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Herbs ‘Can Be Natural Pesticides’

Herbs ‘Can Be Natural Pesticides’

Posted in Breaking News, Health
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Herbs 'Can Be Natural Pesticides'
pot_of_herbs(OrganicJar) Common herbs and spices show promise as an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional pesticides, scientists have told a major US conference.

They have spent a decade researching the insecticidal properties of rosemary, thyme, clove and mint.

They could become a key weapon against insect pests in organic agriculture, the researchers say, as the industry attempts to satisfy demand.

The “plant essential oils” have a broad range of action against bugs. Some kill them outright while others repel them.

Details were presented at the Fall Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington DC. These new pesticides are generally a mixture of tiny amounts of two to four different herbs diluted in water.

The research was led by Dr Murray Isman, from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Some spice-based commercial products now being used by farmers have already shown success in protecting organic strawberry, spinach, and tomato crops against destructive aphids and mites, Dr Isman explained.

“These products expand the limited arsenal of organic growers to combat pests,” he said.

“They’re still only a small piece of the insecticide market, but they’re growing and gaining momentum.”

Unlike conventional pesticides, these “killer spices” do not require more limited approval from regulatory bodies and are readily available.

An additional advantage is that insects are less likely to evolve resistance – the ability to shrug off once-effective toxins – Isman says. They’re also safer for farm workers, who are at high risk for pesticide exposure, he notes.

But the herb-based pesticides also have shortcomings.

Since the essential oils made from these herbs tend to evaporate quickly and degrade rapidly in sunlight, farmers need to apply them to crops more frequently than conventional pesticides.

Some last only a few hours, compared to days or even months for conventional pesticides.

As they are also generally less potent than conventional pesticides, they must be applied in higher concentrations to achieve acceptable levels of pest control, Dr Isman said.

Researchers are now seeking ways of making the novel pesticides longer-lasting and more potent, he added. “It comes down to what’s good for the environment and what’s good for human health.”

Source: news.bbc.co.uk

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  1. great article! Companion planting is a great way to utilize the benefits of herbs without the problem of evaporation. Companion planting means planting certain plants next to others. For example, Basil works great with Tomatoes.

  2. I just want to say how impressed I am with this website! I am taking a medicinal herbology course at Brit Inst of Homeopathy in the new year and can’t wait! You are giving me lots of food for thougth! Do you have any articles of Barbadensis Aloe Vera? Would love to see some research data on this.


  3. I use essential oils when doing aromatherapy. Essential oils are very soothing.:’-

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