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Citronella oil is an essential oil obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon. It is mainly used as an ingredient in various insect repellents due to its characteristic odour.
Applying Citronella oil on the joints helps in managing pain and swelling related to arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Citronella essential oil is also used in aromatherapy due to its aromatic property to help lower stress and fatigue.
Applying Citronella oil on the skin helps in skin toning and managing skin infections due to its antiseptic properties.
Direct inhalation and application of Citronella oil should be avoided as it may be harmful. It should always be used in a diluted form along with some carrier oil like olive oil on the skin as it may cause irritation if used alone[2].

What are the synonyms of Citronella?

Cymbopogon, Lemon grass, Bhutrnah, Jambiratrnah, Guhyabija, Bhutika, Gandhatrun, Gandhabenaa, Lilichaa, Harichaaya, Majjigahullu, Chennanampullu, Incippullu, Vasanappullu, Hirvaa Chahaa, Olaa Chahaa, Paatichahaa, Sharbaan, Vasanaipillu, Nimmagaddi, Vasana gaddi

What is the source of Citronella?

Plant Based

Benefits of Citronella

What are the benefits of Citronella for Preventing mosquito bites?

Modern Science View
While Citronella oil helps prevent mosquito bites, it does not kill mosquitoes. The active compounds in Citronella oil blocks the olfactory receptors in mosquitoes that attracts them to the host odor causing them to become disoriented[3][5].
Use citronella oil in combination with other volatile oil like vanillin to increase the protection time of citronella oil against mosquito bites.

How effective is Citronella?

Likely effective
Preventing mosquito bites

Precautions when using Citronella

Modern Science View
Citronella oil might be safe for most people when applied to the skin as an insect repellent. However, it might cause skin allergies in some people. So consult a doctor before applying citronella oil on the skin.
Side Effects
Modern Science View
It is also unsafe to inhale Citronella oil as it can cause lung damage[3].

Recommended Dosage of Citronella

  • Citronella Oil - 5-10 drops or as per your requirement.

How to use Citronella

1. Citronella oil in Steamer
a. Take 2-3 cups of water in a steamer.
b. Add 2-3 drops of Citronella oil to it.
c. Cover your face and inhale the steam.
d. Repeat this once or twice a day to manage cold and flu[2].

2. Citronella oil as Insect repellent
Add 2 to 3 drops of Citronella oil in your air freshener, diffuser or vaporizer to repel insects.

3. Citronella in coconut oil
a. Take 5-10 drops of Citronella oil.
b. Dilute it with same quantity of coconut or jojoba oil.
c. Rub the mixture on your skin or spray on the hair or clothes.
d. Use this as an effective remedy to repel the mosquitoes[5].

4. Citronella essential oil
Add 1-2 drops of citronella oil in the shower gel, shampoo or lotion.

Frequently asked questions

Q. How to use Citronella oil as an insect repellent?

Modern Science View
Put a few drops of Citronella oil on a cotton pad and place it inside your linen closet to help keep clothes smelling fresh and free from moths. Alternatively, in a clean spray bottle, combine a few drops of Citronella Oil with water. Shake to mix thoroughly and spray areas around your home.

Q. Is Citronella oil and Lemongrass oil the same thing?

Modern Science View
Although Citronella oil and Lemongrass oil are processed in the same way, both have different properties.

Q. How to use Citronella oil?

Modern Science View
Citronella oil can be used in the form of lotions, sprays, candles, and pellets. Citronella oil can be added to the water used for bathing. It can also be inhaled by adding a few drops of Citronella oil to soft tissue or cloth.

Q. Can you eat Citronella?

Modern Science View
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the internal consumption of Citronella, so it is advisable to avoid eating Citronella.

Q. Is Citronella oil good for arthritis?

Modern Science View
Citronella oil can help reduce the pain and swelling associated with arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory property[8].
Ayurvedic View
Citronella oil helps in managing joint pain due to arthritis due to its Vata balancing property.
Use Citronella oil with olive oil and massage the affected area gently.

