CitronellaThere are two different types of Citronella oil, Ceylon Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) and Java Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), used in aromatherapy and both belong to the Graminaceae Family.

Ceylon citronella is a tall aromatic grass native to Sri Lanka. A yellow brown liquid with a fresh powerful lemony scent is steam distilled from the fresh, part-dried or dried leaf of this grass. This is the Citronella oil that is preferred for use in perfumery. Java citronella is cultivated in the tropics worldwide especially in Java, Vietnam, Africa, Argentina and Central America. A colourless to pale yellow essential oil with a fresh, lemon-type fragrance is steam distilled from the fresh, part-dried or dried leaf of this grass. This is the oil that is associated with citronella candles and insect-repellent sprays.

Both Citronellas have antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, insect repellant (mosquitoes), stimulant and tonic properties. Ceylon citronella contains more monoterpene hydrocarbons than Java citronella. They both contain geraniol, citronellol and citronellal. Java citronella yields twice as much essential oil as Ceylon citronella and has a higher citronellal content. It is thought that the Java oil is probably the better insect repellant.

Citronella blends well bergamot, cajeput, cedarwood, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, pine, rosemary, tea tree and thyme.

Psychologically, use Ceylon citronella for fatigue, headaches and depression. Use Java citronella for nervous conditions and stress related conditions. On thephysiological level Both are insect-mosquito-repellants and room deodorizers. Use Ceylon citronella for colitis and intestinal infections. Use Java citronella for intestinal infections.

Contraindications: Avoid during pregnancy. Citronella oil has been reported to cause contact dermatitis in humans.

Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000…20011

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