Citronella Essential Oil
Citronella is an aromatic, perennial grass that is cultivated primarily in Asia.
Citronella Essential Oil is most widely known for its ability to deter mosquitos and other insects. Because the aroma is so widely associated with insect repellent products, Citronella Oil is often ignored for its other beneficial uses (refer to the Citronella Essential Oil Uses section below).
Citronella Essential Oil is abundant in citronellal (aldehyde) and in geraniol and citronellol (monoterpenols). The specific composition can vary due to several factors including the region that its grown.
Aromatically, Citronella Oil possesses a citrusy, slightly fruity, fresh and sweet aroma that blends well with essential oils in the citrus, floral, herbaceous and wood families.
Cymbopogon nardus / Cymbopogon winterianus
Common Method of Extraction
Plant Part Typically Used
Strength of Initial Aroma
Citrusy, slightly fruity, fresh, sweet.
Citronella Essential Oil Uses
Muscular aches, infectious skin conditions, fevers, heat rash, excessive perspiration, fungal infections, fatigue, insect bites, insect deterrent. [Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016, 581.]
Arthritic and muscular pain, neuralgia, fatigue, nervous exhaustion, colds/flu, minor infections, insect repellent, excessive perspiration, oily skin. [Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 2003), 187.]
See Essential Oil Safety for more complete list of constituents.
[R.O.B. Wijesekera, The Chemical Composition and Analysis of Citronella Oil. (J. Natl. Sci. Council (Sri Lanka) 1, 1973), 67-81. K. Bruns, E. Heinrich, I. Pagel. Citronellaol: Untersuchung von Handels- und Hybridolen Verschiedener Provinienz. (In: Kubeczka, Vorkommen und Analytic atherischer Ole, Band 2. Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart). J.T. Carlin, S. Kramer, C.T. Ho. Comparison of Commercial Citronella Oils from Various Origins. In: B.M. Lawrence, B.D. Mookerjee, B.J. Willis, Flavor and Frances: a World Perspective (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1988), 495-504. B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1981-1987 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1989), 31. L. Zhu, Y. Li, B. Li, et al. Aromatic Plants and Essential Constituents. (South China Institute of Botany, HK, 1993). Sources cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 251.]
Citronella Essential Oil Safety Information
Tisserand and Young indicate that there is a risk of drug interaction when using Citronella Oil. They recommend a dermal maximum of 18.2%. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 251.]
General Safety Information
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Important Information About the Profiles
The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for educational purposes only. The references to safety information, constituents and percentages is generalized information. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.
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