Citronella Essential Oil And Things You Need To Know

Citronella oil is an essential oil extracted from the Cymbopogon genus of Asian grasses. Due to its flowery, citrus-like perfume, this aromatic grass was given the French name “lemon balm.”

Citronella oil, like many other essential oils, has a lot of good things about it. It has been used for a long time in China and Indonesia to treat rashes, infections, and other health problems.

While citronella oil is perhaps best recognized today as a natural insect repellent, its applications and benefits go much beyond that.

We’ll look at the advantages of citronella oil, how to use it, and what to look for while shopping for the oil in this post.

What Are The Citronella Oil Benefits? 

Citronella has been utilized for a number of reasons for millennia, includes:

  • Among the many uses for citronella oil are insect repellent, antifungal agent for parasitic infections, wound healer, mood booster or fatigue fighter in perfumes, and as a flavor enhancer in food.

However, does scientific research back these applications? While research on citronella and other essential oils is ongoing, there is some evidence that citronella oil has certain health advantages.

Let’s take a closer look at what the study has discovered so far.

Repellent Against Insects

A 2011 examination

Eleven trials were conducted to determine the efficacy of different citronella formulations in avoiding mosquito bites. It determined that combining citronella oil and vanillin (found in vanilla beans) gave up to three hours of mosquito protection.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that DEET offered protection for a much longer amount of time than citronella oil alone.

A report published in 2015 examined the repellent properties of DEET, citronella oil, and fennel oil. The researchers discovered that DEET had a protection rating of more than 90% throughout a six-hour period.

After just two hours, citronella and fennel oil achieved protection rates of around 57% and 47%, respectively.

Another research evaluated the efficacy of numerous mosquito repellents and determined that citronella candles were ineffective.


Citronella must be used often in order to be effective as a mosquito repellent. However, when mixed with vanillin, it may give protection for up to three hours. It is not as efficient as DEET in repelling mosquitos, according to studies.

Agent Anti-Fungal

Numerous studies have shown that citronella oil has antifungal qualities that may help weaken or eliminate some forms of fungus associated with health concerns.

Research published in 2013: Citronella oil was examined for its antifungal effectiveness against the fungus Aspergillus niger. This widespread fungus is suspected of causing lung and sinus infections in individuals with compromised immune systems.

Citronella oil was shown to be capable of destroying the fungus’s cell wall and eradicating the organisms that might cause an infection inside the cell. As a result, the researchers hypothesized that citronella oil might be employed as a safe and ecologically acceptable fungicide.

Citronella oil was shown to be effective against all 12 fungi tested in a previous study. Citronella oil inhibited 15 of 22 germs in the same trial, while eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, and orange oils were effective against all 22 bacterial strains.

Citronella and cinnamon oil were studied in 2016Trusted Source for their efficacy in combating Candida albicans, a fungus that may cause infections in the mouth and other regions of the body.

Both essential oils inhibited the growth of viable bacteria at first. However, the impact was not substantial after 48 hours. 

Daily application of a solution of either oil, the authors say, may be beneficial in eradicating this fungus.

Citronella oil seems to be a potent antifungal agent. It may be necessary to reapply daily in certain circumstances to keep fungal infections under control.

It also possesses antibacterial effects, although not as effective as some other essential oils in killing a wide range of bacteria and germs.

Healing of wounds

Citronella oil may have the ability to accelerate wound healing, according to current studies. This may be especially important for patients with diabetes since their wounds heal more slowly.

Citronella oil was studied in a 2016 animal study to determine its impact on the healing of Candida-infected lesions in a diabetic mice model. Citronella oil has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. According to the researchers, the combination of these two elements resulted in quicker wound healing.


The antifungal and anti-inflammatory characteristics of citronella oil may aid in wound healing. However, research in this area is limited, and further human trials are needed to evaluate its effectiveness.

Loss Of Weight

A report published in 2015: Inhaling citronella oil and some of its components had no impact on weight in rats, according to Trusted Source. The researchers discovered that breathing citronella oil components reduced appetite, decreased cholesterol, and delayed weight growth.

Inhaling citronella has been found in the limited study to result in weight reduction and decreased cholesterol levels in rats. Additional research is needed to evaluate its efficacy for weight reduction in people.

