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Thai herbal medicine: Mosquito repellent

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Mosquitos breed in stagnant floodwater & bring with them dengue fever & encephalitis. Thai herbal medicines help drive mosquitos away.

dengue fever map

Map above shows the areas of the world with a dengue fever problem (Source: Wikipedia). Photos below of the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits dengue fever feeding on a human arm and turmeric, one of the ingredients of Thai herbal mosquito repellent discussed in the article (Source: Wikipedia).

Click button to listen to Herbal Mosquito Repellent to download

HEALTH: Insect initiative, Very effective mosquito repellents can be made from any of four common indigenous plants by Ploenpote Atthakor


mosquitoMention holy basil (kraprao) and turmeric (kamin) in the same breath and many people will assume you're about to give the recipe for some appetising Thai dish. But the strong-smelling essential oils in these two kitchen-garden plants also make them perfect as ingredients in a natural mosquito repellent.

Mosquitoes are normally a major annoyance for flood-hit communities since stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for the insect's larvae.

The good thing about using essence of (kraprao leaves or turmeric root to ward off this pest is that both plants are easy to find and relatively safe to use compared to commercial chemical repellents, said Supaporn Pitiporn, a pharmacist at Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital, noting that another advantage was that the method for extracting the essence was very simple.

Other commonly found plants with anti-mosquito properties are hanuman prasan kai, a decorative shrub in the Araliaceae family, and myrtle grass - called waan nam in Thai.

These four plants contain substances equivalent to Deet (Diethyl-meta-toluamide), a pesticide developed by the US army following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II and later certified by the World Health Organisation for civilian use.


PREPARATION PROCESS

turmericRinse the plant of your choice to remove any earth and allow it to dry completely before cutting it into small pieces. Heat some coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped plant material for five minutes, Then remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid to keep the extract from evaporating. When cool, scoop the contents of the pan into a strainer lined with a square of muslin cloth and allow the liquid to drip into a small bottle

The result is a home-made mosquito repellent which Supaporn recommends keeping at room temperature away from direct sunlight.

Laksana Lueprasert, a pharmacist at the Ministry of Health's Medical Sciences Department, said that an application of home-made repellent like this should be effective for about two hours against mosquitoes, which are active during daylight hours (and can transmit haemorrhagic dengue fever) and for seven hours against nocturnal mosquitoes, which carry encephalitis, a potentially fatal condition that causes acute inflammation of the brain.

However, Laksana urged people to take other preventive measures to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, including making sure there are no puddles or receptacles holding standing water in the vicinity of one's home which can serve as breeding grounds for the insect.

The Medical Sciences Department has also developed a new anti-mosquito formulation called "RepelMos". The fragrance-free lotion, which has already been distributed to several flood-evacuation centres, can keep away all types of mosquitoes for five to seven hours. It can also be used against leeches; a few drops of lotion on the offending creature makes it much easier to remove from one's skin.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Health, SMARTCHOICE, Insect initiative, Very effective mosquito repellents can be made from any of four common indigenous plants, 19/12/2011, Ploenpote Atthakor, link

Thai Herbal Medicine Vocabulary

mosquito repellent - a substance applied to skin, clothing, or other surfaces which discourages mosquitos from landing or climbing on that surface (See Wikipedia)
repellent - a device used to force something to move away from a place ตัวขับไล่
effective - works well, gets the job done; producing the result that was intended ได้ผลดี
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
home-made - made at home in small quantities (with greater care), not by machines in large factories

effective mosquito repellents
home-made mosquito repellent
natural mosquito repellent

dengue fever - an infectious tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash that is similar to measles. In a small proportion of cases the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs. Dengue is transmitted by several species of mosquito within the genus Aedes, principally A. aegypti...The incidence of dengue fever has increased dramatically since the 1960s, with around 50–100 million people infected yearly. ...Dengue ...is endemic in more than 110 countries" (See Wikipedia and US National Library of Medicine)
haemorrhagic dengue fever - a more severe version of dengue fever (See US National Library of Medicine , see the excellent overview by a Thai doctor in Manson's Tropical Diseases, 22nd Edition)
fever - an abnormally high body temperature ไข้

potentially fatal condition - you could die from it
potentially - may happen, possibly เป็นไปได้
fatal - causing someone to die ถึงตาย
medical condition - a disease
active - working, operating, doing its job
active during daylight hours - awake and active during the day
nocturnal - awake and active at night
nocturnal mosquitoes - mosquitoes that are awake and flying around at night

encephalitis -
acute inflammation of the brain, symptoms include headache, fever, confusion, drowsiness, and fatigue. More advanced and serious symptoms include seizures or convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, and memory problems (See Wikipedia)
acute - happens suddenly; very serious อาการอย่างเฉียบพลัน เฉียบพลันและรุนแรง
inflammation - a red, painful and often swollen area in or on a part of your body การอักเสบ, การติดเชื้อ

an application of home-made repellent like this should be effective for about two hours against mosquitoes, which are active during daylight hours (and can transmit haemorrhagic dengue fever) and for seven hours against nocturnal mosquitoes, which carry encephalitis, a potentially fatal condition that causes acute inflammation of the brain.

pesticide
- chemicals to kill insects that eat and destroy plants (See Wikipedia) ยาฆ่าแมลง
Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) - the most common active ingredient in insect repellents, applied to the skin or clothing, provides protection against tick bites, mosquito bites, and other insects that can transmit disease, a slightly yellow oil (See Wikipedia and pronunciation)

these four plants contain substances equivalent to Deet (Diethyl-meta-toluamide), a pesticide developed by the US army following its experience of jungle warfare during World War II and later certified by the World Health Organisation for civilian use.

