Anti-mosquito citronella oil: how to make it at home

Citronella, that exuberant and delicious-smelling plant, has many uses and properties that go beyond tea made from its leaves. Today we will learn more about the uses and benefits lemongrass essential oil y how to make your extract at home.

To better understand the importance and uses of oil, this article will cover the following topics:

Citronella, what plant is this?

Citronella is an herb with a fresh lemon aroma. Its scientific name is Cymbopogon winterianus.

This plant belongs to the Poaceae family, and is native to countries such as India, Asia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Citronella can measure up to 90 centimeters in height; It has long, thin leaves. It can be grown in pots, small planters, flower beds and backyards.

Its slightly sweet essence, but at the same time similar to that of lemon, it is commonly used in aromatherapy or as a component in perfumes, flavors, repellents, disinfectants or incense.

The most used form of citronella is, in addition to leaf tea, the essential oil that is also extracted from its leaves, through an industrial process known as “vapor entrainment,” which separates the oil through water vapor.

But also It is possible to make a lemongrass extract at home, as we will see below, to use it with the same benefits of the oil.

Properties of citronella essential oil

Citronella oil has the following properties:

  • antidepressant;
  • deodorant;
  • antiseptic;
  • bracing
  • germicidal;
  • refreshing;
  • neuralgic;
  • insect repellent, among others.

What is citronella oil for (benefits)

Thanks to its properties, citronella oil provides the following benefits:

  • Relieves headaches and migraines.
  • It's a natural repellent for various insects.
  • It serves as a natural anti-flea for dogs and cats.
  • It is useful as a tonic for the nervous system.
  • It helps in the recovery of convalescents by providing vigor and courage.
  • Relieves rheumatic pain.
  • Softens and refreshes the skin.
  • Reduces fatigue in legs and feet.

Where and how to use citronella oil

Citronella oil can be used in various situations in our daily lives.

Below are some examples of how to use citronella oil:

  • Scalding in the feet: diluting 6 drops of lemongrass essential oil in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil or cereal alcohol in 4 liters of hot water (in winter) or fresh water (in summer) produces a great scalding effect on the feet, for people who work a lot . standing time.
  • Room freshener - Citronella oil is a great room freshener, its slightly sweet aroma helps leave places with a more welcoming, relaxing and refreshing climate, in addition to scaring away insects. To use it for this purpose, put a few drops of the oil in a réchaud, spray bottle, or in a fragrance in the living room or bedroom. You can also use candles or lots of them with this scent.
  • Aromatherapy - The therapeutic properties of this oil are used in aromatherapy, helping to clear the mind, providing a feeling of purification and clarity.
  • Ecological cleaning - For sink, floors, tiles, bathroom, glass and metals, mix in a bucket, a tablespoon of vinegar, a tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of lemongrass essential oil. Wipe the areas to be cleaned with a cloth moistened with this mixture.
  • In pet care: against fleas on pets, simply drop 3 drops of citronella essential oil on the pet's collar, however, care and attention is necessary, as some animals are more sensitive to the smell of citronella and any signs or reaction, discontinue use.
  • Against fleas - To eliminate fleas from places where there may be an infestation, dilute 5 drops of citronella essential oil in a little cereal alcohol, fill a spray bottle with water and spray the necessary places. Be careful not to let the pet inhale the oil directly, as it may irritate their nasal mucous membranes.
  • Body massage - To do this, add 2 to 3 drops of essential oil for each tablespoon of vegetable base, which can be sunflower oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, among others, and massage the body. For sensitive skin, it is recommended to dilute lemongrass oil in a vegetable-based teaspoon.
  • Bathtub: Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a bathtub filled with warm water and enjoy the purifying benefits this oil provides.
  • Medical uses - For therapeutic and healing purposes, citronella oil can be used to relieve symptoms of infectious diseases, sinusitis, headaches, flu, fatigue, cramps and stress, remembering that its use does not replace necessary medical treatment.

How to use this oil as a repellent

This oil can be used as repellent insects natural and ecological, including against the dengue mosquito, in the following ways:

  • Putting 3 tablespoons of cereal alcohol and 20 drops of essential oil and a glass of water in a spray bottle, you can use it as a spray to iron your clothes, repel moths and other insects.
  • To keep insects away, Drops of citronella oil can be placed at the entrance of the house.
  • As a natural and body repellent, you can use a few drops of lemongrass essential oil with any preferred vegetable oil, to pass into the body, when necessary.

