What Is Citronella?

Posted in Blog on 20th March 2020

A key ingredient in incognito® Mosquito Repellent is an essential oil called Citronella. Within Citronella is the active compound PMD ( p-menthane-3,8-diol), which is recommended by both Public Health England and the National Health Service. But what exactly is Citronella PMD, where does it come from, and how does it provide protection against biting and stinging insects like mosquitoes?

Citronella; What Is It & Where Does It Come From?

Citronella is obtained from the leaves and stems of different species of Cymbopogon; a plant which is more commonly known as lemongrass.

Whilst Citronella Oil is a powerful insect repellent, it’s ability to protect you against biting and stinging insects is not the only advantage of using this superb ingredient in our award winning spray. The oil produced from Cymbopogon has various uses; Citronella has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, when tested in a study on the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website, it was found to incapacitate 15 of the 22 strains of bacteria tested, and was successful at taking down all 12 strains of fungi tested. ; it can be used to inhibit bacterial growth, which is helpful in treating infections(1), especially in wounds. The antiseptic properties of citronella may also resist the development of sepsis(2).

Additionally, it has a positive effect against free radicals, making it a common ingredient in anti-ageing products. It’s also used as flavouring in foods and beverages, and also used as a fragrance in certain cosmetics. What’s more, this

What About The Environmental Impact Of Citronella?

One of the main disadvantages of various insecticides is the environmental impact they cause. Whilst many powerful insecticides are indeed superb at killing insects, they’re also highly toxic, which is problematic for the environment. Fortunately, Citronella works differently that these toxic insecticides, in fact the United States Environmental Protection Agency includes Citronella oil on its list of minimum risk pesticides. Instead of killing insects like mosquitoes, Citronella works by masking scents that are attractive to insects; as such, biting of stinging insects find it difficult to locate their target to feed, thus providing the wearer with protection.

With regards to the environmental impact of the oil, the main components of Citronella oil, citronellol, citronellal, and geraniol have half lives of around half-lives ranging from 38 minutes to 3.2 hours when airborne. Additionally, both citronellol and geraniol are readily broken down by microbes. However, it’s not just environmentally kind on a microbiological level.

Insect repellent products containing Citronella like incognito® have numerous advantages to many other products on the market. For example, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents (also known as DEET), and can have toxic side effects in humans and pets. In fact, DEET is neurotoxic, which means that it has been found to be toxic to the central nervous system. [Science Daily]. Another reason why Citronella is advantageous when compared to DEET based products is that we understand exactly how Citronella repels biting and stinging insects, however scientists do not know exactly how DEET works on all insects.

How Does Citronella Repel Biting And Stinging Insects?

Citronella naturally repels insects such as mosquitoes, midges, sand flies, horseflies, ticks and more. The oil works by preventing the mosquitoes (or other biting/stinging insects) from sensing the kairomones of the individual wearing the citronella containing product. Kairomones interact with insects like mosquitoes in a similar way to how humans are attracted to each other’s pheromones, however some insects can sense kairomones from substantial distances, for example a female mosquito can detect kairomones from up to a kilometre away.

This oil has used for centuries by indigenous peoples of Asia to protect themselves from insects and the diseases they carry. By masking your kairomones with a product such as Citronella, you’re effectively ‘invisible’ and can sneak past mosquitoes without being ‘eaten alive’.

Are There Any Health Concerns Regarding Using Citronella?

incognito® containing citronella is a natural anti-mosquito spray which provides protection from all types of biting insects that is free of any DEET, paraben, GMO, and SLSs; and is also recommended by Public Health England and the NHS. incognito® anti-mosquito products are ideal for the whole family, they can be used on babies as young as 6 months. However, please note that a patch test is recommended for first-time use on very young children.

By using all-natural ingredients, our products can be used by people with sensitive skin and by children aged from 6 months, and have been clinically-proven to offer protection against zika and malaria-carrying mosquitoes, making them ideal to use in subtropical climates as well as in your own back garden.

That being said, like many essential oils, there are certain risks; however these can be mitigated by following best practice and carefully reading through the safety instructions of any product before you apply it to your body and patch tests can be very useful, whilst we recommend them for very young children, they can also be beneficial for adults and older children.

Need protection from biting insects? Follow The CLOAK Method!

  • Cover up your arms and legs with suitable clothing.
  • Light coloured clothing should be worn, as mosquitoes are particularly attracted to dark colours.
  • Odours (bodily, or otherwise) are strong attractors of pests, so ensuring that you’re clean and not wearing any perfumes can prevent attention.
  • Apply insect repellent, especially on any exposed skin.
  • Keep away from stagnant water, as this is another place that pests like to gather (and breed).

For More Information Or To Make An Enquiry, Please Don’t Hesitate To Call

Please feel free to browse around our product range to find the best insect repellent for you. Our mission is to provide our customers with a 100% natural, best insect repellent that is as effective as what available synthetic alternatives are. If you have any further questions to ask about anything you may see on our website, or just want more information on how best to avoid insect bites, our sales team are on hand to help. Give us a call on 020 792 8687 or send any e-mail enquiries to info@lessmosquito.com.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

2. https://www.rrh.org.au/journal/article/3532

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