The citronella plant is widely used around the world and is mostly cultivated in Asia, places like China and Indonesia. Citronella essential oil has been highly associated with treating insects bites or insects repellent agent, but it has a lot of useful and beneficial health benefits. Citronella got its name from citrus/lemon because the grass plant has a strong citric smell or aroma to it. Citronella plant is one of the major ingredients used in making most of the insects repellent sprays or creams around the world, especially in the United States. Because of its ability to keep flies and insects away from you, some people enjoy growing this plant at their backyard or garden.
Introduction on Citronella essential oil
Citronella essential oil is one of the world most famous essential oil for treating and preventing insects bites. It has a rich, fresh, uplifting scent similar to that of lemon, that is how it got the name Citronella from the French word meaning “lemon balm”. The oil comes from the plant citronella, which is cultivated in the Pacifics and some part of Asia like China, it is used in aromatherapy to help treat and prevent colds, fevers, and headaches. When used as a massage oil, it can aid in relieving pain in individuals suffering from arthritis, neck and backache.
Soap and perfume manufacturing industries also use citronella as one of their major ingredients. Citronella oil is obtained from the stem and leaves of the plant itself citronella via steam distillation of their fresh leaves. It is sometimes mistaken as lemongrass cause they share a lot of similarities and because they all belong to the same family plant. Sometimes people refer to them as cousins.
Benefits and uses of Citronella essential oil
Citronella oil had gained a lot of fame for its various use and benefits in both the cosmetic, and beverage industries, even though it is popularly known as the agent for repelling insects, especially mosquitoes around you, it has a lot of beneficial use and potentials.
Let's look at all the various benefits and uses that citronella oils offer:
1. Used in Aromatherapy
The application of citronella oil is known to prevent the spread of harmful air one infection, and also acts as an insect repellent. It is also said to have the ability to lift your spirit, get you out of depression, eliminates sadness and release stress. Some doctors believe it eases menstrual cramps and spasm of the respiratory and nervous system. The natural citric scent is set to clear and purifies the musty and dewy smell of unhealthy air.
Citronella oil has a lot of medical benefits with few being it can ease headaches, migraines, nausea, neuralgia, and symptoms of colitis, and to improve energy levels to overcome fatigue.
2. Used Cosmetically
Citronella essential oil can be used to make deodorant or deodorize offensive body odors by inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria, making it an ideal ingredient for natural perfumes, deodorants, body sprays, and bath blends.
Citronella oil is beneficial for promoting and maintaining a rich and healthy complexion for all skin types. It is also a healing agent, in repairing worn out tissues and healing skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and dermatitis, and its protective qualities are reputed to reduce black spots and skin burn. Its ability to slow the look of aging makes it an ideal ingredient for use in the cosmetics industry. It is an anti-inflammatory oil, and help a great deal in providing an even out skin tone.
3. Used Medically
The biological elements in citronella essential oil promote and increases the rate at which a person sweat, aiding in the removal of toxins and other unwanted materials like, fat, and salt from the body. This makes the body feel lighter, keeps the skin healthy and also reduces a high temperature.
This also protects you from certain infections. It can be used to soothe body aches like back pain, menstrual and stomach cramp, and provides relief for inflammation and can also be used as a natural source of deworming the body, It can eradicate harmful organisms (worms) from your stomach, small intestine and large intestine, thereby treating loss of appetite.
4. Used in Beverages
Citronella oil is also added as a food and beverage flavoring, such as in alcoholic drinks, frozen dairy, and gelatin. And it is also good for boosting appetite.
How to make Citronella essential oil
Citronella oil is widely available in natural food and beauty stores. However, commercial oils processed through steam distillation may be pricey. You can make your own citronella oil at home, These are some of the step-by-step procedure towards making a citronella essential oil:
- ¼ ounce nard grass leaves and stems (you may use lemongrass as a substitute)
- 1 cup olive oil
- Slow cooker (ex. Crock-Pot)
- Mix the olive oil and nard grass leaves and stems in the slow cooker.
- Leave and cook the mixture for about four to eight hours.
- With the cheesecloth, strain the mixture, which is actually the citronella oil. Remove nard grass.
- Repeat steps 1-3 with the strained mixture with fresh nard grass leaves and stems. No need to add more olive oil. Keep on repeating until the oil obtains the desired scent.
- Once done, seal the oil in a dark-colored jar. Store in a cool, dry place.
How Citronella essential oil improves beauty on skin
Citronella oil is good for skin and skin tone because it contains elements that promote healthy skin and nourishment. It can act as natural collagen that helps in giving the skin a perfect glow, correct uneven skin, repair dead cells and tissues, fast healing, and so much more. It is also considered as one of nature's anti-aging ingredients.
It can be applied on the skin as an essential oil either in the morning or at night before bed. It heals pain and soothes acne and pimples. Before using citronella on your skin, always read the labeling and ensure you are not going to have any allergic reactions to it. The skin is the largest organ in the body and needs to be taken very care of, the skin is constantly exposed to sun and a lot of unclean air getting trapped into it, citronella essential oil helps clean and disinfect any infection, reduces spots from sunburns and clear black circles around the eye area. It is anti-inflammatory, therefore good for curing and releasing puffiness or swollen body condition.
Is Citronella essential oil safe to use during pregnancy?
Even though most doctors agree that it’s safe to use some essential oils while pregnant, for as long as you're healthy and not overusing them. Essential oils are substances that are highly extracted from plants. They are very powerful and have the ability to work miracles, but it’s always important to use them wisely, as you know, every good thing can be catastrophic if overused or abused. And always be sure you buy high-quality oils from a reputable seller or manufacturer.
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, which is a complementary therapy. The oils contain substance and chemicals that can get absorbed into your body from your skin, that’s why most people like to dilute it either with other creams, and oils for massage. And it can also be used with a vaporizer for you to inhale and get it soaked into your system. Once the oil is inside your body, it can start to work instantly and in the same way as your prescribed drugs and medicines. Because essential oil molecules are very small, there is a possibility that they may cross the placenta and reach your growing baby's circulation. It isn’t clear on the effect essential oils may have on a developing baby. Cause research has only shown test and results on animals, with every individual animal presenting different result and reaction. But what we do know is that many mums-to-be find aromatherapy helpful and a most have in easing pregnancy niggles. These include backaches, nausea, swollen ankles, neck pain, insomnia and so much more. If you want to use aromatherapy oils, it is best to take the following precautions:
- Always seek your doctor's or aromatherapist approval or acknowledgment before trying out a new essential oil
- Only use one drop of essential oil at a time.
- Try not to use one particular oil for a long period of time, such as every day for several weeks.
- Dilute the essential oil by mixing the drop with at least a teaspoon (5ml) of a base oil before you add it to a bath or smooth it over your skin. Grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil work well as base oils.
- You can add drops of the oil to a vaporiser, but don't leave it on for longer than 10 minutes or 15 minutes in each hour. If you leave it on for too long, the smell can be overpowering and make you feel uncomfortable.
- It's best to start using essential oils once you are past the first trimester. If you use them in the first trimester, always consult an aromatherapist who's trained in treating mums-to-be.
Some essential oils and vaporizer recommendation articles for your further reading are added here:
This content is not intended to replace any medical advice or guide you towards any direction, it is intended to highlight all the proven benefits of citronella essential oils in different individuals. Do not participate or be involved with any essential oil without seeking the consent, permission of an expert or medical proffessional especially when pregnant. Even though the citronella oil is produced in some part of Asia, it is widely accepted and used in different parts of the world, making it one of the most loved ingredients for repelling insects or family use.