Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winteratus

Citronella essential oil is extracted from the leaves and stems of the plant called Cymbopogon nardus (Ceylon citronella) by a process known as steam distillation. This volatile oil is also obtained from another species called Cymbopogon winteratus (Java type citronella). The leaves and stems of the first mentioned species have a greenish blue hue and their aroma is akin to that of lemon. Citronellal and geraniol are the two main constituents of citronella essential oil.

The aroma of citronella essential oil is akin to citrus and is commonly used to ward off mosquitoes. As a result, this essential oil is used in several mosquito sprays, making candles as well as other products that help to keep away the irritating mosquitoes.

In addition, the essential oil of citronella is also used in several cosmetics, perfumes as well as various household toiletries. This oil possesses certain properties that make it an important ingredient in several bug sprays and insecticides. In addition, it is also used to add flavour to foods and beverages.

The essential oil of citronella encloses compounds like methyl isoeugenol and some others which contribute to the anti-bacterial property of this oil. These compounds eliminate bacteria and, at the same time, restrain further growth of bacteria inside our body. In fact, this essential oil is especially useful for treating infected wounds. In addition, it has also been found to be effective for treating infections in the stomach, colon, intestines, kidneys, urinary bladder, urinary tracts, urethra and prostate.

Citronella essential oil also helps to combat depression and provides relief from anxiety, sorrow and various negative feelings. Use of this oil encourages hope, happiness and a feeling of freshness.

This oil possesses several other therapeutic properties and is effective in alleviating spasms related to the muscles, nervous system and the respiratory system. In addition, it is also beneficial for women, as its use helps to treat menstrual spasms and provides respite for other symptoms related to menstrual periods, such as cramps.

The essential oil of citronella is also useful for clearing the mind. At the same time it has a toning as well as stimulant action on our body. This essential oil is effective for treating flu, common colds and minor infections. This oil also possesses deodorizing property and, hence, helps to get rid of foul body odour.

Citronella essential oil also possesses sedative property and it helps to tranquilize inflammation, especially in situations that are related to the stomach, liver, intestines and other areas of the digestive system. Such inflammations may be caused by various reasons such as by drugs, using too much alcohol or narcotics, consuming hard and/ or spicy foods, any ailment or any toxic substance entering the body. Use of citronella essential oil helps to provide relief in all such situations.

The aroma of essential oil of citronella is crispy rich citrus and akin to that of lemon, helping to get rid of foul body odour. As a result, this oil is an important element of many deodorants as well as body sprays. However, this oil should always be used in small amounts, as large doses of the oil may result in skin irritations. Alternatively, it can also be blended with your bath water for an invigorating body odour after the bath.

This oil possesses diaphoretic attributes and, hence, its use helps to increase perspiration, thereby facilitating the removal of toxic substances and other harmful materials such as surplus water, salts, and fat from the body. Application of citronella essential oil will make your body feel lighter and, at the same time ensure the health of your skin. It is also effective in reducing body temperature during fevers. In addition, use of this oil helps to protect us from various types of infections.

The diaphoretic property of this essential oil augments the frequency and amount of urination, which, in turn, offers several health benefits. Apart from helping to eliminate toxic substances like uric acid, acids, excess bile and salts and waste materials like excessive water and fat deposits, the diaphoretic attribute of this oil also helps to reduce weight, get rid of infections from the urinary tract, and lessen the risks of developing renal calculi, arthritis, and rheumatism. At the same time, this oil encourages digestion and promotes the health of the heart.

The anti-inflammatory attribute of citronella essential oil helps to alleviate inflammation, while its anti-microbial attribute combats infections effectively. Add to it, the oil's diaphoretic property that helps to detoxify the body. Together, all these three properties of citronella essential oil combat fevers and bring down the body temperature.

The anti-microbial property of this essential oil not only eliminates fungi, but also restrains their fungal growth. It has been established that the use of citronella oil is effective in combating fungal infections inside the throat, nose and ear. People often contract fungal infections in their ears and it may turn out to be a serious condition. Apart from the above mentioned body parts, this oil also treats fungal infections in other areas of the body, in addition to curing fungal dysentery.

Citronella essential oil is also useful for eliminating infections from the stomach as well as other disorders related to the stomach, thereby helping it to function effectively.

The therapeutic properties of citronella essential oil apart, it is also an effective insect repellent. This oil is extensively used for repelling insects, as it has been found to be effective in killing as well as warding off insects. It has been found that citronella oil is especially effective in eliminating a specific mosquito species called Aedes Aegypti, which is responsible for yellow fever. This oil is effectual against lice and fleas.

Citronella essential oil possesses stimulating or tonic properties, which is useful in encouraging blood circulations, promoting secretions as well as discharges such as enzymes and hormones from the glands, stimulating the brain and boosting the nervous system's activities. At the same time, use of this essential oil boosts the mechanisms of the immune system and the body's metabolic activities.

When we say that citronella essential oil possesses tonic properties, we mean that the use of this oil has a general tonic result on our body. This oil helps to reinforce digestion, excretion, the brain and the nervous system, thereby strengthening the different systems of the body.

Citronella essential oil also offers a number of other health benefits. It is effective in eliminating intestinal worms. Although children are more susceptible to having intestinal worms, very small doses of this essential oil should be administered to them. It has been found that this oil is equally effective against round and tape worms. The existence of worms inside the intestines hinders the normal physical as well as mental growth. Moreover, these worms also deprive the body of nutrients by using them up. Worms also hinder the body's ability to absorb nutrients from ingested foods. Therefore, the use of citronella essential oil helps to eliminate such worms, thereby contributing to improving one's quality of life.

General properties

  • anti -bacterial
  • anti-depressant
  • anti-septic
  • anti-spasmodic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • deodorant
  • diaphoretic
  • diuretic
  • febrifuge
  • fungicidal
  • insect repellent
  • stomachic
  • stimulant
  • tonic
  • vermifuge

General uses

  • anxiety
  • body odour
  • cold
  • cramps
  • coughs
  • depression
  • digestion
  • fever
  • fleas
  • flu
  • fungal dysentery
  • fungal infections
  • heart diseases
  • infections
  • inflammation
  • kidney infections
  • lice
  • menstrual spasms
  • metabolism
  • obesity
  • parasites
  • rheumatism and arthritis
  • sadness
  • stomach problems
  • urinary tract infections
  • worms
  • yellow fever


Although citronella essential oil is not toxic by nature, when used in elevated concentrations, this oil may cause skin irritation, dermatitis or even sensitize the skin. This essential oil should never be applied to small children's skin, while women should stay away from citronella essential oil during pregnancy.