Summer is full of outdoor adventures and fun. With that fun comes the challenges of pesky, disease-carrying insects that endlessly harass you and your guests. Chances are you have used candles, torches, or other products infused with citronella essential oil to deter this activity. It is widely known, and research validates, that citronella essential oil repels insects. Just because this is what citronella is primarily known for, don’t think it is its only benefit. Citronella provides a wide variety of benefits that you don’t want to miss.
Citronella essential oil is obtained from one of two closely related species. The Java type comes from Cymbopogon winterianus; whereas, the Ceylon type is obtained from Cymbopogon nardus. Both are predominantly made up of monoterpenes (alcohols, aldehydes, esters, and alkenes) but their composition can be quite different.
Depending on growing conditions, the Java type produces two primary chemotypes: 1) one rich in citronellal, geraniol, and citronellol and another with high levels of geraniol, followed by citronellol and citronellal. The Ceylon type usually contains geraniol as its primary constituent, with citronellal, limonene, and trans-methyl isoeugenol as other leading constituents.
Their aromatic qualities and appearance are also distinctive. The Java type tends to be darker in color and has a sweeter and a lemonier aroma than the Ceylon type.
Despite their dissimilarities, they are often used interchangeably and possess similar properties. Beyond defending against insects here are seven benefits of citronella oil:
- Researched for its soothing properties, citronella helps to ease sore muscles and joints after exertion and supports a normal inflammatory response in the body. One of the ways that citronella exerts these effects is by scavenging highly reactive constituents (like superoxide) that cause cellular damage that leads to discomfort and inflammation. It also influences the central nervous system to calm nagging aches.
- The amount of calcium inside cells plays a crucial role in the regulation of cardiovascular functions. Vascular tone and resistance intensifies as calcium levels increase inside cells, resulting in a rise in blood pressure. Citronella helps regulate calcium entry into cells, which helps blood vessels relax and improves blood flow throughout the body.
- More than one study demonstrates that citronella is a potent antioxidant and protects cells against free radical damage. Considering the massive assault our cells need to defend against every day, this is a welcome benefit.
- Interestingly, scientists observed that animals that simply inhaled citronella experienced reduced body weight and appetite. So, next time you have a hankering for a large piece of chocolate cake, sit back, inhale some citronella, and enjoy a warm cup of tea to curb this craving.
- The composition of citronella essential oil makes it ideal for cleansing the skin. Whether, keeping a minor cut clean or reducing odors, citronella can purify the skin. It is also used to reduce excess oil on the skin.
- Citronella is calming and mentally clarifying when inhaled. Diffuse this powerful oil when you need a calm sense of focus.
- Oral health requires regular brushing and flossing. To help support these important oral hygiene habits, add a drop of citronella to your daily mouthwash. Scientists have observed that citronella helps promote overall oral cleanliness.
You don’t want to overlook the unique benefits of citronella, nor underestimate its potential to promote a sense of general well-being. Inhale, apply, or ingest this oil and see how it improves your wellness.