Cymbopogon winterianus Jowitt is a tall fragrant perennial grass, growing up to a height of 1 – 1.5 m. The leaves are sessile, simple, green, and linear, equitantly arranged and can grow to an average size of 60 cm long x 2.5 cm wide. Leaves are glabrous, venation parallel with an acuminate apiece and sheathing base. There are no true stems. The leaf sheath is tubular and acts as a pseudo-stem.
Citronella oil is obtained by steam distillation of partially wilted leaves of Cymbopogon winterianus. The Citronella essential oil is widely used for its antibacterial, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, insect repellent, stomachic, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge properties or substances. It contains citronellal, geraniol, geranial acetate and limonene as its chief constituents.
Mainly geraniol, citronellol, geranyl acetate, limonene, citronellyl acetate, elemol and camphene. Other sesquiterpenes are β-elemene, y-cadinene and traces of cubenene, calamenene, cbourbonene, bisabolene, eugenol, nerol, linalol, neral etc.
Anti-infectious, antiseptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, deodorant, diaphoretic fungicidal, insect repellent (mosquito), stomachic, excessive perspiration, oily skin and hair, room deodorizer, rheumatism and arthritic pain. This oil can be used in treatment of problems like oily skin, oily hair, abnormal palpitations, colitis, migraine, neuralgia, fatigue, headache, nausea, and abdominal pain resulting from gas or cramps.
This oil is used to kill and keep away from insects. It has been found particularly effective on a species of mosquito. This is also effective on lice, body and head louse, and fleas.
In perfumery for the scenting of soaps and in the production of technical preparations.
Citronella oil is used as a flavoring agent for many foods & beverages.