Essential Oils as Natural Insect Repellents

Aromatic plants and their essential oils have been used since antiquity to repel insects. The repellency of certain essential oils appears to be generally associated with the presence of one or more volatile mono-terpenoid constituents.

Based on several scientific studies, the most effective plant derived mosquito repellent compounds have been found to be:

  • Eugenol
  • Citronellol
  • Geraniol
  • Cineole

Naturally derived essential oils are a complex mixture of components including minor constituents, in contrast to synthetic pesticides which are based on a single product. A synergistic combination of natural compounds provides a broad-spectrum approach to repelling a range of insects, and they are more likely to be durable towards an evolving insect resistance.

How do natural insect repellents work?

Insects such as mosquitoes are attracted to odours emitted by the skin (lactic acid and moisture) and from the breath (carbon dioxide).

Female mosquitos bite animals and humans for the protein found in blood, which helps in the development of mosquito larvae. Natural insect repellents work by covering or neutralizing the alluring human scent, making a person unattractive for feeding. In addition, insect repellents also irritate the feet of mosquitos – preventing them from landing on a person or surface that is in close proximity.

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Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range of natural insect repellent candles, reed diffusers and mists has been purposely designed to enhance your enjoyment of the Great Australian Outdoors. The all-natural fragrance is a synergistic combination of the most effective plant derived insect repellent compounds. Products in Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range have been formulated with the most effective concentration of insect repelling essential oils – based on scientific evidence. With a natural fragrance designed to complement the Australian outdoors, Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range is environmentally responsible and stays true to our eco-friendly philosophy.

Using natural insect repellents is a positive way to participate in the reduction of environmental damage. Just as nature intended!

Essential oils as Natural Antimicrobial Agents

The use of essential oils as natural antimicrobial compounds has attracted growing interest in recent times. Antimicrobial agents destroy the airborne microorganisms which are typically the source of unpleasant odours. The effective antimicrobial action of various essential oils and their discrete components on different species of microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus delbrueckii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been previously observed and reported.[1]

The measurable antimicrobial activity of essential oils can be increased by the efficient encapsulation of the oil in a solubilizing carrier. This encapsulation increases the equilibrium concentration of essential oils in the aqueous phase, and the antimicrobial activity has been found to increase with increased essential oil concentration.

In general, if a microbial disinfection action is desired, the best option appears to be the use of a delivery system formulated with an emulsifier with high affinity with the essential oil components. This enables the solubilisation of the component molecules in aqueous phase at a high concentration, preferably higher than the water solubility.

Natural sugar eglucose estersters obtained from renewable raw materials of vegetable origin have proven to be very effective essential oils emulsifiers. These non-ionic solubilisers consist of fatty acid molecules as a lipophilic group with a glucose molecule attached as a hydrophilic group. The requisite antimicrobial compounds are immediately available on emulsification, and antimicrobial activity is evident over short time scales.

Each Mood Alchemy Mood Altering Mist is a premium room fragrance spray that is environmentally responsible. Formulated only from all natural ingredients including a high concentration of pure essential oils, and a non-ionic vegetable derived solubiliser, they are a highly effective natural room deodoriser. In addition, Mood Alchemy Mood Altering Mists are a PEG-free and non-ethoxylated product. They are as natural as can be!cropped_logo



[1] Journal of Biotechnology 159 (2012) 342–350.

 

Handmade Canberra’s Upmarket

Mood Alchemy recently exhibited at the Handmade markets, a quarterly upmarket held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

Handmade Market & Shop Handmade is a unique concept, created to connect the makers of beautiful things to people who appreciate them – in other words Mood Alchemy and our discerning clientele!

The uniqueness of our luxury mood altering aromatic products was on display, and confirmed that there is a real and obvious need for people to “chill out and unwind” after a stressful day at work. Mood Alchemy’s Cruisy blend was a top-seller – our signature mood blends clearly resonate with the Canberra community!

Some points of difference that define the Mood Alchemy brand are:

 We have created a holistic range of all natural aromatherapy products – including soy candles, reed diffusers, massage oils, room fragrance mists and goats milk soaps.

cropped_logoOur luxury range of mood altering aromatic products are packaged in unique artisan glassware – made from eco friendly recycled materials.

cropped_logoWe design our own fragrances – using the power of natural aromatic essential oils to influence the mood and hence reduce stress levels.

cropped_logoOur signature mood altering fragrance blends are created entirely from pure essential oils – we DO NOT use synthetic “fragrance oils”.

Do not be deceived – these synthetic fragrance compounds ARE NOT the same and they do not offer the therapeutic benefits of the natural essential oils extracted from sustainably grown plants (see our article “The Benefits of Natural Aromatics” which explains why!)

Generally, synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemical products (often toxic) and/or are a structural modification of a natural product. Synthetic fragrances are typically easier to manufacture and hence less expensive.

However, the demand for natural aromatics continues to increase rapidly, as the more informed and discerning consumer places increasing importance on environmental and health considerations when assessing product value in this market category.

Mood Alchemy’s Mood Altering Aromatic products are fragranced only with pure and natural essential oils. Using all natural eco-friendly ingredients and hand made techniques is a more expensive and time consuming method of product fabrication – but we believe the end result is a higher quality product which is so much more satisfying. We hope you agree.cropped_logo

 

The Chemistry of Soy Candles

Long ago, candles were a necessity of life, providing a source of lighting after sunset. Today, scented candles are a luxury – using fragrance to create different moods, while their flickering flame relaxes the mind.

Candles consist of two basic elements: 1) a fuel source eg soy wax and 2) a wick. The wick is crucial to the candle function as it serves as the fuel delivery system.

A naked flame is used to ignite the wick, which then melts some of the soy wax at the candle surface. The liquefied soy wax is drawn up through the wick fibres by capillary action – this action occurs due to the cohesion between soy wax molecules and their adhesion to the wick fibres.

After the soy wax travels to the top of the wick, it vaporizes upon contact with the burning flame. Combustion occurs as hot soy wax vapour combines with oxygen, producing the candle flame. The combustion of hydrocarbons is a rapidly occurring exothermic reaction that produces heat and light.

Only the very tip of the wick actually burns. The rest of the wick is involved in capillary action, and is shielded from burning by the vaporisation of the fuel. This has to do with a chemical property called the heat of vaporisation, whereby the fuel absorbs much of the surrounding heat in order to change states from liquid to gas. This vaporisation, in turn, keeps the wick cooler than it would otherwise be.

The flame continues to burn – producing more liquid soy wax, which is used as a fuel and vaporised. This releases the highly fragrant essential oils into the air.

The benefits of natural soy wax candles

Soy is a native East Asian plant that is both a renewable resource and biodegradable – hence it is an eco-friendly choice for the responsible consumer. The soy plant can be continually produced without damaging the natural ecosystem.

To make soy wax, the soy beans are harvested from the plant and processed into oil, which is then purified and hydrogenated. This converts unsaturated fatty acids into saturated fat – producing a solid creamy white wax.

Soy wax has the advantage that it is slow burning due to it low melting temperature, resulting in longer burn times for soy candles. It is also a very clean burning wax, and does not release hazardous chemicals such as toluene and benzene like paraffin based candles can.

The consistency of soy wax allows for candles with a stronger scent and a purer scent throw.

Mood Alchemy Mood Altering Candles are made from 100% natural soy wax with a centrally embedded wick and fragranced with pure essential oils – for your ultimate enjoyment.