Hardly a day goes by that there isn’t a story in the news about bed bugs or other creepy

crawlies. Seldom, however, will solutions be offered aside from calling an exterminator or applying chemical repellents. It is even rarer to hear of solutions that are time tested such as essential oils and natural soaps. As an example, did you know that ingredients in Packer’s Pine Tar Soap, a product introduced in 1899, was used by the Army Corps of Engineers as an insect repellent during World War II?

Here is another fascinating little historic tidbit, especially for people here in Arizona. For centuries Native Americans in the southwest used piñon pine pitch to treat a variety of skin problems, as antibacterial treatment for cuts and insect bites, and to alleviate itching that results from skin irritations. Beeswax, an ingredient in some natural soaps, is another remedy that has been time tested. 

It also has been shown to contain anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, and germicidal properties that are ideal for healing cuts and wounds as well as keeping skin healthy and supple. Several leading studies indicate that beeswax inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungus. Other studies found that it alleviated symptoms of diaper rash and chafing.

The Greeks and Romans included comfrey in their cornucopia of pharmaceutical herbs. Its broad, dark-green leaves were used to alleviate a numerous ailments such as bronchial problems, minor sprains and sore muscles, and it was even used to control bleeding. Comfrey was believed to have regenerative properties that could even speed the healing time of broken bones. In the late 19th century it was discovered that comfrey contained high levels of allantoin and mucilage, chemical compounds that stimulates the replacement of damaged cells.  Salves and poultices containing comfrey were used for topical treatment of minor burns, skin ulcerations, abrasions and lacerations, insect bites, and rashes. It also contains an abundance of protein and vitamins including A and C, and is one of the few plants to contain the vitamin B12. The taproot is rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, and selenium.

Some of the world’s leading cosmetics use lanolin because of its ability to nourish, protect, and repair dry skin. It seals in moisture which prevents dry, chaffed skin, soothes rashes, minor burns and abrasions, and is a primary ingredient in most natural soaps. Some modern analytical methods have revealed that lanolin possesses a number of chemical similarities to human stratum corneum lipids that assist with the regulation of the rate of trans-epidermal water loss.

And as to bed bugs, here are a few surprises. A variety of studies have indicated that six to 10 drops of some pure essential oils added to an atomizer will keep bed bugs at bay. Some of these oils are cinnamon, lemongrass oil, clove oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, thyme oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. For more information about natural soaps, and the power of essential oils it is best to consult a certified essential oils coach at Meli Lips.

Written by Jim Hinckley at Jim Hinckley’s America