Forget burning a nasty candle to ward of those pesky creepies! For a natural, effective way to repel insects, look no further than Citronella essential oil. While best-known for its bug protection benefits, it offers a host of other possibilities that will make it hold its own as an essential member of your oil collection.
Citronella Oil Background
There are several different species of citronella, all in the lemongrass family of plants. Grown primarily in Asia, Cymbopogon winterianus (commonly known as Java citronella) is the variety sourced by doTERRA. This variety is known to produce a more potent, higher-quality essential oil than the other varieties, along with a unique blend of constituents that lend it to many different applications. It’s similar in composition to both Rose and Geranium essential oils. Additionally, its easily-recognized lemony fragrance sets it apart as a refreshing and cleansing oil that can support your health.
Citronella essential oil contains both citronellol and geraniol, two constituents which are known for their bug-repellent qualities. It is recognized as one of the most effective natural insect repellants. It works by masking the human fragrance that attracts insects (particularly mosquitoes), freeing you from the hassle of swatting and itching without the harsh chemicals found in conventional bug sprays.
Research shows that applying Citronella topically or diffusing it is more effective at keeping the bugs at bay than citronella candles. It’s because of how much of the oil is burned off by the candle. While it does not last as long as chemical-laden bug sprays, reapplying every 2-3 hours should ensure that you are protected. You can just dilute Citronella essential oil with some carrier oil and lather up, or add a few drops to a spray bottle with some water or witch hazel. Then spritz yourself down before enjoying the outdoors. It would be another great oil to beef up your DIY Bug Off spray, too!
Deep Clean with Citronella
Looking for a refreshing, cleansing scent to add to your cleaning routine? Or are you dealing with some unwanted odors lingering in your home? Citronella oil is a natural deodorizer with a crisp, lemony smell that can keep your home refreshed. Coupling its scent with its potent antibacterial and antifungal properties makes it a great oil to add to your household cleaning products, particularly for your kitchen or bathroom. So many products available for cleaning are packed full of toxins that can interrupt your body’s natural rhythm, leading to autoimmunity, hormone imbalance, thyroid dysfunction, and more.
If you are unsure where to start your healing journey, using natural products with essential oils and ditching the harsh chemicals is a great first step towards health! Check out my best-selling book, Smart Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils, for tons of simple recipes to get your home on the natural path!
Citronella for Skin Support
Citronella essential oil has antibacterial and antifungal components that make it an ideal addition to your skin- and hair-care routines. For your skin, it can help to promote a healthy complexion by diminishing blemishes and balancing out your moisture levels to prevent dryness or an oily feel.
It is also great to apply near scrapes and cuts to prevent infection and support quicker healing. Just add a drop to some carrier oil and apply as needed to imperfections or around cuts. Its cleansing properties will promote your own healing potential and improve the appearance of your skin.
Citronella is also a great oil for your hair and scalp health. Massaging a couple of drops into your scalp or adding it to your daily conditioner can help prevent dryness or dandruff. It gives your locks a smoother appearance without any added greasiness. Some other great oils for hair and scalp health that you could combine with Citronella would be Peppermint, Geranium, and Melaleuca (Tea Tree).
One of the best ways to use these oils is to make your own hair mask. Combine 1-2 drops of each with organic unrefined coconut oil and apply it directly to your scalp. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then use a fine-tooth comb to gently lift out the dead skin. The coconut oil and Citronella will fight off any bacteria while working with the other essential oils to soothe irritation and restore your natural balance of hair oils.
From The Cells Up
Citronella oil can promote your overall health all the way down to your individual cells. As an antioxidant, it can help fight against the stress and inflammation free radicals cause in your body. Using Citronella in a massage or Epsom salt bath is a great way to harness these inflammation-fighting compounds and help your body to find balance.
If you are dealing with joint pain and swelling or muscle soreness, a massage with Citronella essential oil and a carrier oil could also help bring down the inflammation causing the problem and relieve some of your discomfort.
Recharge or Energize
Citronella essential oil has unique properties that can make it either stimulating or relaxing, depending on what you combine it with, and even varying based on your own individual body chemistry. For some, it can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which allows your body to relax, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure to help you wind down and destress. For others, it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which helps you fight fatigue and stay energized.
Either way, it has a refreshing aroma that has positive effects on your mood. For a relaxing blend, try combining Citronella with Wild Orange, Cedarwood, Geranium, or Lavender. It also blends well with Peppermint and Rosemary for an invigorating, energizing aroma to help you conquer your day!
Citronella: The Takeaway
Citronella has so much potential to use for your body and home, outside of repelling pests. From cleaning of your body and home surfaces, to cell health and emotional balance, I hope you are inspired to give this oil a try in a more unconventional way while also repelling those annoying pests!