Citronella oil is produced from the plant with the same name, which has the scientific name Cymbopogon nardus. The oil is extracted by steam distilling any leafy part of the plant. It has a fresh and attractive smell, which makes it a common ingredient in various cosmetic products. It can be found in lotions, sprays, outdoor candles and various camping items.
Citronella is related to lemongrass and has the same delicate scent that resembles a citrus fruit. It is a light and refreshing scent that's suited for a large number of uses. It is excellent for both general household purposes, as an air freshener, or as a natural cosmetic.
A very common use for citronella oil is as a natural repellant for ticks, mosquitoes and other insects. It is an ingredient in numerous sprays and other products for this purpose. Its effect as a deterrent for insects has been known for a long time and was proven by research studies but the citronella oil is not as powerful as the alternative chemical products. The exact effectiveness of citronella oil as a repellant depends on the number of factors, such as the location and the insect species.
The citronella oil is extracted directly from the plant, which is usually widely available. The process is quite simple and consists of distillation and the extraction. As a result, the oil is fairly cheap, depending on its origin and quality. The production method can be tweaked in a number of ways and there are also several commercial concentrations. The oil is either available in pure form or mixed with other essential oils.
The most common industrial use of citronella oil is as an ingredient in products designed to keep away ticks and mosquitoes. These can be designed for animals, humans or for use in open-air spaces. You can use it as such, by spraying a small amount of pure oil on the most vulnerable areas, such as the leg openings or the shirt collar. Another option is to dilute the oil into a lotion and wash yourself with it before dressing up. Many other commercial items with the same purpose are available, such as anti-insect wipes, protection wristbands or even sun block products. It can be safely applied on the skin but some people can experience a minor allergic reaction, resulting in irritation.
In order to offer protection from insects in the open, the citronella oil is available as candles, oil diffusers or room sprays. Candles tend to be very popular because the smoke itself is effective in keeping mosquitoes away. However, many commercial products only have a very low amount of essential oil. You must read the label and make sure the quantity is high enough. Products with a high concentration are obviously more effective against all types of insects and bugs.
Citronella oil has a very strong antiseptic effect and can kill bacteria, fungi and viruses, just like most plant essential oils. When applied on wounds, it speeds up the rate of healing and decreases the risk that an infection will develop. It is also a very effective perfume, with a citrus-like aroma that covers unpleasant body odours. Since the citronella oil is very concentrated, several drops added to bath water are enough to make it pleasantly fragrant. Due to this effect, it is also a common ingredient in sprays and deodorants. However, it is only used in small amounts, since it can irritate the skin in high quantities. As already mentioned, the easiest way to take advantage of its fragrance is to add it to bath water.
The citronella oil is very effective when used both internally and externally. It is a natural detoxifier and can remove poisonous compounds from our body. When applied on the skin, it restores its natural health and shine. Due to its ability to kill pathogens, you can use it to treat acne, boils, warts and many other skin problems. It can also be applied on cuts and wounds to prevent infections.
Citronella oil also has a number of cosmetic uses. It corrects skin tone and complexion, while at the same time giving the skin a smoother texture. The citronella oil closes skin pores and prevents dirt or bacteria from entering. These benefits make the citronella oil a common ingredient in many products designed for skin maintenance, for example acne removal creams, sunscreen lotions or oil control creams.
As an insect repellent, citronella oil can be used on its own or in combination with other substances with the same effect. It can provide protection from insect bites, which cause allergies and inflammation.
It is also useful to reduce the amount of oil on the hair and scalp. It can often be found as an inexpensive spray that can solve the problem of greasy hair in a natural way. At the same time, it also works as a conditioner and makes the hair softer. You can add a bit of citronella oil to your shampoo if you want to boost hair volume or use it as a conditioner and softener to untangle your hair.
Citronella essential oil also has diaphoretic properties, which means that it stimulates sweating. This way, you can eliminate toxins from your body but also any salts, fats or water in excessive amounts. Sweating has many benefits, it can reduce infections or fever, improve skin health and also make you feel lighter.
The citronella oil has a content of methyl isoeugenol, which is the compound behind most of its medicinal benefits. It is a very effective germ killer, removing bacteria strains and limiting their growth. It is usually applied on wounds but can also treat infections of the stomach, intestines, urinary tracts, colon, urethra, urinary bladder, kidneys and prostate.
The same compounds also kill fungi or at least reduce their growth. Fungal infections are common on the head, especially on the nose, throat or ears. Ear fungal infestation can be particularly dangerous if untreated, so citronella essential oil is extremely useful in this case.