Precautions of use

Before using this oil topically, do a sensitivity test by dabbing a drop on a small area of ​​skin.

In young children and pregnant women, before using this essential oil, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

The use of citronella oil is contraindicated for people with heart problems, as it can increase your heart rate.

How to make citronella extract at home.

Extract lemongrass essential oil at home It is not so simple but, as it is an alcohol-soluble oil, you can opt for this form of extraction, although other substances present in the leaf, also soluble in alcohol, such as chlorophyll, will be part of this oil that will not be pure as This is achieved by steam extraction.

But it's worth doing!

What will it take?

  • fresh lemongrass leaves
  • Scissors
  • Dark glass bottle with an airtight lid or if it is not dark, paper to line it.
  • Mineral water
  • 70% alcohol
  • Measuring cup

Steps to make lemongrass extract:

  1. Harvest citronella leaves early in the morning, using scissors to cut each branch at the base of the plant's stem.
  2. Wash the leaves well to remove impurities.
  3. Let the leaves air dry.
  4. Prick the leaves with scissors.
  5. Place them on clean, preferably dark glass.
  6. Using a measuring cup, place 70% mineral water and 30% 70% alcohol in the glass.
  7. Cover well, if it is a transparent glass line with paper.
  8. Label the date the statement was made.
  9. Store in a dark place and leave for 15 days, stirring every other day.
  10. After 15 days, strain, remove the leaves and leave only the extract in the glass bottle, maintaining conservation, always covered when not in use and protected from light.

This recipe is from Canal Assim que Faz.

Look at the video with the step by step of the preparation of citronella extract, emphasizing that the extract is obtained differently from the essential oil, but it can also be used in situations that make it necessary to take advantage of the properties and benefits of citronella.

alcoholic extract

You can also get your lemongrass essence by dipping the perforated and chosen leaves in a 30% alcohol and water solution .

Watch the full explanation of how to do it in the video below.

Citronella: uses, properties and medicinal qualities

Now that we know everything about your oil, let's understand more about this plant so that you can get excited about planting citronella at home, since can also be used ornamentally in environments and in the garden. In addition to contributing to its beauty and shine, its smell is cheerful and insect repellent.

Citronella is a plant of the grass family (Graminae or Poaceae), which means grass, grasses or grasses, as well as capim-holy or grass-prince, rice, corn, wheat, barley, sugar cane and even bamboo .

If you look closely, all of these plants have a long leaf, with parallel veins, they form bushes and their roots extend through the ground forming a very strong tissue that holds the earth.

Uses and properties

  • Citronellas are excellent for erosion control and, in the world, they constitute 20% of natural grasses. Citronella, like capim-santo, has leaves with very sharp edges (be careful with your fingers when harvesting, really cut). His Latin name , which should not be confused with others, is Lemongrass winterianus o Cymbopogon nardus (two species with the same qualities) and is native to Asia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Therefore, a very tropical plant, with a humid and sunny climate. The term “grass” is a word of Tupi origin, caá pi'i, which means “thin leaf.”
  • Its oil, as we have seen, is a natural aromatic essence, with an aroma similar to that of lemon, widely used in both the cosmetic and manufacturing industries. manufacturing of repellents and also in perfumes.
  • Citronella repellents have demonstrated su effectiveness in controlling annoying insects in livestock, like the bovine tick [ Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus ], the horn fly ( Haematobia irritans ), the stable fly ( Stomoxys calcitrans ) and the fly domestic ( Domestic musca ). If you want to know more about this scientific work, read this study -> HERE .

Medicinal qualities of citronella

Citronella is uses como insect, soothing, bactericide, febrifuge, sweatycarminative.

In addition to being used as repellent, external use and as a remedy for intestinal fevers and other digestive disorders, is one of the preferred oils for homemade aromatherapy since it is quite easy to grow at home.

Precautions and contraindications for use.

Citronella oil is not a photosensitizer, it can be used directly on the skin, but its ingestion should be avoided by pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy and by the heart.

Internal use must always be careful, in any plant, because the difference between medicine and poison is in the dosage beyond the fact that people have different sensitivities.

By Deise Aur. Article in Portuguese