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What are some uses of citronella oil?

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Quick Answer

Citronella oil is often used as a mosquito repellent. This oil, produced from Cymbopogon plants, also has uses as a food flavoring or additive, and it is ingested to eliminate parasites from the intestine. Citronella oil is also used as a fragrance in the cosmetic industry.

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Full Answer

Produced oil of citronella typically has several components to it. In addition to citronella oil, ingredients include citronellal and geraniol. It is derived from two types of Cymbopogon plants, so its exact makeup may differ by manufacturer. As an insect and mosquito repellent, it is typically safe to apply citronella oil directly to the skin. Citronella oil is also often added to candles, so the scent is released into the air to repel unwanted insects. This oil is also used in many sprays, lotions, pouches and pellets.

While generally a safe product, directions on warnings and instructional labels should always be followed to prevent problems. Citronella oil is deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is listed on the EPA list of products that carry a minimal risk. Fundamentally, however, citronella is a pesticide. Care should be taken when administered to or near children, and a physician should be consulted if any type of allergic reaction appears.

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