Eucalyptus citriodora, PMD, P-menthane-3,8-diol or Citriodol®,
a natural repellent
What is Eucalyptus citriodora ?
It goes by many names : p-menthane-3,8-diol, paramenthane-3,8-diol, PMD, menthoglycol or Citriodol®. In fact, all these names correspond to a molecule contained in the essential oil of lemon eucalyptus (eucalyptus citriodora).
It is a repellent naturally present in very small quantities in the essential oil of the leaves of the lemon eucalyptus (Corymbia citriodora), a tree endogenous to Australia, but now cultivated in most of the world's hot spots.
This essential oil is known in the United States as "oil of lemon eucalyptus".
It has been registered under the European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) 98/8/EC.
It is the only derivative of an active natural compound that can be used as an insect repellent in the United States and Europe.
This product is used in repellent products that can be applied to the skin, clothing or other surfaces to repel insects such as mosquitoes.
Is Eucalyptus citriodora toxic ?
When used in accordance with the instructions on the label, eucalyptus citriodora is not considered a hazardous substance for humans or the environment.
Risks to human health
Eucalyptus citriodora is in toxicity category 4 (practically non-toxic) for oral, skin and dermal irritation, but in toxicity category 2 (moderately toxic) for eye irritation. As a result, it is generally safe to use, but care should be taken to keep it out of the eyes, especially with young children. When using this type of product, there are a few basic rules to follow :
- Do not get it in your eyes
- Do not apply to the face or hands of small children.
- Do not spray directly onto or near the face, but spread over the face and neck with your hand.
Risk to the environment
Due to its low toxicity and limited use, Eucalyptus citriodora is not considered harmful to the environment.
Effectiveness of Eucalyptus citriodora
DEET has been the benchmark for body repellents for many years. It is a chemical that has been used in insect repellents for decades. But it is also highly controversial.
Eucalyptus citriodora has been shown to be as effective as DEET in terms of duration of action and repellent effect. In addition, Eucalyptus citriodora extract is approved as a repellent against tropical mosquitoes.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has recognised 'Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus' (OLE) as the only natural substance derived to repel mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.
This natural active ingredient is effective against a wide range of flying and crawling sucking insects that seek to bite you for food. It repels mosquitoes, gnats, sand flies, biting flies and fleas, as well as ticks, leeches, bedbugs, augusts, flies, ants, etc.
Does it work on all insects ?
In general, it works well on most insects. However, it is much less effective against spiders and certain stinging insects such as bees, wasps and hornets.
But whatever the active ingredient or concentration, no repellent is 100% effective, since one in 4 or 5 stings will be through clothing.
Effectiveness and duration of action vary widely depending on the concentration of the product, and to date there has been no evidence of 'mosquito resistance' or of repellents losing their effectiveness over time.
This natural active ingredient is effective against a wide range of sucking, flying and crawling insects. In particular, it repels mosquitoes, midges, sand flies, biting flies, fleas, leeches, bedbugs, augusts, ants...
... and many species of mosquito, potential vectors of infectious diseases :
- the aedes aegypti mosquito : vector of yellow fever
- the anopheles gambiae and anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes : vectors of malaria
- the tiger mosquito or aedes albopictus : vector of chikungunya, dengue fever and zika
- the Culex pipiens mosquito : vector of West Nile virus
- Ticks : vectors of Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis.
Natural or synthetic PMD ?
PMD can also be synthesised, but one study shows that repellents using mixtures of synthetic PMD are not as effective as those containing natural mixtures.
This observation is generally applicable to all molecules that are synthesised. For example, eucalyptol is known to be less effective than eucalyptus.
In 2009, the French Ministry of Health deemed products composed of the following four main molecules to be effective as body mosquito repellents: DEET, picaridin (icaridin), IR3535 and P-menthane diol (PMD).
Some formulations contain essential oils, but their use is not recommended.
If necessary, the sun protection must have penetrated the skin and a 20-minute delay is recommended before applying the repellent.
PMD and children under 30 months ?
PMD, which comes from the essential oil of eucalyptus citriodora, appeared in the IRD (Institut Recherche Développement) table of January 2006 for use from 3 months.
The main biochemical constituents of eucalyptus citriodora are terpenes: monoterpenes, monoterpenols, terpenes and sesquiterpenes, including citronellal (>74%).
Afssaps advises against the use of terpene-based products in children under 30 months of age due to the risk of convulsions (an exceptional effect, however, depending on the dose administered).
As PMD has a similar molecular structure and contains terpenes (0.35%), Afssaps, as a precautionary measure and pending further information, has decided not to recommend PMD for children under 30 months. So far, however, no cases of neurotoxicity have been recorded, and no adverse effects were reported during the chikungunya epidemics in Réunion in 2006, when over 100,000 PMD-based packs were dispensed to the population.
Natural body protection against insects
We offer 6 body protection products, with Eucalpytus citriodora as the main active ingredient :
1 - Penntybio anti-insect lotion spray for the skin, concentrated at 25% PMD. It contains no gas, synthetic products or alcohol, just vegetable oil. It can be used to repel all biting and sucking insects, protecting you from their bites (bedbugs, mosquitoes, ticks, red lice, etc). Available in 50ml or 125ml.
2 - Penntybio Anti-Insect Skin Roller. With a dual function, keeping biting insects at bay with lemon eucalyptus, but also moisturising the skin with aloe vera. Easy to apply thanks to its roll-on ball.
3 - ARIES mosquito repellent skin balm. This skin repellent balm provides gentle protection against mosquitoes for 4 hours. The combination of moisturising active ingredients such as almond and shea combined with the repellent properties of lemon eucalyptus.
4 - ARIES skin mosquito repellent lotion, concentrated with 20% PMD. Effective against European and tropical mosquitoes. Propellant-free, compressed-air spray, 100% active product. Free from synthetic products.
5 - ARIES Anti-tic skin lotion, concentrated with 20% PMD. The natural solution, specially designed to effectively protect your skin against tick bites. Propellant-free, compressed-air spray, 100% active product. Free from synthetic products.
6 - ARIES moisturising anti-mosquito lotion, concentrated with 13.2% PMD. Effective against European and tropical mosquitoes. Protects against mosquitoes and moisturises your skin at the same time, thanks to the shea butter it contains. Propellant-free, compressed-air spray, 100% active product. Free from synthetic products. Provides up to 6 hours of protection.