Citronella oil is one of the essential oils obtained from the leaves and
stems of different species of Cymbopogon (lemongrass).
It is a volatile oil which is distilled using steam from the
greenish blue, lemon-scented leaves and stem of the plant Cymbopogon nardus
(Ceylon citronella) or Cymbopogon winteratus
(Java type citronella) with the main constituents being citronellal and
Citronella oil is categorised into two types:
The Ceylon citronella oil was the more widely produced citronella oil,
until the beginning of this century.
However, the Java citronella oil slowly began to show dominance in
the market because of its higher yield of oil.
Ceylon citronella oil - obtained from Cymbopogon nardus Rendle, (inferior type)
Java citronella oil - obtained from Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt,
Characteristics Of Citronella Oil
Citronella oil is a flammable colourless or light yellow liquid with
a characteristic woody, grassy or lemony odour.
Citronella oil may be harmful if ingested in quantity and may irritate
the skin and eyes.
However, it is not believed to be hazardous to humans, including children
and those with sensitive skin, if used according to label instructions.
Citronella oil has been widely used since the 1950s without any adverse
Citronella oil has minimal or no risk to wildlife and environment due to
its toxic levels being low and its use being limited.
Therefore, it can be used around the home with no expected adverse effects.
Uses of Citronella Essential Oil
The oil is used extensively as a source of perfumery chemicals such as
citronellal, citronellol and geraniol.
These chemicals find extensive use in soap, candles and incense, perfumery,
cosmetic and flavouring industries throughout the world.
Citronella essential oil possesses activating and warming qualities
both physically and mentally.
The aroma is said to be like its relatives lemongrass and palmarosa.
However, citronella oil is overlooked in aromatherapy because of its
association with insect repellency.
When citronella oil is diluted properly in a base oil and is applied to skin,
it produces a mild sensation of warmth - which relieves painful muscles
Mentally, the aroma of citronella oil may help with nervous fatigue due
to its clarifying properties.
It can also ease the pressure of migraines and headaches.
- Insect Repellent:
Citronella oil is also a renowned plant-based insect repellent, and has
been registered for this use in the United States since 1948.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers oil of
citronella as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.
Citronella oil repels insects such as mosquitoes, black flies, fleas
and ticks, therefore, preventing their bites.
It is used on humans and their clothing - in the form of an oil, liquid
Citronella oil is a natural, non-toxic alternative to chemical insect
repellents such as DEET , therefore, is usually the preferred choice.
Also available are solid products such as citronella oil insect repelling
candles and cartridges.
Citronella oil is also used in a tablet or pellet form in recreational
or outdoor household areas and around trees and shrubs.
In addition, there are animal collars and tags containing citronella oil
for pets and other domestic animals to repel fleas.
- To keep mosquitoes at bay, add 4 drops Citronella, 2 drops
Patchouli and 4 drops Himalayan Cedarwood to 20g/4tsp Skin Mousse
and apply it as an insect repellent to exposed areas of skin.
A combination of the citronella oil and cedarwood virginian oil also helps
to repel mosquitoes.
Citronella oil is effective in stopping dogs from barking and has even
been used as a successful
spray on deterrent against pets destroying household items.
Citronella oil is an astringent and if used correctly it may help with
oily skin areas.
Use a single drop of citronella oil on the skin (usually inner forearm)
to test for irritation.
Apply two or three drops of citronella oil to a cotton ball and gently
wipe the excess oil off the skin.
Then complete your regular facial routine.
Add these essential oils to 20ml (4 tsp) carrier oil.
- Blend 1: To lift the spirits and relieve anxiety
|4 drops Citronella|
|2 drops Neroli|
|4 drops Sandalwood|
- Blend 2: To enable clear thinking
|4 drops Citronella|
|2 drops Patchouli|
|4 drops Bergamot Mint|
Supporting the Spirit
Citronella has a very enlivening and harmonising aroma.
- Citronella provides gentle nurturing during periods of self-doubt.
- It lightens heavy emotional burdens and encourages hopefulness.
Easing the Mind
- To ease anxiety, sadness or depression use Blend 1 above and rub
it into your neck and shoulders.
- To lift confusion and relieve stress, helping you to see a clear
path, use Blend 2 above
and gently rub the blend into the areas where you store tension.
Healing the Body
In the throat and nasal area, it has an inhibiting effect on infections and
relieves coughing, hoarseness and other symptoms caused by colds.
- To ease physical exhaustion, take a bath with 2 drops Citronella
and 4 drops Myrtle.
- To soothe indigestion and boost a sluggish digestive system,
dilute 4 drops Citronella and 6 drops Spearmint in 20ml/4 tsp carrier
oil and apply the blend to your abdomen twice a day, using gentle,
- The Essential Oils Handbook, Jennie Harding, Watkins Publishing,