The Science Behind Citronella

Summertime vacations tend to be coupled with many nostalgic aromas: Salty air, barbeques, fresh fruit, bonfires, and tanning oils. At Ananda, Citronella has found its way into our hearts as one of those familiar “scents of summer”.  It’s welcoming scent perfectly captures the moments of warm summer nights and the essence of starlit memories. Read […]

Summertime vacations tend to be coupled with many nostalgic aromas: Salty air, barbeques, fresh fruit, bonfires, and tanning oils. At Ananda, Citronella has found its way into our hearts as one of those familiar “scents of summer”.  It’s welcoming scent perfectly captures the moments of warm summer nights and the essence of starlit memories. Read on to learn some of what science has discovered which pairs this oil so beautifully with summer.

Citronella is a widely known scent typically infused in candles and often found in the Outdoor section of your nearest department store. Unfortunately, these candles are typically ladened with additional chemicals can make breathing the fumes toxic. Diffusing the pure Citronella oil is not only healthier for your respiratory system, but also provides you with a superior way of repelling unwanted pests. In a 2009 study, the use of pure Citronella essential oil was shown to produce a 68% repellency rate compared to a burning Citronella candle which produced far less protection at 14% repellency rate. Geraniol is one of the main components in Citronella oil, and just Geraniol alone was found to have a 96% repellency rate. [1]

The sweltering heat of Summer brings pests both day and night. Whether on a hike or at the lake, it’s important to be mindful of ticks and other bugs that can prey on you during the heat of the day. Citronella acts as an excellent aid in these circumstances as well. In fact, a 2018 study held by the Food and Agriculture Organization found Citronella essential oil effective at killing off ticks found on cattle. The study employed a combination of Citronella and Lemongrass, resulting in the death of the ticks in the pre-engorged state. This promising new study shows Citronella acts as a natural acaricide, which are substances effective at killing ticks, mites, and other bugs. [2]

By observing the undeniable efficacy of Citronella, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have registered Citronella as a plant-derived insect repellent. The protection time of Citronella has been found to be “at least 1.5 hours in length against Aedes spp., 3 hours against Anopheles spp., and 5 hours against Culex spp.”. The EPA now recognizes Citronella-based products to contain a much lesser degree of risk than DEET-based products, and are safe to use as long as they are used within the guidelines of the label instructions. [3]

When it comes to choosing the right products for those summer months, it’s important to be mindful of the benefits and/or risks behind the products you choose. Making conscious decisions in your life help to guide you to healthier ways of protecting yourself. Citronella is an exceptional addition to your oil collection for the summer. Take some with you wherever you go and get yourself out of all of your buggy situations!

References

[1] Müller, Günter C., et. al. “Efficacy of the Botanical Repellents Geraniol, Linalool, and Citronella against Mosquitoes.” Journal of Vector Ecology 34, no. 1 (2009): 2-8. doi:10.1111/j.1948-7134.2009.00002.x.

[2] Yurtoğlu, Nadir. “Acaricidal Activity of Volatile Oil from Lemon and Citronella Grasses on Tropical Cattle Ticks.” History Studies International Journal of History 10, no. 7 (2018): 241-64. doi:10.9737/hist.2018.658.

[3] Kongkaew, C., I. Sakunrag, N. et. al. “Effectiveness of Citronella Preparations in Preventing Mosquito Bites: Systematic Review of Controlled Laboratory Experimental Studies.” Tropical Medicine & International Health 16, no. 7 (2011): 802-10. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02781.x.

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