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Citronella Ceylon (nardus)
Citronella Ceylon (nardus)
Citronella Ceylon (Nardus)
Cymbopogon nardus

Plant Origin: Ceylon
Method: Steam distilled grass
Cultivation: unsprayed (grown organically but not certified)
Chemical Family: Aldehydes, Monoterpenes, Monoterpenols
Aroma: Fresh, lemony, slightly sweet
Note (Evaporation Rate): Top
Key Constituents from GC/MS Analysis: Lot# CTN-101
geraniol 54.54%
geranyl acetate 7.10%
citronellal 6.66%
limonene 3.88%
citronellol 2.38%
trans caryophyllene 3.78%
Let's Compare Citronella Java (Cymbopogon winterianus) with Citronella Ceylon (Cymbopogon nardus):
Citronella Java has significant levels of citronellal and geraniol, which potentially may offer a broader range of therapeutic effects than Citronella Ceylon, which has a significant level of geraniol, but much less citronellal. It is generally felt that Citronella Java is a better insect repellant than Ceylon, and Ceylon is more commonly used in perfumery. 
Attributes of citronellal:
Airborn antimicrobial
CNS depressant
Attributes of geraniol:
Kills dust mites and proved more effective than DEET (see Jeon mite-control study referenced below)
Antitumoral: Invitro and invito research shows antitumoral effects on leukemia and cancers of the breast, colon, skin, pancreas and liver (see references below).
Children? Suitable
Pregnancy/Breastfeeding? Suitable
Medication? Contradicted orally with Antidepressants (CYP2B6 substrates)
Therapeutic Uses:
Citronella Ceylon essential oil may support, aid, ease, soothe, reduce, calm, relax, promote and/or maintain healthy function of the following:
Bacteria (Leung/Foster reported C.nardus to be as active as penicillin against certain gram-positive bacteria) 
Chemopreventive properties 
Glandular function  
Heat rash 
Insect bites and deterrent 
Malaria (Ansari/Raxdan reported that C.nardus was found to give almost complete protection against Anopheles cullicifacies (a principle malaria carrier) for up to eleven hours.) 
Mental Stimulation 
Nerve pain 
Oily skin 
Parasites, worms 
Skin, oily 
Application Suggestions (See Essential Oil Usage for more information and a dilution chart.)
Topical: Dilute with a carrier oilunscented lotion or unscented cream and apply on area of concern or as desired. Consider using a roll-on applicator for ease of application of prediluted oil. Citronella (nardus) is recommended by Kurt Schnaubelt as a massage oil for the relief of joint and muscular pain and neuralgia. The maximum dermal use level should be 18.2% based on 29.1% geraniol (Tisserand/Young).

Inhalation: Diffuse or use a personal Nasal Inhaler


Internal: Citronella is suitable for internal use within safe parameters if such use is deemed appropriate. We feel that internal use is rarely *needed* and should only be used with respect for how concentrated the oils are. HEO does not advocate internal use of essential oils without appropriate knowledge and understanding of how to administer, for what purpose, how much, which essential oils, safety concerns and so on. In our experience, essential oils are generally more effective used topically with proper dilution or inhaled. Kurt Schnaubelt Ph.D. notes that "French aromatherapy literature contains many references to using oils orally." He goes on to note that "generally 1 drop is always enough when ingesting essential oils." A potential toxicity hazard could occur when untrained people use essential oils orally and ingest too much. Keep in mind that while medical doctors or health care practitioners may prescribe essential oils for internal use, they are trained and experienced in the safe application of essential oils. It is not a matter of using "French aromatherapy" or "British" methods, it's a matter of experience and appropriate application.
Contradicted orally with Antidepressants (CYP2B6 substrates).
Click here for information about internal usage.

Hopewell Essential Oil blends with Citronella
Citronella nardus is considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, although it may cause contact dermatitis in some individuals (Tisserand says "low risk).

Oral use caution if taking drugs metabolized by CYP2B6 (Tisserand p. 251).

Avoid contact with the eyes and other sensitive areas. Essential oils are both lipophilic and hydrophobic. Lipophilic means they are attracted to fat— like the membranes of your eyes and skin. They are also hydrophobic, meaning they do not like water. Applying a carrier oil will create another fat for the essential oil to be attracted to other than the membranes of the eyes or skin. Tisserand suggests: "With essential oils, fatty oil has been suggested as an appropriate first aid treatment, though the advantage of saline [eyewash] is that the eyes can be continually flushed, and this is less easy with fatty oil.” We are not aware of a case where essential oil in the eyes caused permanent injury or long-term discomfort, but if you feel concerned, please call your health care provider. 
Ansari MA, Raxdan RK., Relative Efficacy of Various Oil in Repelling Mosquitoes, Indian J. Maloriol, 32(3): 104-111, Cited in the Aromatherapy Database, Bob Harris, Essential Oil Resource Consultants, UK, 2000.
Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, 2002, pages 186-187.
Leung A, Foster S., Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Use in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics, 2nd edn, John Wiley and Sons, USA, 1996.
Schnaubelt, Kurt, Advanced Aromatherapy, Healing Art Press, Canada, 1995.
Tisserand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, page page 251-253.


Burke YD, Ayoubi AS, Werner SR et al (2002) Effects of the isoprenoids perillyl alcohol and farnesol on apoptosis biomarkers in pancreatic cancer chemoprevention. Anticancer Research 22:3127-3134.
Carnesecchi S, Bras-Goncalves R, Bradaia A et al (2004) Geraniol, a component of plant essential oils, modulates DNA synthesis and potentiates 5-fluorouracil efficacy on human colon tumor xenografts. Cancer Letters 215:53-59.
Duncan RE, Lau D, El-Sohemy A et al (2004) Geraniol and β-ionone inhibit proliferation, cell cycle progression, and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 activity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells independent of effects on HMG-CoA reductase activity. Biochemical Pharmacology 68:1739-1747.
Ong TP, Heidor R, de Conti A et al (2006) Farnesol and geraniol chemopreventive activities during the initial phases of hepatocarcinogenesis involve similar actions on cell proliferation and DNA damage, but distinct actions on apoptosis, plasma cholesterol and HMGCoA reductase. Carcinogenesis 27:1194-1203.
Shoff SM, Grummer M, Yatvin MB et al (1991) Concentration-dependent increase of murine P388 and B16 population doubling time by the acyclic monoterpene geraniol. Cancer Research 51:37-42.
Yu SG, Hildebrandt LA, Elson CE (1995) Geraniol, an inhibitor of mevalonate biosynthesis, suppresses the growth of hepatomas and melanomas transplanted to rats and mice. Journal of Nutrition 125:2763-2767.
Zheng G, Kenney PM, Lam LK (1993) Potential anticarcinogenic natural products isolated from lemongrass oil and galanga root oil. Journal of Agricultural ? Food Chemistry 41:153-156.
Behrendt HJ, Germann T, Gillen C et al (2004) Characterization of the mouse cold-menthol receptor TRPM8 and vanilloid receptor type-1 VR1 using a fluorometric imaging plate reader (FLIPR) assay. British Journal of Pharmacology 141:737-745.
Mahieu F, Owsianik G, Verbert L et al (2006) TRPM8-independent menthol-induced Ca2+ release from endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 282:3325-3336.
Jeon JH, Kim HW, Kim MG, et al (2008) Mite-control activities of active constituents isolated from Pelargonium graveolens against house dust mites. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 18(10):1666-1671.