Spices that kill

Killer spices: Rosemary, Mint, and Thyme

If you like to cook, or just enjoy a good meal, than you’re probably a fan of spices such as rosemary, thyme, clove, and mint. Turns out these seasonings can be deadly… to bugs. A group of Canadian scientists are researching the insecticidal value of these spices, and that could be good news for farmers looking to meet growing demand for organic fruits and vegetables. In a presentation at the American Chemical Society, the University of British Columbia’s Murray Isman noted several advantages to pesticides based on essential oils from these plants:

  • They don’t require extensive regulatory approval;
  • Insects are less likely to evolve resistance;
  • They’re safe for farm workers.

Isman did note that his team hasn’t quite discovered the “Holy Grail” of natural pesticides: they don’t work as well on pests like caterpillars, grasshoppers, and beetles. They also require more frequent applications, and higher concentrations, than their chemically-based cousins. Still, Isman and team are hopeful: “These products expand the limited arsenal of organic growers to combat pests… They’re still only a small piece of the insecticide market, but they’re growing and gaining momentum.”

via EurekAlert

Image credits: geishaboy500, thebittenword.com, and Zoonie at Flickr under a Creative Commons license