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Java Citronella Essential Oil vs. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Essential oil

Citronella and lemongrass essential oils are both coming from a Cymbopogon genus, a tropical plants in the grass family. But, it is important to note that Java citronella and lemongrass plants are two different species. Java citronella is a subspecies of Cymbopogon nardus, while lemongrass belongs to the species Cymbopogon citratus. Therefore, they have different appearances, aromas, and uses.

Citronella grass typically has broader, blade-shaped leaves with a strong smell, and stems that can be reddish or magenta in color. In contrast, lemongrass has narrower, lighter green leaves, with green stems, and a more prominent lemon scent. Additionally, lemongrass is edible and a common ingredient for cooking and seasoning. In contrast, the citronella oil, which is a good mosquito repellent. According to multiple sources, the main differences between citronella and lemongrass plants include their appearance, aroma, and uses.

Essential oils have long been used for their therapeutic benefits, with Java citronella and lemongrass being two popular choices. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of the two to help you decide which one is right for you.

Here is a  comprehensive comparison


Java citronella oil has a fresh, lemony scent, with subtle floral notes. Lemongrass oil has a stronger, more intense lemony scent, with earthy undertones.

Extraction Method:

Those 2 essential oils, Java citronella oil and Lemongrass oil come from the steam distillation of the leaves and stems of the plant.


Java citronella oil has insect-repelling properties and is a good option as a natural insect repellent. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be useful to treat minor skin irritations.

On the other side, Lemongrass oil is recognized for its calming and refreshing properties and is often used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is helpful to treat skin infections.


Both oils are generally considered safe for topical use when diluted properly. However, some people may have an allergic reaction to either oil, so it’s always best to do a patch test before use.

Shelf Life:

Java citronella oil has a relatively long shelf life of up to two years when stored properly in a cool, dark place. Lemongrass oil has a shorter shelf life of about one year.


Java citronella and lemongrass oils are generally affordable. The lemongrass oil is widely available and easy to produce whereas lemongrass oil has a bit lower yield of oil from the plant.

In conclusion, both Java citronella oil and lemongrass oil have their own unique benefits and uses. Java citronella oil is a great choice for those looking for a natural insect repellent and minor skin irritations, while lemongrass oil is a good option for those seeking relaxation and antibacterial properties. Always make sure to use essential oils safely and properly, and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

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