Citronella is a grass that mainly grows in some Asian countries and some islands of the South Pacific. It has a rich, crisp lemony aroma and thus bears the name citronella. The essential oil of citronella is extracted from two varieties of citronella. The first one is the Ceylon variety, whose scientific name is Cymbopogon nardus and the second one is Java variety, called Cymbopogon winterianus in botanical terminology. In both cases, the essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh plant. Components like methyl isoeugenol and a few others that are found in citronella essential oil are responsible for its antibacterial properties. Citronella oil kills fungus and inhibits fungal growth. The essential oil is popular for its insecticidal benefits as it kills and keeps away insects. It has been found particularly effective on a species of mosquito, called Aedes aegypti whose bite causes the dreaded yellow fever and is successful at treating body and head lice as well as fleas.
The US Environmental Protection Agency states that citronella oil has little or no toxicity to humans when used as a topical insect repellent, with no reports of adverse effects of concern over a 60-year period.
Eradicating Head Lice
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