Citronella Essential Oil is steam distilled from the leaves and stems of the Cymbopogon species of plants, especially Cymbopogon nardus. Citronella oil is famous as a
plant-based insect repellent, a bio-pesticide with a non-toxic mode of action, and has been registered for this use in USA since 1948. The main countries to produce this oil are Indonesia and China, who together make about 40% of the world's citronella essential oil.
Other than being useful as an insect repellent for the skin, this oil is good for excessive perspiration, oily skin and hair, and works as a deodorant. It is said to soothe pain due to rheumatism and arthritis, and resist flu, colds and minor infections. The oil is good for the digestive system to heal colitis, intestinal infections, and get rid of intestinal parasites. It eases menstrual cramps and pain, and speeds up the heartbeat. Used in a vaporiser, it is known to dispel fatigue, headaches, and neuralgia, and create a mood of cheer and optimism. Avoid use during pregnancy, and in children under 3. Do not consume internally.
Ancient cultures in India, Egypt, and elsewhere, where the Cymbopogon species of grasses grew used them to repel insects, especially mosquitoes. In those times, people settled near rivers, and water bodies. While this was a good thing in many ways, it also meant an abundance of insects, mosquitoes, which brought disease and killed people. So, the use of this grass as repellent was a matter of life and death at that time.