Study: Spearmint Essential Oil Against Mosquito Larvae

I was looking up some studies on the essential oil of spearmint and came across an interesting study on the use of spearmint oil to kill mosquito larvae. Now while I am not at all recommending nor suggesting to put spearmint essential oil in a pond or other type of wetland because it will also be toxic to beneficial insects as well as frogs, reptiles and fish; it is still a piece of really interesting science.

Chemical composition and larvicidal activity of essential oil from Mentha spicata (Linn.) against three mosquito species.

Govindarajan M, Sivakumar R, Rajeswari M, Yogalakshmi K.

Source: Division of Vector Biology and Phytochemistry, Department of Zoology, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, 608 002, Tamilnadu, India.


Mosquitoes are blood-feeding insects and serve as the most important vectors for spreading human diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and filariasis. The continued use of synthetic insecticides has resulted in resistance in mosquitoes. Synthetic insecticides are toxic and affect the environment by contaminating soil, water, and air, and then natural products may be an alternative to synthetic insecticides because they are effective, biodegradable, eco-friendly, and safe to environment. Botanical origin may serve as suitable alternative biocontrol techniques in the future. Mentha spicata, an edible and medicinal plant, is chiefly distributed in Southeast Asia and South Asia. In the present study, the toxicity of mosquito larvicidal activity of leaf essential oil (EO) and their major chemical constituents from Mentha spicata against Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes aegypti, and Anopheles stephensi. The chemical composition of the leaf EO was analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS). GC-MS revealed that the EO of M. spicata contained 18 compounds. The major chemical components identified were carvone (48.60%), cis-carveol (21.30%), and limonene (11.30%). The EO had a significant toxic effect against early third-stage larvae of C. quinquefasciatus, A. aegypti, and A. stephensi with LC(50) values of 62.62, 56.08, and 49.71 ppm and LC(90) values of 118.70, 110.28, and 100.99 ppm, respectively. The three major pure constituents extracted from the M. spicata leaf EO were also tested individually against three mosquito larvae. The LC(50) values of carvone, cis-carveol, and limonene appeared to be most effective against A. stephensi (LC(50) 19.33, 28.50, and 8.83 ppm) followed by A. aegypti (LC(50) 23.69, 32.88, and 12.01 ppm), and C. quinquefasciatus (LC(50) 25.47, 35.20, and 14.07 ppm). The results could be useful in search for newer, safer, and more effective natural larvicidal agents against C. quinquefasciatus, A. aegypti, and A. stephensi.

PMID: 22139403 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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