Inhalation’s Physiological Effects

In a 2001 research, the effects of breathing citronella, lavender, and rosemary essential oils were explored. Lavender was shown to have a soothing impact on the brain, whereas rosemary was discovered to have a stimulating effect. On the other hand, citronella exhibited a more complicated in-between impact. The authors imply that citronella’s effects may vary by person.

Citronella may have a soothing impact on some individuals and a stimulating effect on others when breathed.

How To Use

Citronella oil may be used in a number of ways. The following are some possibilities.


A spray application may be beneficial for freshening up a place or for use as an insect repellent on the skin. To create a citronella oil spray, follow these steps:

In a glass spray bottle, combine citronella oil and water. The NAHA advises 10 to 15 drops per ounce of water.

The step that is optional: Water does not dissolve essential oils. Consider adding a dispersion agent to your solution, such as soluble.

Shake the container well before spraying.

Because citronella oil has a shorter duration of action than repellents such as DEET, you may need to reapply it more often if using it as an insect repellent.


A diffuser is a device that is used to disseminate scents around a space. As with the spray application, this approach may be used to repel insects or to provide a nice smell to a place.

Typically, diffusers come with a specified set of instructions. To properly use citronella oil in a diffuser, be sure to carefully follow the package directions.

Oils And Lotions For Massage

Citronella oil may also be used as topical oils and lotions. Utilizing citronella oil in this manner may aid in the elimination of bacteria and fungus on the skin, as well as enhance wound healing.

Before using essential oils on the skin, always dilute them with a carrier oil.

The following instructions will guide you through the process of creating a citronella massage oil or lotion.

To create a massage oil, follow these steps:

Citronella oil should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, according to the NAHA, 15 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil results in a 2.5 percent dilution.

If your skin is very sensitive, you may want to use a solution that is only 1%. (6 drops per ounce of carrier oil).

To create a cream or lotion, follow these steps:

Citronella oil should be diluted in an unscented cream or lotion.

The NAHA recommends a dilution of 1 to 2.5 percent (6 to 15 drops per ounce) for normal skin and 0.5 to 1 percent for sensitive skin (3 to 6 drops per ounce).

Advice About Safety 

To use citronella oil safely, follow these guidelines:

Before using citronella oil, always dilute it thoroughly. Never apply citronella oil undiluted to your skin.

Essential oils are very concentrated and, if taken, may be harmful. Keep citronella oil out of children’s and pets’ reach.

Avoid Ingesting Citronella Essential Oil 

When utilizing citronella oil for aromatherapy, ensure that the area in which you are working is well ventilated. Consider the possibility of children and pets breathing the aromatherapy. Certain essential oils are very toxic.

Consult your doctor before using citronella oil if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any prescription drugs.

Are There Any Unintended Consequences? 

Citronella oil may irritate or induce an allergic reaction on the skin. The region may become red, blotchy, itchy, or swollen as a result of this.

If you’re worried about a potential skin response, test a small amount of diluted citronella oil on a patch of skin before applying it topically. Avoid using citronella oil or goods containing it if you have an allergic response.

While anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, has not been reported in response to citronella oil, it is prudent to be aware of the symptoms since it is a medical emergency. Keep an eye out for:

  • breathing difficulties
  • coughing or wheezing
  • swelling throat, red rash, chest pain, nausea diarrhea

Where To Get Citronella Essential Oil 

Citronella oil is available at natural food shops and online.

To choose a high-quality oil, keep the following points in mind:

On the label, look for the scientific term Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus. Additionally, C. nardus may be referred to as “Ceylon type” and C. winterianus as “Java type.”

Please keep in mind that lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a distinct essential oil with a similar scientific name. If you’re seeking citronella, keep the two distinct.

Assure that the oil is stored in a dark-colored container since light may cause essential oils to degrade.

Smell the oil before purchasing if possible. Citronella has an unmistakable aroma. If the product does not smell like citronella, do not purchase it.

Be suspicious of promises that a product cures a particular ailment. Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA in the same way that pharmaceuticals are.

Purity statements should be found on the label. If the product is not made entirely of essential oils, the label should state so.

The Gist 

Although citronella oil is often used as an insect repellent, research indicates that it may also possess antifungal qualities and aid in wound healing.

Citronella oil may be used in a diffuser or spray bottle, or it can be diluted in a carrier oil or lotion before applying it to the skin.

Consult your physician prior to taking citronella oil if you have any queries or concerns.

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