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Java Citronella

Cymbopogon winterianus

Java citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), also called ”Madagascar” or ”India” citronella, is a perennial rhizome plant native to Indonesia.

It belongs to the Poaceae (grass) family, has long narrow leaves with rough, sharp edges and hollow, bulbous stems at the base. It grows as a tuft up to 30 cm high and twice as wide.

Main aromatic molecules: Terpene aldehydes (citronnellal), monoterpenols (geraniol, citronnellol).
Family: Poaceae.
Producing organs : Aerial parts.
Yield: 300g to 1kg of essence per 100kg of plants.
Equivalence: 1ml → 31 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).


Skin application

Oral route

Respiratory route

The essence of lemongrass from Java could take as its slogan, ”the fragrant death of mosquitoes”, as well as the famous Marie-Rose lotion, an enemy of lice. This repulsive action is truly overwhelming. Lemongrass, a powerful disinfectant, is the only rival of eucalyptus in terms of environmental health. The Greeks and Romans used a related species they called Indian grass, which was probably Cymbopogon citratus. Its fresh and pungent scent was part of the composition of the famous ”royal perfume” of the Parthians, ”full of pleasures and references in the matter” according to Pliny. It opened the appetite and favored digestion. The Romans were unaware of its anti-rheumatic properties but praised its disinfectant virtue. We know, still from Pliny, that lemongrass acted as an anti-moth.


Extracts from the book ’Aromatherapia – All about essential oils’, by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book ’41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently’ and ’48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy’ by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.

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