Effectiveness of plant-based repellents against different Anopheles species: a systematic review

Malar J. 2019 Dec 21;18(1):436. doi: 10.1186/s12936-019-3064-8.


Plant-based repellents have been applied for generations in traditional practice as a personal protection approach against different species of Anopheles. Knowledge of traditional repellent plants is a significant resource for the development of new natural products as an alternative to chemical repellents. Many studies have reported evidence of repellant activities of plant extracts or essential oils against malaria vectors worldwide. This systematic review aimed to assess the effectiveness of plant-based repellents against Anopheles mosquitoes. All eligible studies on the repellency effects of plants against Anopheles mosquitoes published up to July 2018 were systematically searched through PubMed/Medline, Scopus and Google scholar databases. Outcomes measures were percentage repellency and protection time. A total of 62 trials met the inclusion criteria. The highest repellency effect was identified from Ligusticum sinense extract, followed by citronella, pine, Dalbergia sissoo, peppermint and Rhizophora mucronata oils with complete protection time ranging from 9.1 to 11.5 h. Furthermore, essential oils from plants such as lavender, camphor, catnip, geranium, jasmine, broad-leaved eucalyptus, lemongrass, lemon-scented eucalyptus, amyris, narrow-leaved eucalyptus, carotin, cedarwood, chamomile, cinnamon oil, juniper, cajeput, soya bean, rosemary, niaouli, olive, tagetes, violet, sandalwood, litsea, galbanum, and Curcuma longa also showed good repellency with 8 h complete repellency against different species of Anopheles. Essential oils and extracts of some plants could be formulated for the development of eco-friendly repellents against Anopheles species. Plant oils may serve as suitable alternatives to synthetic repellents in the future as they are relatively safe, inexpensive, and are readily available in many parts of the world.

Keywords: Anopheles; Herb; Plant; Repellency; Repellent; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles*
  • Insect Repellents*
  • Mosquito Control* / methods
  • Oils, Volatile*
  • Plant Extracts*


  • Insect Repellents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Extracts