukling when Courier newspaper and South Carolina’s Post informed her about the research. She also said that bugs never bothered her when she pulled the plant. 

Researchers found that chemicals present in sweetgrass called coumarin and phytol repel insects have compounds that already have effects on bugs. Cantrell is very happy to prove through research that the folklore has a real scientific basis.