Botanical Name: Cymbopogon
Common Method of Extraction: Extraction of citronella oil is done through steam distillation.
Parts Used: The stem and the leaves of lemongrass, citronella is used to extract oil.
Note Classification: Top
Aroma: The aroma that stands out is that of a lemon. It also has woody and grassy odour which can be very relaxing.
Largest Producing Countries: Since there is a great demand for citronella oil, there are many countries producing it. The big chunk of the production is taken up by Indonesia and China. It is also produced in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Guatemala, Taiwan, Mexico, Madagascar, South Africa, Jamaica, Ecuador, Honduras and Argentina.
Traditional Use: In many Asian countries it was used centuries before for various ailments. Ancient Chinese used it to treat arthritis. It was used to regulate menstrual cycle in women in countries like Sri Lanka. The oil produced in Sri Lanka was used world over for many centuries but now the oils of other countries have taken over.
The main property of citronella is that of a bio-pesticide. It has antifungal properties as well. It is yellow or brown in colour. It has a floral smell. Citronella is a mixture of several components. Some of them are geraniol, citronellal and citronellol. It is famous for its use as insect repellent. It is also used as animal repellents. Sometimes it is used to flavour beverages and food. It is considered safe for consumption but it is more popular for its repelling property.
It is used to expel parasites or worms from the intestines. It can enhance appetite, reduce muscle spasms. It helps in reduction of fluid retention by increasing the production of urine. When this is sprayed on animals it is believed to calm them. It is said to calm dogs and stop pets from destroying household items. Mosquitoes are very effectively repelled when this is used as spray or balm on the body. Head louse, body louse, stable flies are effectively repelled when this oil is used. It can be applied on the skin as a protection against mosquitoes and it will not harm the skin even after prolonged use. In rare cases it is also used in perfumes and soaps.
Blends Well With: Citronella oil blends with Bergamot oil, Sandal woos, Pine, Citrus oils, Cedar wood and Geranium.
Of Interest: Citronella oil poses no risk to wild animals as the potency of its toxins is very low. However the fumes of this oil is dangerous for birds.
Safety Data: It can cause skin problems if you are allergic to it. So please check your resistance to the oil. Generally it does not harm the skin. Though it can be consumed, it is only used to flavour foods in rare cases. The general advice is not to consume it, especially directly. Keep it away from children as it can prove to be very harmful if they consume it. Nothing much is said about pregnant women and lactating mothers but it is better to avoid the use of citronella oil by such women.