From Dr. Mercola:

If you are a fan of aromatherapy, you’re probably familiar with citronella oil. Citronella is also often added to a variety of personal care and cleaning products and provides numerous benefits.

What Is Citronella Oil?

Citronella essential oil is obtained from the Cymbopogon genus plant family.1 More precisely, it is extracted through steam distillation of the grasses Cymbopogon nardus (Jowitt) and Cymbopogon winterianus (Rendal). This results in two types of citronella oil:2,3

Ceylon, which is obtained from C. nardus and is a native product of Sri Lanka (previously Ceylon). Ceylon citronella oil has a warm, citrusy, and wood scent, and has a pale to dark yellow color. Java, which is distilled from C. winterianus. It also has a fresh lemon-like scent but is darker in color. Between the two, java citronella is considered the one with the higher quality. Uses of Citronella Oil

Citronella oil is popularly used as an insect repellent. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies it as a biopesticide with a non-toxic mode of action.4

Citronella oil can be found in dozens of registered pesticide products, such as sprays, lotions, and candles. At times, it is added to sunscreen, wristbands, and flea collars.5 Due to its antifungal properties, citronella oil is also used to treat insect bites.6

Citronella essential oil is one of the most common oils used in aromatherapy. It is said that as an aromatherapy oil, citronella can help treat and prevent colds, fevers, and headaches.7 As a massage oil, it may relieve pain in individuals suffering from arthritis.

The oil of citronella is also widely used in fragrances and personal care products. It is largely imported by Germany and France, two of the largest hubs for the perfume industry.8 Because of its antiseptic properties, citronella oil is also used in soaps, household cleaners, and detergents.

Research found that using citronella oil can help calm barking dogs.9 Citronella oil is also added as a food and beverage flavoring, such as in alcoholic drinks, frozen dairy, and gelatin and puddings.10

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages Baked products Frozen dairy Gelatin and puddings Soft and hard candies Composition of Citronella Oil

Both types of citronella oil contain over 80 constituents, about 50 of which make up 90 percent of each oil.11 The main components of citronella oil are citronellol, citronellal, and geraniol. The two types of citronella oil vary in the amounts of geraniol and citronellal. Below are the main constituents of each oil:12

Ceylon Citronella Oil Java Ceylon Oil Geraniol – 18 to 20 percent Geraniol – 21 to 24 percent Citronellal – five to 15 percent Citronellal – 32 to 45 percent Citronellol – 6.4 to 8.4 percent Citronellol – 11 to 15 percent Geranyl acetate – two percent Geranyl acetate – three to eight percent Limonene – nine to 11 percent Limonene – 1.3 to 3.9 percent Methyl isoeugenol – 7.2 to 11.3 percent Elemol and sesquiterpene alcohols – two to five percent Benefits of Citronella Oil

According to a paper in…

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