equivalent - the same as เท่าเทียมกันกับ
certified - inspected officially and verified that the company follows the rules ผ่านการรับรองคุณภาพ
civilian - of someone who does not belong to the armed forces or the police พลเรือน

essential oils - liquids coming from plants with the smell of the plant, used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products, extracted by distillation, have been used medicinally at different periods in history (See Wikipedia)
ingredients - foods that are used with other foods in the preparation of a particular dish ส่วนประกอบ
the strong-smelling essential oils in these two kitchen-garden plants also make them perfect as ingredients in a natural mosquito repellent.

initiative - a new action, plan or movement intended to solve a problem or achieve some goal ความคิดริเริ่ม
insect initiative - a new plan to get rid of insects (here: mosquitoes)

indigenous - naturally existing in a place or country rather than arriving from another place เกี่ยวกับชนพื้นเมือง
indigenous plants - the plants that grow naturally in an area or country (the seeds of the plant don't have to be brought in from outside and planted)
common -
found often, easy to find (not rare and hard to find)
common
indigenous plants

holy basil (kraprao) - an herb used in Italian, Thai, Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese cooking the leaves have a strong, pungent, often sweet smell and taste somewhat like licorice or anise (See Wikipedia)
Thai holy basil - "a type of sweet basil native to Southeast Asia that has been cultivated to provide a distinctive set of traits. It has an identifiable licorice flavor not present in sweet basil, and its flavor is more stable under high or extended cooking temperatures than that of sweet basil. Thai basil exhibits small narrow leaves and purple stems, with a mauve (pink-purple) flower" (See Wikipedia) ใบกะเพรา

essential - necessary and important ที่จำเป็น ที่สำคัญ
turmeric (kamin) - ขมิ้น

mention in the same breath -
talk about two things at the same time
appetising Thai dish - delicious Thai food
assume - to accept something as true without proof
mention in the same breath and many people will assume you're about to give the recipe for some appetising Thai dish.

annoyance - something  that makes life unpleasant and unenjoyable
stagnant - water that is not been moving for a long time and smells bad

ideal
- the best possible ดีที่สุด ที่เป็นอุดมคติ
breeding
- the keeping of animals or plants in order to produce young animals from them การผสมพันธุ์สัตว์เพื่อขยายพันธุ์
ideal breeding ground - the perfect place for an animal to make more animals

larva -
the form an insect takes after it has left the egg but before becoming an adult
larvae - plural; more than one larva

stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for the insect's larvae

mosquitoes are normally a major annoyance for flood-hit communities since stagnant water is an ideal breeding ground for the insect's larvae.

essence
- the most important part of something, usually the part that gives it its general character แก่น

ward off -
drive away; prevent from coming near
ward off pests - drive away insects that annoy and harm

commercial
- for business purposes
commercial chemical repellents - mosquito repellents bought in the store made from chemicals

the good thing about using
essence of kraprao leaves or turmeric root to ward off this pest is that both plants are easy to find and relatively safe to use compared to commercial chemical repellents

advantage - a condition giving a greater chance of success ความได้เปรียบ
simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
another advantage was that the method for extracting the essence was very simple.

anti-mosquito properties

hanuman prasan kai
, a decorative shrub in the Araliaceae family, and myrtle grass - called waan nam in Thai.

rinse -
remove - to take something away เอาออกจาก
rinse the plant of your choice to remove any earth

evaporating - causing a liquid to change to a gas กลายเป็นไอ
remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid to keep the extract from evaporating.

cool - เย็น
scoop X into Y - take amounts of X with a spoon (for example) and put it in Y
contents - what is inside something จำนวนของสิ่งที่บรรจุอยู่

strainer - used in the kitchen to remove water from food เครื่องกรอง
strainer lined with a square of muslin cloth

when cool, scoop the contents of the pan into a strainer lined with a square of muslin cloth and allow the liquid to drip into a small bottle

keep away from direct sunlight.
keep at room temperature away from direct sunlight

pharmacist
- a person specially trained to make and sell drugs to treat illnesses (See Wikipedia)

application - putting or spreading onto something (here: the skin)
application of home-made repellent

urged - requested them to do, advised someone very strongly about what action should be taken วิงวอน
measures - actions taken to deal with a problem มาตราการ

risk
- danger, how likely or possible it is for a bad event that causes harm and damage ความเสี่ยง

borne
- carried ถือ หรือนำไป (อัญเชิญ ประดิษฐาน)
mosquito-borne diseases - diseases that are carried by mosquitos

urged
people to take other preventive measures to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases

puddle - a small area of water on the road or other surface แอ่งน้ำขนาดเล็ก, หล่ม, บ่อดิน

receptacles - a container or holder
standing water -
water that is not moving (at rest, standing still)
receptacles holding standing water

vicinity - an area near a particular place บริเวณใกล้เคียง
in the vicinity of one's home - near or around your home
receptacles holding standing water in the vicinity of one's home

grounds - the area surrounding a building or where some activity takes place บริเวณ,เขต,สถานที่
breeding grounds - an area where animals breed (have babies and making more and more animals)
serve as breeding grounds for the insect

making sure there are no puddles or receptacles holding standing water in the vicinity of one's home which can serve as breeding grounds for the insect

fragrance - a sweet or pleasant smell กลิ่นหอม
fragrance-free lotion - has no sweet smell

evacuation
- moving people from a place of danger to a safer place การอพยพ
flood-evacuation centres

distributed - made available to to many places (example: product distributed to customers through stores and middlemen)
distributed to several flood-evacuation centres

leech -
small animals that attach onto skin and drink the blood of animals and people (See Wikipedia)
can also be used against
leeches

the offending creature - the animal that is doing harm to you
a few drops of lotion on the offending creature makes it much easier to remove from one's skin.

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