Citronella oil is an essential oil which is extracted from various species of lemongrass leaves. It's from the same family as Lemongrass which is also known as Cymbopogon. It is a tropical island plant and part of the grass family. Lemongrass is mainly cultivated for use in cooking or for its medicinal uses. Aesthetically, the plant looks very much like lemongrass. Our focus isn't the plant itself, but the great oil extracted from the leaves and the stem!
Citronella oil is extracted through the steam distillation of some specific species of grasses within the Cymbopogon plant group. Ceylon or Lenabatu citronella oil is produced from Cymbopogon nardus, and Java or Maha Pengiri citronella oil is produced from Cymbopogon winterianus. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) also belongs to this grouping of plants, but it is not used to make citronella oil
There are two types of Citronella oil based on the plant they are extracted from:
- Ceylon: - Ceylon Citronella oil is extracted from Cymbopogon nardus (Rendle). This oil is produced from Cymbopogon nardus. It has a dark yellow color and is originally from Sri Lanka.
- Java: - Java Citronella oil, also known as Maha Pengiri Citronella Oil is extracted from Cymbopogon winterianus (Jowitt). Similar to the Ceylon type, it has a lemony scent but has a darker color in comparison. This type of oil originates from Indonesia and also Sri Lanka.
ABOUT THE OIL
Although Citronella has much to offer, the most well-known characteristics that this oil possesses are its antiseptic, antifungal and deodorizing properties.
Out of the 4000 tons of Citronella oil extracted every year, the primary producers of this oil are Indonesia and China followed by smaller-scale producers such as like Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico and much more.
Let's take a look at the various properties of Citronella oil and how it can benefit us in our everyday lives:
- Insect Repellant: - We've mentioned how Citronella is very commonly used in pesticides. Instead of killing insects or any such pests, the oil repels them by overshadowing smells that are attractive to insects with its lemony fragrance. You can apply the oil directly on your skin to keep all those pesky bugs away. It's completely non-toxic and very safe to use. It's a great natural solution and smells way better than store-bought aerosol sprays.
- Antibacterial Properties: - The components contained within Citronella oil, such as methyl isoeugenol makes it perfect for killing bacteria and fighting any further growth. The oil can be used for your colon, bladder or stomach to keep them all bacteria-free and clean! If you've got a wound that needs treating, Citronella oil could prevent any infections from occurring.
- Antispasmodic Properties: - After a tough day of heavy lifting or exercising, it's common to feel body pains and experience muscle spasm. The quick and sharp pains of spasms are no joke. Citronella essential oil is great for relieving such spasms related to your muscles, your respiratory system to even menstrual spasms in women. This medicinal oil covers all bases!
- Antidepressant Properties: - In our everyday lives, we all have moments when we feel down and go through phases of stress. Through the use of Citronella oil via aromatherapy, you could fight off such feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress and induce positive and happy thoughts. The fragrance of the oil not only sets up a great smelling environment, it also makes you feel fresher and healthier mentally by uplifting your spirits! It's much better than over the counter antidepressants which could have long-term side effects and may induce addiction.
- Deodorizing Properties: - Citronella oil is from the same family as Lemongrass, which is why it has a lemony essence to it. It smells great, so it's no surprise that it could be used as a deodorant. The fragrant citrusy essence of Citronella can drive away all your body odors and keep you germ-free. You could also add the oil to your baths for greater effect! Go ahead and ditch all your artificial deodorants which contain tons of harmful chemicals and go the natural route to smelling great! Who doesn't love the smell of lemons?
Before using the oil, you must note that there are precautions to using it. Before applying the oil on your skin, be sure to use it small quantities because too much of the oil may cause skin irritations.
- Anti-inflammatory Properties: - Citronella essential oil is a great cure for inflammations in the liver, stomach or any part of the digestive system. Applying the oil topically on your skin in the regions where you've been affected can provide you fast relief. Furthermore, inflammations caused by consumption of spicy food or excessive use of alcohol are also reduced with this citrusy oil!
- Diaphoretic Properties: - If you're dealing with a bad fever, the diaphoretic characteristics of Citronella Oil are just right for removing toxins and fats from the body as it induces sweating. This helps make your body feel lighter, reduces your fever and protects you from any infections.
- Diuretic Properties: - The diuretic properties of Citronella Essential Oil will increase the number of times you urinate in a day. This helps your body get rid of all the toxins such as uric acid and bile and other waste substances. This helps in maintaining better health, reducing weight, prevent any infections in the urinary system and improve your digestion.
- Febrifuge Properties: - The combination of Citronella's diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties makes the oil an effective medicine for lowering body temperatures and fighting fever!
- Fungicidal Properties: - Citronella essential oil has fungicidal properties that remove fungus and stop it from spreading and growing. Whether you have fungus problems in your ears, nose, throat or any other part of your body, applying a little Citronella oil does the trick to fix you right up!
- Vermifuge Properties: - A lot of children face problems with intestinal worms that hinder absorption of nutrients in the body and affects mental and physical growth. Citronella oil is extremely effective in killing such worms to bring back normalcy to the user's body.
- Stomachic Properties: - Citronella has many properties that allow it to keep germs away. The same applies to your stomach. The oil clears up your stomach, steers it clear of any infections and helps you maintain a healthy digestive system.
- Stimulant Properties: - Like many other essential oils, Citronella oil is also a stimulant. The oil stimulates blood circulation and discharges from the glands. It increases levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body boosting the immune system and metabolism of the body.
- Tonic Properties: - Citronella essential oil also behaves as a tonic that promotes the general well-being of the body and its health. It tunes up and optimizes the digestive system, the nervous system and the brain along with your body.
