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Practical Uses of Citronella Oil

Updated on May 27, 2013
Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus)
Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus) | Source

Citronella is a very useful oil to be familiar with. It can be used as a natural insect repellent in sprays or body lotions, can keep pets flea free; be used in cleansing rituals or help clear and stimulate the mind and throat chakra.

Citronella oil is generally extracted from a citronella grass which is native to Java, Central America and Haiti. It is also known as 'grass of china' The oil can also be obtained from a hybrid of citronella grass, African geranium and catnip called citrosa.

The Active Ingredients in Citronella Oil

Citronellal - An aldehyde that is responsible for the lemony smell that insects dislike. It is an antiseptic so helps kill germs and it's additional sedative properties help relax and balance the emotions.

Geraniol - This alcohol is what give citronella it's uplifting properties. It is also an antiseptic and antiviral.

Camphene - A mild stimulant that helps relieve pain, expel excess mucus and kill bacteria.

A Family enjoy a picnic without the worry of insects thanks to citronella.
A Family enjoy a picnic without the worry of insects thanks to citronella. | Source

Using citronella as an Insect Repellant

Citronella can be used as a very effective natural insect repellent, including keeping mosquitoes at bay. Some research indicates that it may also be good at keeping head and body lice away. To be fully effective citronella does need to be reapplied throughout the day.

Burn a citronella candle on your table when eating outside at family barbecues, parties, drinks with friends or if just enjoying a peaceful relaxing evening. It will help keep biting insects and other bugs away.

You can make your own citronella insect repellent spray which you can then carry with you and spray on your skin, clothes or pets as needed.

You will need:

6oz spray bottle
2 fl oz distilled water
2 fl oz extra virgin olive oil
Bottle of citronella essential oil

It is important to use an essential oil and not just a fragrance oil. Fragrance oils may smell like the intended item but do not contain any of it's other properties and so will not work.

Pour the water and oil into the bottle and shake very well to combine. Add 120 drops of citronella oil and shake again.
Shake well before using.

Citronella essential oil can also be added to bathwater or to body products such as plain shower gels or lotions, just a few drops will be sufficient.

Use the above spray on pets to keep away fleas or soak your pets collar in a solution made using 5 drops of citronella oil for every 500ml water. Soak the collar overnight and then leave it to dry before putting it back on.

Aromatherapy Oil Burner

Citronella in an oil burner
Citronella in an oil burner | Source

Citronella and Aromatherapy

Citronella has a woody lemony scent and blends well with geranium, lemon, bergamot, orange, cedarwood, pine and eucalyptus. It can be used to ease headaches, aching muscles and arthritic pain as well as balancing the nervous system and stimulating body and mind. Citronella has an uplifting effect and can ease feelings of depression thanks to the geraniol in contains. Citronella is believed to clear the mind and encourage self-expression.

Citronella can be used in massage which is participially effective for aching muscles. To make a massage oil simply combine 3-5 drops of the essential oil for every 15ml of base oil. Some examples of base oils are almond, olive, jojoba, grapeseed and coconut.

Burnt around the house in an oil burner or as incense it adds a fragrance, keeps insects out and also creates and uplifting environment.

© 2012 Claire


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    • Elderberry Arts profile image

      Claire 5 years ago from Surrey, Uk

      Thank you. It has quite a nice smell too if you like citrus type scents.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very interesting read Claire. I had no idea about these benefits of citronella oil. Voted up, useful and interesting.