Here is a piece of good news for those plagued by dengue and chikungunya. Two schoolgirls in a remote Assam town have come up with a herbal concoction that is reportedly more effective in driving away mosquitoes than all those coils, mats and liquidisers put together.
Sick of the buzzing stingers, Swagata Hazarika, 13, and her sister Anindita, students of Kushal Konwar Balyabhavan in Golaghat, decided one day to work on a mosquito repellant without “side-effects” on humans or the environment.
They tried mixing and matching an assortment of leaves and natural substances for a couple of months till they hit on the perfect combination. Apart from tulsi and cow dung powder that went into the potion, the sisters have kept the other ingredients a secret. But, Swagata insists, the end product is eco-friendly.
According to her, the gooey mixture is sun-dried in the shape of chalk sticks. When lighted, it emits a pungent smoke that keeps mosquitoes at bay. The sisters’ formula was exhibited last month at an inter-school function. Locals who tried the anti-mosquito sticks claimed it was effective and less nauseating than chemical repellants. With news of the discovery spreading in a state troubled by malaria and encephalitis, educational institutes are inviting the sisters to showcase their mosquito repellant. They are keen on patenting their discovery but only after more feedback about its effectiveness.