Citronella is native to Sri Lanka and Java. It is a perennial hardy grass that grows up to three feet in height. Citronella has been used in perfumes, soaps, skin lotions, and deodorants.
The grass is finely chopped for steam distillation to release the oil high in aldehydes and monoterpenols; it is a middle-to-top note with a sweet and lemony aroma. Oils that blend well with citronella are bergamot, geranium, lavender, lemon, orange, and pine.
Most people associate citronella with an insect repellent, especially for the malaria-carrying mosquitoes, but it is also beneficial in clearing the mind, in softening skin, and as a room freshener. Use citronella in a spray or diffuser as an insect repellent. Add a few drops to your unscented shampoo to repel lice or to treat them if they are present.