Tansy in, Bugs out
By Shoshanna Easling - May 27, 2002
Mom and Dad view foreign missions as a mandate from God. After all, God did say, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. When my older sister Rebekah was just 17, she went to Papua New Guinea on a short-term mission outreach. While there, she saw the need for the translation of Scriptures into the Kumboi language. She came back to America to study linguistics and prepare herself to do that job. Although I was only 7 years old at the time, I remember when my sister returned with her horrid tales of jungle life. She had stories of ants, lice, spiders, bugs, and all sorts of little things that would crawl into your sleeping bag and your clothes. The stories she told sent creeping chills up and down my spine. Imagine trying to sleep with bugs climbing in and out as they please. American bugs are bad enough, but the thought of foreign bugs! Think about waking and seeing a big, black spider just six inches from your face, staring at you out of unblinking green eyes, with vicious fangs, long hairy legs, and a red dot on its back. As you scream “NOOOOOO,” you hope you are just dreaming, but you realize you aren’t, worst of all, the night has just begun. Get the picture? You can see that Rebekah needed a remedy before she went back to the ends of the earth. So Dr. Deb (Mom) was consulted. She searched her books, the library, and the web to find a natural and safe solution. Dr. Deb discovered TANSY! Mom found out that housewives in the Dark Ages used tansy in a variety of ways. They would scatter it across the floor to keep the pests away. They also hung it from the rafters, packed it between bed sheets and mattresses, and rubbed it on meat to discourage lice, flies, and other varmints. In these modern times, do we still have a use for tansy? Well, we still have bugs, and tansy is a wonderful bug repellent. When Rebekah finished her training and went back to Papua New Guinea, Mom packed several socks with dried tansy. Beka put one herbal sock in her sleeping bag, the other in her duffel bag, and made tea of it as well to use on her hair and body. The tribal people were very “huggy,” and they were constantly playing with the white girl's funny long hair. During Beka’s three-year stay, the herb worked so well that she never contracted lice or scabies. And as for those little bugs and ugly spiders that plagued her on that first trip, well, they fled from the tansy, never to be seen in Beka's bed again.