Q. Can Citronella oil reduce stress?

Modern Science View
Citronella oil can act as a natural stress reliever. A study states that it relaxes the nervous system and lowers the level of stress and mental fatigue[9].
Ayurvedic View
Citronella oil helps reduce trouble sleeping, stress and relaxes the mind by balancing Vata dosha.

Q. What are the other reported allergic reactions caused by Citronella?

Modern Science View
Citronella oil is generally safe when applied externally as an insect repellent. However, people sensitive to Citronella oil may develop skin allergies[3].
Citronella may also cause irritation and burning if not diluted properly before applying to the skin[10]. Always use citronella oil with a carrier oil.
Ayurvedic View
Citronella oil should be diluted with a base oil like coconut oil before applying on the skin due to its Tikshna (Sharp) and Ushna (hot) nature.

Q. What are the benefits of Citronella for skin?

Modern Science View
Yes, Citronella is considered to be beneficial for the skin due to its skin-toning properties. It also acts as an antiseptic that helps slow the growth of microorganisms and thereby prevents skin diseases. It is advisable to use Citronella oil in small amounts with doctor’s consultation as in large amounts, it may cause skin irritation and other allergic reactions[13].
Ayurvedic View
Citronella oil is an effective remedy to reduce the symptoms of skin problems like boils as well as wounds because of its Ropan (healing) nature. It also helps to moisturize the skin and slow down signs of aging.

Q. What are the benefits of Citronella oil?

Modern Science View
Citronella oil has a significant fragrance that helps to keep away the mosquitoes when applied on skin and clothes. It is free of harmful chemicals which makes it an ideal natural mosquito repellent[12].

Q. How does Citronella help reduce a fever?

Modern Science View
Citronella help reduce fever when rubbed on the skin. This is due to its soothing activity which lowers the temperature of the body. It also helps in the management of cold and flu[11].

Q. Does Citronella prevent bacterial and fungal growth?

Modern Science View
Yes, Citronella prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi due to its antibacterial property. It is considered to be an important component in all the mosquito repellant products[10].


  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Shah G, Shri R, Panchal V, et al.Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass).J Adv Pharm Technol Res.2011;2(1):3–8.
  3. WebMD.Ingredients:Citronella: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  4. Ogoma SB, Ngonyani H, Simfukwe ET, et al.The mode of action of spatial repellents and their impact on vectorial capacity of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto.PLoS ONE,2014;9(12).
  5. Kongkaew C, Sakunrag I, Chaiyakunapruk N, et al.Effectiveness of citronella preparations in preventing mosquito bites: Systematic review of controlled laboratory experimental studies.Tropical Medicine and International Health.2011;16(7):802-810.
  6. Batubara I, Suparto IH, Sa’diah H, et al.Effects of Inhaled Citronella Oil and Related Compounds on Rat Body Weight and Brown Adipose Tissue Sympathetic Nerve.Nutrients.2015;7:1859-1870.",
  8. Rhind JP, Pirie D.Essential Oils: A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice.Singing Dragon.2012.
  9. Saeki Y, Shiohara M.Physiological effects of inhaling fragnances.International Journal of Aromatherapy.2001; 11(3):118-125.
  10. Keller E. Aromatherapy handbook for beauty, hair, and skincare. Inner traditions/bear & co. 1999.
  11. Stewart S, Ambrosio V. A Beginner’s Reference Guide To Aromatherapy and Herbs. Aromatherapy. 2011.
  12. Sajo MV, Song SB, Bajgai J, et al.Applicability of citronella oil (Cymbopogon winteratus) for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases in the rural area of Tikapur, far-western Nepal.Rural and remote health. 2015.
  13. Curtis S, Thomas P, Jhonson F. Neal's Yard Remedies Essential Oils: Restore * Rebalance * Revitalize * Feel the Benefits * Enhance Natural Beauty * Create Blends.Dorling Kindersley Ltd.2016.
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.


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