Is Turmeric a Tick Repellent? Does It Actually Work?

When it comes to tick prevention, I usually opt for whatever is proven to work best. However, when it comes to protecting my kids or pets, I definitely prefer to use products that I know are safe.

“Safer” natural tick repellents usually contain natural essential oils that are known as deterrents to ticks. These include ingredients like oil of lemon eucalyptus, cedarwood oil, and peppermint, among other active ingredients.

Another ingredient that has been studied to see if it could repel ticks is turmeric. Turmeric is a type of plant, but you likely know it as the powdery yellow ingredient used in cooking. 

So is turmeric an effective tick repellent?

Studies have shown that turmeric oil can be effective in repelling ticks. While turmeric powder has not been extensively studied, it’s possible that it can cause a similar reaction in ticks, although possibly lessened. While there isn’t a wide selection of turmeric tick repellents available to purchase, spraying a solution containing turmeric oil may work to repel ticks off of dogs or humans.

Although there is recorded evidence showing turmeric oil’s effectiveness in scaring away ticks, there’s really no popular product that uses the solution in a formula (which is honestly surprising to me). 

It may still be possible to use turmeric in a homemade solution to repel ticks, and you should continue reading below to learn more about the effectiveness of turmeric in stopping ticks.

Does Turmeric Repel Ticks?

Scientists at the University of Bristol revealed in a study that turmeric oil can actually be an effective solution for repelling ticks.

The study tested several essential oils to see their effectiveness in scaring away the nasty things, and turmeric oil actually turned out to be number one in the results, even beating out some of the most commonly found ingredients in popular natural tick repellents.

turmeric oil was both able to prevent a climbing response by ticks and had a longer residual activity than other oils.

The percentage of dogs with ticks attached to the legs or belly of dogs sprayed with turmeric oil suspension (15% ± 19.4%) was significantly lower than that of ticks attached to the same areas of dogs sprayed with orange oil suspension (85% ± 19.4%) and unsprayed dogs (73% ± 26.2%) (P < 0.05). The data indicate that turmeric-oil may form a valuable component of a tick management programme for domestic dogs.

Preventing tick attachment to dogs using essential oils – Science Direct

A separate study, which examined the bioactive compounds in turmeric, tested each compound to see what caused the insect-repellent nature of turmeric (with hexane proving to be the most effective). The study used extracts from turmeric powder, which to me, signifies that turmeric powder could also be effective in repelling ticks.

Turmeric demonstrates significant repellence activity for ticks in dogs.

Turmeric extractions in the hexane showed the highest repellence whereas water extracted turmeric showed the least repellence.

Identification of Extracts Responsible for the Effect of Tick Reppeling Activity of Turmeric – Scientific Research

However, even though it may be effective in repelling ticks, I can’t see pure turmeric powder being very practical in use, although turmeric oil may be more convenient. 

If you’d like to test the stuff out for yourself, you can pick up some turmeric oil via Amazon and try diluting it in a solution with water. 

Cliganic Organic Turmeric Essential Oil, 100% Pure

Certified organic turmeric oil that is 3rd party tested for purity. Non-GMO certified, vegan and cruelty free.

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03/07/2024 09:52 pm GMT

The study I mentioned previously tested the solution by dragging a blanket through thick grass where ticks were likely to be, which you could definitely attempt at home to test your homemade solution.

The University of Bristol study said that turmeric inhibits the “climbing response” in ticks and the effectiveness of turmeric lasts longer than other essential oils, so I’m honestly surprised to see that no products have emerged with a turmeric-based formula.

What’s a Good Natural Tick Repellent Product?

There is a wide selection of natural tick repellents that are advertised to keep ticks off of your skin, clothes, and even pets, but as a frequent hiker, I’ve learned that only so many of these products actually work.

Your clothing is the main line of defense against ticks, and your socks will be the first area that ticks will have to pass to get to your skin. For this reason, you’ll want to pick up a natural fabric repellent that works well on clothes and has long-lasting repellency. 

Cedarcide is one of the longest-lasting natural repellents I’ve seen, and it’s also highly effective, even being used to stop ticks in the yard or around pools

Cedarcide Granules (1 Bag)

Protect your lawn from harmful pests without endangering your family or pets. Cedar Insect Repelling Granules are ready-to-use 100% Pure Cedar Tree Shavings that keep out fleas, mosquitoes, mites, ticks and ants without harmful chemicals or Toxins.

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03/07/2024 08:27 am GMT

You can also get cedarcide sprays that you apply to your skin or that of your pet and it can repel mosquitos and ticks.

Cedarcide will only need to be reapplied every 5-7 hours, making it great for an afternoon hike, and since it’s all-natural (the main ingredient being cedarwood oil), it’s safe to be sprayed on pets, clothes, skin, and around kids. 

Cedarcide Original + Tickshield Family Cedarwood Oil (4 Pack)
$17.99 ($4.50 / Ounce)

Non toxic and family safe bug spray made from cedarwood oil. Can help to kill and repel unwanted pests.

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03/08/2024 02:27 am GMT