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Citronella oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves and stems of various species of Cymbopogon grasses, particularly Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus. These grasses are native to tropical regions like Southeast Asia. Citronella oil is widely known for its distinct lemony, citrus-like aroma.

Here are some key points about citronella oil:

1. **Aroma and Flavor:** Citronella oil has a fresh, bright, and citrusy scent, resembling that of lemons. It is commonly used in perfumes, soaps, candles, and other products for its pleasant fragrance.

2. **Insect Repellent:** One of the most well-known uses of citronella oil is as an insect repellent. It is often used in candles, lotions, sprays, and other products designed to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay. While it can be effective, its protection is generally shorter-lived compared to some other synthetic repellents.

3. **Aromatherapy:** Citronella oil is also used in aromatherapy for its uplifting and refreshing properties. It is believed to have mood-enhancing effects and is sometimes used to alleviate stress and anxiety.

4. **Cleaning Products:** The antifungal and antibacterial properties of citronella oil make it a suitable ingredient for natural cleaning products. It is sometimes added to cleaning solutions to help disinfect surfaces.

5. **Candles:** Citronella candles are popular outdoor candles used to repel insects. The oil is incorporated into the wax, and when the candle burns, it releases the scent into the air.

6. **Caution:** While citronella oil is generally considered safe, it can cause skin irritation in some individuals. It’s advisable to perform a patch test before applying it to larger areas of the skin. Additionally, ingestion of citronella oil is not recommended, as it can be toxic.

It’s important to note that while citronella oil is commonly associated with mosquito repellency, its effectiveness can vary, and it may not provide complete protection in heavily infested areas. It’s often used in combination with other repellents for better results.