When you say citronella you think of its use as an insect repellent. Obviously the essential oil can also be used for this purpose, but it also has many other properties: calming for the psyche, decontracting for the muscles, it is also an excellent antimicrobial particularly effective against some bacteria.

The plant and the production of essential oil

Lemongrass is an aromatic perennial plant of the grass family, indeed to be more precise the term citronella refers to a botanical genus, which therefore includes different species of plants, called Cymbopogon which belongs to the Poaceae family (also called Gramineae or commonly grasses). The plant, originally from tropical Asia, looks like a bush with long ribbon-like leaves of an intense green color that can reach one meter in height. The plant gives off a smell reminiscent of lemon, it is no coincidence that it is also known as lemongrass. Citronella essential oil is obtained from two species: Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winteranius. The first is Ceylon lemongrass, the second is Javanese. The method is that of steam distillation.

Properties of lemongrass essential oil

Citronella essential oil is renowned as an insect repellent, especially mosquitoes, which would not like that scent which most of us find altogether pleasant. However, various other properties are attributed to citronella essential oil: the ability to calm down and consequently promote concentration, excellent antibacterial abilities (but according to some sources also antifungal and antiseptic in general), the relaxing properties of the psyche are echoed by the decontracting properties of muscles.

Topical use of lemongrass essential oil

In traditional medicine, lemongrass oil is used as a remedy for a variety of ailments, science has confirmed that it also has a mild anti-inflammatory activity. So enough not to replace NSAIDs in really important ailments but, for example, as a remedy for the annoyance of insect bites. It can be used in massages (as usual: added to a carrier oil that is certainly not absolute, no essential oil should be used absolute in large quantities) to relieve aching muscles thanks to its decontracting capacity. According to some sources it would also be effective against rheumatism, but the decontracting activity is the most certain or in any case universally recognized.
In the case of respiratory ailments, the suffumigi can give relief thanks to their powerful bactericidal action.

Lemongrass essential oil in Aromatherapy

The environmental diffusion of citronella essential oil can be used: for the activity on the psyche, to promote relaxation but possibly also improve concentration if the problem prevents you from concentrating it is nervousness; to keep insects away (for this purpose it is also used in wardrobes); to disinfect the air and facilitate breathing in the event of mild seasonal ailments for which you do not want to resort to fumigation.


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