History of Citronella Oil
This fragrant grass has earned the name Citronella from the French word meaning “lemon balm.” Citronella is commonly mistaken for Lemongrass, as they share a similar appearance, growth, and processing method.
However, the two plants are considered to be “cousins,” as they belong to the same plant family – the Cymbopogon family, which is commonly referred to only as Lemongrass. The easiest way to tell them apart is to remember that Lemongrass has off-white pseudostems while those of the Citronella plant is reddish.
For centuries, Citronella Oil has been a natural medicinal remedy and a food ingredient in China, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. It is traditionally used as a flavoring agent in culinary applications, a soothing agent for pain, infections, rashes, and inflammation, a non-toxic insect-repelling agent, a natural and fragrant household cleaning agent, and an ingredient in perfumery, soaps, detergents, scented candles, and cosmetic products. Citronella Oil continues to be valued and applied for its cleansing, disinfecting, freshening, and deodorizing properties.
Citronella Oil Benefits
Ceylon and Java are the two varieties of Citronella from which the essential oil is derived via steam distillation of their fresh leaves. The main chemical composition of Citronella Oil’s two types is similar, but the constituents vary in their amounts:
And The primary chemical components of Citronella Ceylon Oil, which is derived from the Cymbopogon nardus botanical, are Geraniol, Camphene, Limonene, Methyl isoeugenol, Geranyl acetate, Borneol, Citronellal, and Citronellol.
The primary chemical constituents of Citronella Java Oil, which is derived from the Andropogon nardus botanical, are Citronellal, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, and Geranyl acetate.
Due to its higher Geraniol and Citronellal content, Java is the variety that is believed to be of more top quality. Both oils vary in color from a pale yellow to a brownish shade; however, the Java variety generally has a fresher, lemony scent reminiscent of Lemon Essential Oil while the Ceylon variety may have a warm, woody nuance to its citrus aroma.
Used in aromatherapy applications, Citronella Essential Oil is known to slow or prevent the growth and spread of harmful airborne bacteria while also repelling flying insects, such as mosquitos. It eases and uplifts negative sentiments such as sadness, anxiety, and stress by relaxing the body and mind and promoting a sense of lightheartedness. Furthermore, it is reputed to ease muscle spasms, such as menstrual cramps, as well as spasms of the respiratory and nervous systems.
This, in turn, alleviates discomfort, such as coughs. It’s fresh. The bright citrus-like scent is known to naturally refresh the musty smell of the stale and unclean air. This cleansing and invigorating quality make Citronella Oil an ideal ingredient in natural room sprays and diffuser blends. Its pleasant fragrance is also reputed to normalize an irregular heartbeat and palpitations, to ease headaches, migraines, nausea, neuralgia, and symptoms of colitis, and to improve energy levels to overcome fatigue.
The scent of Citronella Oil is known to blend well with all citrus essential oils, such as Lemon and Bergamot, as well as with Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood, and Tea Tree essential oils.
With skin health-enhancing properties, the ability to boost skin’s absorption of moisture, and the ability to balance oil production, Citronella Oil is beneficial for promoting and maintaining a rejuvenated complexion for all skin types.
It is known to facilitate the healing of skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and dermatitis, and its protective qualities are reputed to reduce the chances of skin damage caused by exposure to UV radiation. Its ability to slow the look of aging makes it an ideal ingredient for use in cosmetics targeted toward maturing or blemished and scarred complexions for its ability to boost the healing of wounds.
It is ideal for use on bug bites, sores, swelling, warts, age spots, and fungal infections. Oily hair can benefit from Citronella Essential Oil’s ability to regulate sebum production as well as its ability to cleanse the scalp and hair of oil, dead skin, dirt, dandruff, product residue, and a build-up of environmental pollutants.