You may know citronella as a lemony scented plant that’s used in insect repellent, but do you know what else it can do? As one of the most commonly used essential oils in aromatherapy, citronella essential oil has a wide range of benefits for both mind and body.
What Is Citronella Essential Oil?
Citronella is a grass that mainly grows in some parts of Asia and some islands of the South Pacific. Citronella essential oil is distilled from two varieties of the plant: the Ceylon variety and the Java variety. In both cases, the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh plant. Citronella has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of health conditions and is probably best known for its strong and distinctive citrus aroma as well as its effectiveness as a natural insect repellent. However, there is a lot more that citronella can do. Read on to find out more!
Is There A Need For Citronella Essential Oil?
Citronella essential oil is best known for its uses in aromatherapy and its insect-repelling properties. However, it also has many other uses that provide some surprising benefits. Sometimes, it is an effective alternative to products that may have harsh chemicals or potentially harmful ingredients, and always provides a crisp, clean scent in each application. If you are not familiar with citronella, you may find some of these health benefits interesting as you learn more.
10 Citronella Essential Oil Health Benefits
Citronella is probably best known as an ingredient in insect and mosquito repellents. It has been found to be effective against the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito, which is known to be a carrier of yellow fever, West Nile virus, dengue fever, and even the dreaded Zika virus, among other contagious illnesses. Citronella essential oil is also effective on lice and fleas. You should keep in mind that citronella does not kill insects, but repels them. If you want to kill mosquitos, you will need to use another product or technique to do so.
To use as a mosquito repellent, you can apply a natural mosquito repellent that contains citronella directly to your skin, or use citronella with a diffuser. To protect your pets from fleas, you can spray their collars with a little citronella as well. The oil has a strong, distinctive smell, but it is not unpleasant. Thus, citronella is an effective and natural alternative to other insect repellents that may contain harsh chemicals or potentially harmful ingredients. However, because citronella essential oil is highly concentrated, so dilute the essential oil before applying directly to your skin.
Antibacterial And Antifungal Properties
Citronella essential oil has antimicrobial properties and has been found to inhibit the growth of a fungus that can contaminate certain fruits and vegetables. It is especially effective against the E. coli bacteria that causes infections like pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and food-borne illnesses. Citronella oil is also effective against the Candida albicans fungus, which can infect the mouth, skin, and digestive system.
It has antiseptic and antimicrobial compounds that are responsible for microbial growth and can stop infections from spreading or even occurring in the first place. Because of these compounds, citronella can disinfect wounds and prevent infections that may occur in the digestive system, kidneys, bladder, urethra, and prostate.
You can also use citronella essential oil to clean your home, especially the areas where microbes are most likely to proliferate, such as your kitchen and bathroom. It can be combined with other ingredients such as witch hazel and vinegar to create a cleaning spray as a natural alternative to chemical cleaning solutions.
The crisp, citrus aroma of citronella is distinctive, even from other aromatic herbs that smell like lemons. Many deodorants on the market contain ingredients like parabens, aluminum, and propylene glycol, which can be potentially harmful and have been linked to various health issues. However, citronella essential oil can be used as a natural deodorant without the risk posed by the ingredients in mainstream deodorants.
You can also use citronella essential oil as a soothing bath oil. A few drops of the oil in your bath water will make it smell lemony and refreshing, and can also soothe aching muscles and joints. Just make sure not to stay in the bath too long after adding the citronella and use it in small quantities—too much can cause skin irritation if you're not careful.
We all deal with anxiety and stress from time to time. However, if it affects your everyday life, you may need some extra help. There are a number of ways to deal with anxiety that do not involve therapy or medications. Essential oils alone may not be enough to deal effectively with anxiety, but they can be a useful tool to help handle it.
Some also claim that citronella acts as a natural anti-depressant, and can induce feelings of happiness and hope when used in aromatherapy. Citronella essential oil has been used in Brazilian folk medicine as a sedative agent, and can help you relax, sleep better, uplift your spirits, and dispel any depression.
Kills Intestinal Worms
Citronella essential oil can be effective against both roundworms and tapeworms when administered in mild doses. While further research is necessary to understand all the aspects and benefits of the essential oil of the citronella plants, it has a history in traditional medicine. Since intestinal worms can interfere with a person's normal physical and mental growth and the absorption of nutrients by the body, the use of this essential oil can be helpful to increase a person's quality of life if they are prone to intestinal parasites.
Citronella essential oil can be helpful as a natural diuretic which means that it can induce urination and thus help flush toxins out of the body. As a diuretic, citronella oil can help reduce fluid retention, which can cause a range of health problems like joint stiffness and body aches. It also helps to flush substances like uric acid, excess bile, acids and salts from the body. This can help reduce weight, eliminate urinary tract infections, improve digestion, and keep the heart healthy. Diuretic pills can usually help treat fluid retention, but citronella essential oil can be a natural alternative.
Studies have shown that citronella oil has analgesic properties, meaning it can help relieve aches and pains. It may be less effective than some over-the-counter pain relievers, especially where the pain is worse. However, it can be a good alternative to help manage lower levels of pain. Undiluted citronella oil can irritate the skin, so you'll want to mix it with a neutral carrier oil before application.
Controls Muscle Spasms
Some studies have shown that citronella essential oil can help to relieve muscle spasms. Because it can help manage muscle spasms, it can also help ease menstrual cramps. It is important to consult your doctor before using citronella oil to manage convulsions and muscle spasms since it may interfere with some prescription medications.
Not only does the anti-inflammatory compound in citronella essential oil reduce inflammation that causes pain, but it also works to fight inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can ease digestion. It also has the ability to remove toxins throughout the body that can cause pain and inflammation.
The antioxidant and stimulant properties of citronella essential oil have been shown to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body. It also stimulates the immune mechanisms and metabolism of the body. This can also work well to help ease symptoms in those who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Other benefits of citronella oil include treatment of issues like oily skin and hair, colitis, migraines, fatigue, headache, nausea, and abdominal pain resulting from gas or cramps.
While this essential oil is considered safe to use, there are still some precautions you should take. For example, you should avoid putting 100% pure citronella oil directly on your skin, as it can cause skin irritation unless it has been diluted. Avoid ingesting citronella oil. It is not toxic, but pure citronella oil can irritate your throat. You should also avoid getting it near your eyes, diluted or not. It should not be used on the skin of small children and should be avoided during pregnancy. If you are considering using citronella oil to treat any health issues, be sure to consult your doctor first.
Most times, citronella is best used blended with another essential oil. Citronella oil blends well with essential oils of cedarwood, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and tea tree.
Citronella oil has many uses and benefits that aren't limited to it being a mosquito repellent. It’s great in aromatherapy uses, and can bring benefits both to your physical body and for your mental well-being. If you’re interested in discovering what citronella essential oil can do for you, try finding it at your local health food store or at a variety of online retailers.