July 27, 2016

Citronella Oil

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What other names is Citronella Oil known by?

Aceite de Citronela, Andropogon nardus, Ceylon Citronella, Citronnelle de Ceylan, Citronnelle de l'Inde, Citronnelle de Java, Cymbopogon afronardus, Cymbopogon nardus, Cymbopogon validus, Cymbopogon winterianus, Herbe Citron, Huile de Citronnelle, Java Citronella, Jonc Odorant, Verveine des Indes.

What is Citronella Oil?

Citronella oil is made by steam distillation of certain species of grasses in the Cymbopogon grouping of plants. Ceylon or Lenabatu citronella oil is produced from Cymbopogon nardus, and Java or Maha Pengiri citronella oil is produced from Cymbopogon winterianus. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) also belongs to this grouping of plants, but it is not used to make citronella oil.

Citronella oil is used to expel worms or other parasites from the intestines. It is also used to control muscle spasms, increase appetite, and increase urine production (as a diuretic) to relieve fluid retention.

Some people apply citronella oil directly to the skin to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.

In foods and beverages, citronella oil is used as a flavoring.

In manufacturing, citronella oil is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and soaps.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Preventing mosquito bites when applied to the skin. Citronella oil is an ingredient in some mosquito repellents you can buy at the store. It seems to prevent mosquito bites for a short amount of time, typically less than 20 minutes. Other mosquito repellents, such as those containing DEET, are usually preferred because these repellents last much longer.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Worm infestations.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Spasms.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of citronella oil for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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