Citronella oil comes from the stems and leaves of citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus). The liquid has a yellow colour and has a natural fragrance of flowers and grass. It is found in tropical regions and is native to Sri Lanka. The oil is extracted by passing steam through the grass, a process known as steam distillation. This ingredient is not to be confused with lemongrass.
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One of its most common uses is as an insect repellent. This can be diluted and applied to the skin or even added to products such as candles to help keep pests away. It is believed to be an effective repellent for flies, mosquitoes, wasps and even ticks. It’s favoured for being a naturally occurring product that effectively masks scents that insects are typically attracted to.
It can also be used in oil burners to create an ambient atmosphere, while doubling up as an insect-repellent.
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