• Keeping Ticks at Bay — Turmeric Oil Can Help


Keeping Ticks at Bay — Turmeric Oil Can Help

May 01 2018

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that is used to flavour many dishes in the kitchen. Used in many Asian recipes, turmeric adds a bright yellow colour and a warm flavour to curries, fish dishes and chutneys. It also has many reported health benefits and is sold not only in the spice aisle of the supermarket but in many health food shops.

Now, a team of scientists from the University of Bristol have found another potential use for this spice. In the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, they report on a study looking into the impact essential oils can have in preventing ticks potentially attaching themselves to animals and spreading disease. In the paper Preventing tick attachment to dogs using essential oils they report that turmeric oil was the best in preventing tick attack.

Not a friend of man’s best friend

Ticks — Ixodes ricinus — are a hard-bodied insect that are common in Europe. Ticks are quite an obnoxious little pest that hide in grass and woodlands and attach themselves to passing animals. When they have climbed up the hair of the unsuspecting animals to their flesh, the ticks take a nice bite and suck the blood of the animal. They particularly like dogs — and they can cause some nasty diseases.

Ticks can carry a range of diseases that are risky for our faithful pets. Lyme disease and a potentially fatal condition known as canine babesiosis are two examples. Such is the concern for pet owners and among vets, that in April 2015 The Big Tick Project was launched.

The Big Tick Project

The Big Tick Project is a collaboration between MSD Animal Health — a company hoping to provide solutions to the problems of animal disease — and the University of Bristol. The project was launched in 2015 and is described as ‘the largest ever veterinary study of ticks and tick-borne disease in the UK’. The project was started to raise awareness about the dangers of the pesky ticks and to help educate pet-owners on how to look after their pets and stop them becoming a tick’s lunch.

At the start of the project, over 1400 dogs who attended vet’s practices were examined for ticks. They found that both rural and urban dogs were at risk of ticks and that almost a third of dogs carried at least one tick. The latest research was to investigate whether essential oils can help to protect dogs from ticks.

Essential oils can help

The team found that turmeric oil was the best deterrent to ticks in the trials they carried out — even better than the most commonly used ingredient in tick repellents. They carried out the tests by dragging blankets coated in essential oils and repellents through undergrowth and counting the ticks collected.

Examining environmental samples is commonly carried out using chromatography — the following article gives a good example, Comprehensive, Non-Target Characterisation of Blinded Environmental Exposome Standards Using GCxGC and High Resolution Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry.

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