Aceite de Citronela, Andropogon nardus, Ceylon Citronella, Citronnelle de Ceylan, Citronnelle de l'Inde, Citronnelle de Java, Cymbopogon afronardus, Cymbopogon nardus, Cymbopogon validus, Cymbopogon winteratus, Cymbopogon winterianus, Herbe Citron, Huile de Citronnelle, Java Citronella, Jonc Odorant, Lenabatu, Maha Pengiri, Nard Grass, Sri Lanka Citronella, Verveine des Indes.


Overview Information

Citronella oil is made by steam distillation of citronella grass. The two main types are Sri Lanka (Ceylon) citronella oil, and Java citronella oil.

Citronella oil is most commonly used as an mosquito repellent.

In foods and beverages, citronella oil is used as a flavoring.

In manufacturing, citronella oil is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and soaps.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information available to know how citronella oil works.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Mosquito repellent. Citronella oil is an ingredient in some mosquito repellents you can buy at the store. Diluted citronella oil seems to prevent mosquito bites for a short amount of time, typically less than 20 minutes. Using 100% citronella oil seems to work for longer but can cause skin reactions. Other mosquito repellents, such as those containing DEET, are usually preferred because these repellents last much longer.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Infection of the intestines by parasites.
  • Insect repellant, when applied to the skin.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Spasms.
  • To improve digestion.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of citronella oil for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Citronella oil seems to be safe for most people in the small amounts found in foods. But it's LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in large amounts.

When applied to the skin: Citronella oil is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when applied to the skin as an insect repellent. It might cause skin reactions or irritation in some people.

When inhaled: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to inhale citronella oil. Lung damage has been reported.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: It's LIKELY UNSAFE to give citronella oil to children by mouth. There are reports of poisoning in children. One toddler died after swallowing insect repellent that contained citronella oil.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of citronella oil during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.



We currently have no information for CITRONELLA OIL Interactions.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For repelling mosquito: Citronella oil in concentrations of 0.5% to 10% are most commonly used. Concentrations up to 100% have also been used.

View References


  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Fradin MS, Day JF. Comparative efficacy of insect repellents against mosquito bites. N Engl J Med 2002;347:13-8. View abstract.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Recommendations for the Prevention and Treatment of Malaria Among International Travellers. Available at: (Accessed 24 May 2005).
  • Public Health Agency of Canada. Safety Tips on Using Personal Insect Repellents Available at: (Accessed 24 May 2005)
  • Sajo ME, Song SB, Bajgai J, et al. Applicability of citronella oil (Cymbopogon winteratus) for the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases in the rural area of Tikapur, far-western Nepal. Rural Remote Health 2015;15(4):3532. Epub 2015 Nov 12. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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