Citronella

Common Name: Citronella
Scientific Name: Cymbopogon winterianus

Plant is a perennial, shallowly rooted rhizome. Culms are tufted, robust, up to 2 m tall. Leaf sheaths are glabrous, reddish inside; leaf blades relatively thin, drooping 2/3 of their length, 40-80 cm tall, 1.5 to 2.5 cm wide, abaxial surface glaucous, adaxial surface light green, margins scabrid, base narrow, apex long acuminate. Spathate compound panicle large, lax, up to 50 cm. Sessile spikelets are elliptic-lanceolate; lower glume, flat or slightly concave, 2-keeled, 3-veined between keels.

• Essential Oil / Anti-Candidal: Essential oils and ethanol extracts from the leaves and roots of 35 medicinal plants commonly used in Brazil were screened for anti-Candida activity. The essential oils of 13 plants, including C. winterianus, showed anti-Candida activity. (2)
• Cardiovascular Effects: Study showed the essential oil of C. winterianus induced hypotensive and vasorelaxant effects probably mediated through Ca-channel blocking. Higher doses were noted to induce transient bradycardia and arrhythmias from cardiac muscarinic activation secondary to a vagal discharge. 
• Anticonvulsant / Essential Oil Analysis: Phytochemical analysis of essential oil yielded geraniol, citronellal and citronellol. Study showed a possible anticonvulsant activity of the essential oil. (4)
• Antifungal: Study investigated the activity of essential oil of Cymbopogon winterianus against C. albicans. Phytochemical analysis of EO yielded citronellal, 23.59%, geraniol, 18.81%, and citronellol, 11.74%. The EO showed concentration -dependent antifungal activity, similar to amphotericin B and nystatin. (8)
• Anticonvulsant: Comparative study was done on the effect of EOs of Cymbopogon citratus and C. winterianus on three models of convulsions on male Swiss mice. The mechanism of anticonvulsant effect of the EOs was, at least in part, dependent upon the GABAergic neurotransmission. Their effects on inflammatory biomarkers may also contribute to their CNS activity. (9)
• CNS Behavioral Effect: Study in animal model characterized a psychopharmacological effect of leaf essential oil on the CNS. The LEO increased the sleeping time induced by sodium pentobarbital in a dose-dependent manner, decreased ambulation without altering motor coordination. Results suggest LEO has CNS activities, as hypnotic, sedative, and antinociceptive, which might involve a central GABAergic system. (see constituents above) (10)
• Acaricidal: Study showed an acaricidal effects of contact formulations of essential oils when compared to commercial chemical products, and suggests further studies for an alternative for controlling cattle ticks. (11)
• Larvicidal / Molluscicidal: Study evaluated the molluscicidal and larvicidal activities of essential oil of C. winterianus. Results showed moderate larvicidal activity against the larvae of A. salina and can justify its use in the aquatic environment without affecting other living organisms. (12)
• Anti-Mosquito Property: Study evaluated essential oils from C. deodora, E. citriodora, C. flexuosus, Cymbopogon winterianus, P. roxburghii, S. aromaticum and T. minuta for bioactivity against adults of Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes aegypti. Results showed C. winterianus and S. aromaticum to be equi-effective and most effective against both mosquito species. (13)
• Leaf Essential Oil Complexed in ß-Cyclodextrin / Orofacial Antinociceptive Effect: Study evaluated the orofacial antinociceptive effect of C. wintrianus essential oil (LEO) complexed in ß-cyclodextrin (LEO-CD) and the possible involvement of the CNS. Male Swiss mice were subjected to formalin-, capsaicin-, and glutamate-induced orofacial nociception. Results suggest the LEO-CD had orofacial antinociceptive profile, probably mediated by activation of the CNS without changing motor coordination. (15)
• Antifungal Against Trichophyton mentagrophytes / Essential Oil: Trichophyton mentagrophytes is a causative fungal agent of dermatophytosis. Study evaluated the antifungal activity of C. winterianus essential oil against T. mentagrophytes using measures of mycelial growth, germination of spores, fungal viability, morphogenesis, cell wall and cell membrane leakage test. Results showed antifungal activity. The action did not involve the cell wall but may involve the fungal plasma membrane. Study suggests a potential antifungal product, especially for treatment of dermatophytosis.

Popularly known as an insect repellant, Citronella lives up to its reputation by warding of mosquitoes and other disease carrying insects. Highly recognizable because of its strong odor and lemony scent, Citronella can be combined with other essential oils to produce a more desirable smelling concoction.

To tell apart from Lemongrass, Citronella has red pigments on its stem while the Lemongrass has green. The leaves of Citronella are also wider compared to its cousin.