- Helps Fight Diabetes: - In 2013, The International Food Research Journal published a study about the relationship between Citronella oil and diabetes. The study shows how the oil reduces the activity of the enzyme α-amylase. By inhibiting this enzyme, Citronella oil helps lower the glucose level in diabetic patients.
Using Citronella Essential Oil via aromatherapy can help you solve the following problems:
- Feelings of fatigue
- Arthritis Pain
- Slower Heart-beat
- Stomach pains
- Intestinal Parasites
- Excessive Perspiration
- Oily Skin/Hair
No matter where you live, mosquitoes are always a problem. We've mentioned above how Citronella Oil is great for repelling insects. Here's how to use the oil to make a repellant:
- Grab a 4-ounce spray bottle and fill it up with about 2 ounces of boiled water.
- Add in an ounce of vodka to the boiled water.
- Follow up the vodka with about 50 to 75 drops of Citronella Essential Oil.
- Please note that you must not fill up the bottle completely so that you are able to shake the mixture before each use. This step is highly important because essential oils do not dissolve in water. So you must shake the bottle before every use for maximum effectiveness!
- Citronella oil is also good for your hair's health. It can be used as a conditioner for your scalp and hair. You can mix the oil with your shampoo and use it. Citronella oil is most effective for removing the oiliness on the scalp. Just load up some citronella in a spray bottle and spray, it will take away the greasiness of hair.
Citronella essential oil brings a wide range of uses to the table. If you have muscle pains, just dilute citronella oil in a base oil and apply on your skin. If you're feeling fatigued, take a bath with a few drops of citronella oil and get refreshed! If you're dealing with skin problems, just douse a cotton ball in the oil and apply on affected areas. Aromatherapy with citronella oil can help you get rid of headaches, migraines and promotes better mental health.
Citronella oil is completely non-toxic, but like any other essential oil, there are precautions that you need to know about before you go ahead and use the oil. They are as follows:
- Avoid using pure Citronella oil on your skin as that can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations. This is especially true for people with extremely sensitive skin.
- During the time of pregnancy, women's skin tends to be more sensitive than normal. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid using citronella oil or consult a physician before doing so. Usually using the oil is pretty much harmless, but it's better to be safe than sorry!
- It's highly recommended to not use Citronella oil on babies due to their delicate skin.
In this DIY era, a lot of people have started realizing the power and value of natural resources like essential oils. It's no surprise because over the decades a lot of store-bought or over the counter remedies made by large companies have failed at delivering products more superior to their natural counterparts. Whether we're talking about medicines, lotions, soaps or insect repellants, all store products contain a bunch of chemicals that are unknown to us. What's scary is that along with the chemical compositions of these products, the side effects are also unknown to us.
We as consumers should opt out of being in the dark about what we use on our body and instead we should focus on all the natural solutions that are around us. There's a wide variety of essential oils that are available to us, each with its own unique benefits. Citronella Essential Oil is no different. These oils are special as they not only help us maintain great physical health but also sound mental health.
The current generation is a generation of fast living. We want our food, medicine and entertainment fast and right away. But such a lifestyle brings with it many adverse effects! In the hustle and bustle of city life, sometimes we need to just chill out and relax. But that's easier said than done, right?
All you need is aromatherapy. Just set up a diffuser or a steam bath with Citronella oil. The next step is the easiest! Just sit back, relax and let the beautiful fragrances of Citronella oil do its magic. It will help you relieve all your stress, refresh your mind and will uplift your mood and spirits. The biggest plus point here is that this oil is better and more effective than any anti-depressant you'll find in the market. Also, antidepressants are known to cause many side effects in the long run.
Due to the lack of awareness regarding such essential oils like Citronella, we don't find many households or individuals incorporating this into their lives. But, things are changing. More and more people are losing hope on the medicines and remedies produced by big corporations and are demanding for natural solutions to their problems! If you want to make a change in your lifestyle for the better, why not opt for something natural?
- "The Origin of Citronella Oil" Anjou, http://www.anjou.com/blog/2016/8/5/the-origin-of-citronella-oil.
- “Citronella essential oil information” Esoteric Oils, http://essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/citronella.htm.
- “5 WAYS THAT ESSENTIAL OILS HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE” The Prairie Homestead, http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/04/5-ways-that-essential-oils-have-changed-my-life.html.
- “Citronella Essential Oil” Young Living Essential Oils, https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/citronella-essential-oil.
- “Citronella Essential Oil Benefits, Uses and Side Effects” The Fusion Model, https://www.thefusionmodel.com/citronella-essential-oil-benefits-uses-and-side-effects/.
- “15 Incredible Benefits Of Citronella Essential Oil” Organic Facts, https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-citronella-essential-oil.html.
- “Citronella Oil: More Than Just a Bug Repellent” Mercola, http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/citronella-oil.aspx.
- “Citronella Essential Oil” Mountain Rose Herbs, https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/citronella-essential-oil/profile.
- “Citronella oil” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citronella_oil.
- “8 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Citronella Oil” Interesting Facts, http://interestingfacts-today.blogspot.com/2013/06/citronella-oil.html.
- “Determination of antioxidant capacity and α-amylase inhibitory activity of the essential oils from citronella grass and lemongrass” International Food Research Journal, http://www.ifrj.upm.edu.my/20%20(01)%202013/65%20IFRJ%2020%20(01)%202013%20Chanthai%20(121).pdf.
- “Citronella Oil” Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-627-citronella%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=627&activeingredientname=citronella%20oil.