Citronella Grass Common names Parts used Uses Habitat and cultivation Side effects and cautions

Citronella Grass

Cymbopogon nardus

Herbs gallery - Citronella Grass

Common names

  • Citronella Grass
  • Mana Gras
  • Nard Grass
  • Nardus
Citronella grass (scientific name Cymbopogon nardus) is a perennially growing grass belonging to the Poaceae grass family. This species is native to the tropical regions of Asia, especially the south-eastern regions of the continent. This grass is coarse and appears in clumps that grow up to a height of anything between 5 feet and 6 feet (1.5 meters and 1.8 meters). The stems of citronella grass are similar to canes, while its leaves have a greyish green hue. The leaves are flat and measure about 3 feet (0.9 meters) in length and roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) in width. Unlike many other types of grasses, citronella grass does not spread via runners. Instead, the clumps of this grass augment in size as the plant becomes mature. The Cymbopogon genus comprises two species of grasses and the citronella grass or Cymbopogon nardus is the most popular or common of the two. This particular species has its origin in Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. Cymbopogon family comprises roughly 50 species, which are a neat grass group. These grasses are familiar for their aromatic leaves. Similar to it's more popular lemongrass (cymbopogon citrates), fresh or dried out citronella grass contains an essential oil which is derived via a process known as steam distillation. Citronella essential oil is useful in warding off insects and it is also employed for a variety of other things, including candles and dog collars. This is an aromatic perennially growing grass, which is very popular for various applications, including as an insect repellent, in the form of a fragrant ingredient in candles, and also is used in perfumes, deodorants, skin lotions, and soaps. Citronella grass is an exotic grass native to the tropical regions of Asia. This grass generally does not survive at temperature below 32�C. Citronella grass is a slender, reedy grass that produces a somewhat extraordinary flower, which makes us speculate why this species actually bothers. Nevertheless, the plant as well as its flowers are a rare novelty that is an excellent plant for growing in your patio during the summer months. This plant has a clean lemon-like aroma, especially the fragrance is set free when it is crushed or caressed. Dried citronella grass is an excellent addition to potpourri. The leaves of this grass are elegantly arching, while the plant has an overall vertical form. Due to these features, citronella grass does go well when planted close to any rounded shrub or busy flowers. Ideally, you should plant citronella the length of a walkway or close to the porch, where one will appreciate the plant's fragrance. This plant is used to produce commercial citronella essential oil. In addition, it is widely used in the form of a natural insect repellent and in perfumery. Several reasonably priced soaps marketed in various south-eastern Asian nations are actually scented using the citronella essential oil. You can blend this essential oil with various other vegetable oils and use the combination for massaging or rubbing on the skin with a view to ward off insects. In addition, the essential oil extracted from citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) is also widely used in aromatherapy in the form of a stimulant. It is either inhaled or rubbed on the skin. Moreover, since this oil possesses antiseptic properties, it can be employed to disinfect surfaces used to prepare foods. According to reports, citronella essential oil works to keep cats away. On the other hand, breathing this essential oil is believed to enhance the heart rate in a section of people. Generally, this oil is employed in the form of an essential oil, which is referred to as "citronella Ceylon oil." This is primarily because this grass is native to Sri Lanka, erstwhile Ceylon, in Southeast Asia.

Parts used

Essential oil, rhizomes.


Cymbopogon nardus or citronella grass is a specific type of grass that yields commercial oil called citronella oil. This essential oil has various uses in perfumery and it is also used in the form of an insect repellent. In addition, the citronella essential oil is also widely used in aromatherapy in the form of a stimulant. Alternatively, this essential oil is rubbed on one's skin. This oil possesses antiseptic properties and, hence, you can use it to sterilize the surfaces that are used for food preparation. Citronella grass is said to possess a number of medicinal properties. It is antiseptic, insecticide, deodorant, tonic, parasitic as well as a stimulant. Despite its many therapeutic properties, most people generally associate this grass for its insect repellent and insecticide properties. Several commercially available insect repellents contain the compound known as Citronella Ceylon. Often this herb is used along with cedarwood with a view to create a natural insect repellent with an agreeable smell. Aside from being an active ingredient in many commercial insect repellents, citronella grass is also found in various soaps as well as candles. The common application of the essential oil derived from this grass also includes massage oil. Moreover, this essential oil can also be effective in healing minor infections. It is also known to be useful in fighting common cold and flu. If you experience too much sweating, you can also benefit by using citronella essential oil. It is also excellent for conditioning the hair and oily skin. The rhizome of citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) is known to possess therapeutic properties and is widely used in the form of a remedy for leukorrhea. While the essential oil obtained from citronella rhizome has been stereotyped as an insect repellent, particularly to warding of mosquitoes that carry malaria; it also possesses several other therapeutic benefits to humans. For instance, its application helps to refresh rooms, clear the mind and also make the skin softer. At the same, this essential oil is effective in combating oily skin as well as sweaty feet. The aroma of Cymbopogon nardus is somewhat sweet, potent and lemon-like. Apparently, the best use of this essential oil is in the form of as insect repellent. It is also effective in warding off fleas. Moreover, it is said that citronella essential oil is also effective for treating headaches and migraines. This essential oil mixes well with the essential oils of cedarwood, eucalyptus, citrus and peppermint. Moreover, the essential oil obtained from citronella grass is also employed to repel various parasites. Citronella essential oil can be used topically on your body in the form of base oil after watering down or as a normal body lotion and sunscreen. On the other hand, you may pour a few drops of citronella essential oil in your washing machine with a view to give your clothes the protection and fragrance offered by this oil. You may also add a few drops of this oil to a cotton ball and put it in the linen drawer. This oil will help to protect the clothes from pests and also keep them fragrant. You may also add some drops of this essential oil to a burning candle with a view to permeate the air all around you. It is advisable that you use a radiator fragrancer, a lamp ring or an oil burner for this purpose. It is worth mentioning here that cats have a loathing for the smell of citronella essential oil. However, this oil does not upset the animal or cause any harm to them.

Habitat and cultivation

Citronella grass (scientific name Cymbopogon nardus) has it origin in the south-eastern regions of Asia and is currently cultivated commercially in India, Indonesia, Burma, Java and Sri Lanka. Over the years, this species have been widely naturalized in the tropical regions of Asia and is now cultivated in the form of and ornamental species even in California and South Florida. The grass Cymbopogon nardus or citronella grass appears in clumps and it is necessary to plant them in a location that not only received plenty of sunlight, but also has a well-drained soil. This grass has its origin in places having warm temperate climatic conditions as well as the south-eastern regions of Asia. It is found growing on its own in grassland, in addition to the open acacia forests on the hills of Uganda. Citronella grows naturally from its seeds that are dispersed by several means, including wind, water, animal, machinery and even road vehicles.

Side effects and cautions

When some people come in contact with lemongrass or citronella grass, they experience dermatitis. This especially occurs when these people are exposed to the concentrated oils obtained from these grasses. Moreover, in some people breathing in the essential oils obtained from citronella grass may possibly enhance the heart rate.

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