The citronella is a plant that grows in tropical climates both as subtropical. It is native to Southeast Asian countries , such as India, Malaysia or Sri Lanka, among others. In the case of Spain, there are some plantations in various regions of the Canary Islands. Citronella is a plant with a large selection of health benefits and properties, which is why it is widely used by people around the world.
What is citronella?
Citronella is a plant that belongs to the grass family. Its leaves are green in color and have a coarse texture, while the flowers are much more delicate, white, pink or pale yellow.
Citronella is a plant that can reach one and a half meters in height. One of its main characteristics is the repellent property of its leaves; in contact with sunlight, an oily substance emanates from them which, although not perceptible to humans, is very unpleasant for insects. That is why citronella is considered one of the best natural mosquito repellants.
The main composition of citronella is made up of citronellol and geraniol. The active principle is called citral , which gives it a very intense lemon aroma ; That is why citronella is widely used in areas such as pastry or perfumery, among others.
Recent studies have revealed that citronella lived its heyday in the 19th century. It was in Sri Lanka where it was cultivated and exported to much of the world until 1890. At the beginning of the 20th century other countries began to cultivate it, some of which managed to do so with a better and more concentrated presentation.
What are its benefits?
Citronella is one of the natural plants with the greatest number of properties and health benefits. Here we indicate which are the most important.
Relax stomach muscles
One of the main benefits of the plant is that it greatly helps to relax the stomach muscles , thus minimizing the risk of bacterial infection.
Recent studies have shown that citronella is helpful in fighting Helicobacter Pylori infection , which can lead to serious illnesses such as gastritis.
One of the most popular uses of the plant is as a natural insecticide against mosquitoes. It is used both to prevent the bites of these insects and to disinfect them once they have occurred.
A great alternative to conventional insect repellants. In addition, being a 100% natural ingredient, there is no risk of reaction.
Detoxify the body
Citronella is one of the best natural ingredients to detoxify the body. A great diuretic that favors the elimination of all toxic substances accumulated over time in certain organs.
In addition, it has antioxidant and antiseptic properties, which is why it is used by those who want to lose weight.
Citronella has a stimulating effect , so it greatly helps the better functioning of the blood circulation. In this way, the risk of suffering certain diseases such as stroke or thrombosis, among others, is reduced.
Ease the pain
One of the most praised benefits of citronella is its ability to reduce any type of inflammation that causes pain , such as muscle or joint pain.
Fight free radicals
Citronella contains antioxidants , so it helps fight free radical damage to both skin and cells.
Citronella has antiseptic properties , so it is a very effective plant to heal wounds and avoid any type of infection. It is also used to speed up the healing process for minor burns.
Eliminate body odor
The citrus aroma greatly reduces body odor . That is why many people use citronella as a deodorant. In this case it is important to apply small doses of essential oil from this plant; otherwise, irritations may appear on sensitive skin.
Take care of the skin
In addition to the health benefits, citronella can also be used to show off prettier skin. It is an ingredient widely used in the world of cosmetics.
On the one hand, it reduces acne effectively, in addition to treating other skin disorders such as eczema. On the other hand, it is a natural refresher , so that after its application the skin is fresh and radiant. And finally, its invigorating effect makes citronella a fantastic essential oil for massaging the body.
The most common form of application of this plant is through citronella oil. Two types are known.
- Celián: a plant native to Sri Lanka, formerly called Celián. It has a warm and citrus aroma and its color is yellow; there are various shades, which can range from pale yellow to dark.
- Java: it is very similar to the previous one, although this is considered of higher quality. Its color is darker.
One of the most popular uses for citronella oil is as an insect repellent . It is common to find it in the vast majority of pesticide products on the market: sprays, lotions, candles … In addition, thanks to its antifungal properties , this essential oil is also used to treat mosquito bites.
Citronella oil is also used in aromatherapy sessions . The benefits and properties attributed to it are many: prevent colds, fight headaches …
Citronella is an ingredient widely used in the world of cosmetics. Thanks to its properties and benefits for skin care, many creams and soaps are formulated with this plant.
A very common use of the oil of this tropical plant is to give massages that relieve pain in both muscles and joints, in addition to relaxing the body and mind .
And finally, when it comes to the world of food and beverages, citronella oil is also added as a natural flavoring in alcoholic beverages, dairy products, jellies and puddings.
Citronella as a mosquito repellent
There is not just one variety of citronella. In total today there are about 30 species. Well, it is the so-called Cymbopogon Citratus which is known as anti-mosquito citronella, whose extract is used to develop repellent products.
This plant is made up of three main elements. On the one hand, citronellol, with antiseptic and antibacterial properties . On the other hand, geraniol, an organic compound present in some plants that gives rise to a characteristic perfume. And finally, caryophyllene, which produces a very specific aroma. Well, the combination of these elements displeases insects.
Thus, having a plant of this type in the garden or inside the house is an excellent option to avoid mosquito bites.
Although in the vast majority of developed countries mosquito bites are not a serious problem, they are not so in underdeveloped and developing countries. And it is that in them mosquitoes can transmit serious diseases such as dengue, yellow fever or Zika .
Although citronella is a natural ingredient, it should not be forgotten that it also has a number of contraindications, so it should be used with care. In no case should it come into contact with the eyes and mucous membranes, or be ingested .
The use of repellents formulated based on citronella is not recommended for those with wounds or skin irritations. In the case of pregnant women, the application of citronella is not recommended since the components can affect the fetus.
How to care for a citronella?
Thanks to the wide range of properties and health benefits of citronella, many people choose to grow it at home. One of its main advantages is that it does not require too much care.
The first thing to keep in mind is that this plant must live in areas with hot climates . Therefore, if you want to plant in the garden or on the terrace, it is best to do it in spring or summer. Once fall or winter arrives, it is transplanted into a pot and sheltered inside, placing it under a window.
Planting citronella in the garden
Planting a citronella in the garden to ward off mosquitoes is a fabulous idea. To do this you have to dig a hole and cover with a combination of three parts of potting soil and one part of soil.
Do not forget that this is a plant that needs a lot of sunlight . Therefore, you have to find an area of the garden where it receives at least six hours of sun a day.
It is important to water the plant properly and remove all those yellow leaves that appear. As additional care, this plant needs the application of some substrate every two weeks.
How can it be used?
It is interesting to know the different ways to use citronella. As we have pointed out, the essential oil is the most popular of all, but there are others.
- Lotion: to prepare a lotion, dilute 30 tablespoons of citronella essential oil in a tablespoon of vodka and 120 ml of water. The lotion is added to a spray bottle and can be used as an insect repellent as well as a deodorant.
- Oil: citronella oil can be purchased in health food stores or specialized stores, or prepared at home. It is used especially to massage sore muscles, as well as to apply on the abdomen to relieve spasms.
- Infusion: infusion of citronella is highly recommended to avoid gas and stomach spasms.
- Plaster: and finally, by boiling a handful of fresh citronella and olive oil, you get a plaster that can be applied to sore joints or muscles.
When using citronella essential oil or any type of cosmetic that includes this ingredient, it is important to know what other ingredients the product in question contains. It is common for citronella to be mixed with lavender, lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus …
The contact dermatitis is the side effect that is repeated more frequently following the use of highly concentrated citronella. Thus, it is best to first test the product on a small area of the skin.
In short, citronella is one of the most beneficial natural plants that exist for people of all ages . Its benefits and health properties are very wide. In addition, it is a plant that can be grown easily at home, which is a great plus.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.