Citronellal is an aldehyde found in citronella, lemongrass, eucalyptus, kaffir lime, and Melissa.
Aldehydes have a powerful aroma used in perfumery. Oxidation (exposure to oxygen) causes potential skin irritation and loss of aroma.
Links to Plants Containing Citronellal
The listings of research below represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the topic, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. This compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use of any herb listed.
INSECTICIDAL / LARVICIDAL
- Essential oils can be efficient, and safer repellents for humans and the environment. In this mega analysis on insect repelling essential oils, Cymbopogon (lemongrass) spp., Ocimum (basil) spp. and Eucalyptus (eucalyptus) spp. are the most cited. Key constituents cited include α-pinene, limonene, citronellol, citronellal, camphor and thymol. From: Nerio, L. S., Olivero-Verbel, J., & Stashenko, E. (2010). Repellent activity of essential oils: a review. Bioresource technology, 101(1), 372-378.
- Against the yellow fever mosquito, pulegone, thymol, eugenol, trans-anithole, rosemary oil and citronellal showed high larvicidal activity. Eugenol, citronellal, thymol, pulegone, rosemary oil and cymene showed oviposition deterrent and/or repellent activities. From: Waliwitiya, R., Kennedy, C. J., & Lowenberger, C. A. (2009).
- Larvicidal and oviposition‐altering activity of monoterpenoids against the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti are studied. Pest management science, 65(3), 241-248. Thymol, eugenol, pulegone, alpha terpineol and citronellal demonstrated insecticidal abilities related to insect enzyme activity and flight motor response. From: Waliwitiya, R. (2011). Plant-derived compounds: acute toxicity, synergism, and effects on insect enzyme activity and flight motor responses (Doctoral dissertation, Science: Biological Sciences Department).
- Pulegone, thymol, eugenol, trans-anithole, rosemary oil, citronellal, and cymene showed high larvicidal, oviposition deterrent, and/or repellent activities against the denge fever mosquito. From: Waliwitiya, R., Kennedy, C. J., & Lowenberger, C. A. (2009). Larvicidal and oviposition‐altering activity of monoterpenoids, trans‐anithole and rosemary oil to the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Pest management science, 65(3), 241-248.
ANTIMICROBIAL / ANTIBACTERIAL / ANTIFUNGAL
- Essential oil constituents were tested against foodborne pathogens. Carvacrol showed strong bactericidal activity against all tester strains, Citral, perillaldehyde, and citronellal were effective against V. vulnificus. Citral, geraniol, and perillaldehyde were effective against E. coli, and S. typhimurium. From: Kim, J., Marshall, M. R., & Wei, C. I. (1995). Antibacterial activity of some essential oil components against five foodborne pathogens. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 43(11), 2839-2845.
- Citronellal and linalool found in citronella completely inhibited the growth of all tested fungal strains. From: Nakahara, K., Alzoreky, N. S., Yoshihashi, T., Nguyen, H. T., & Trakoontivakorn, G. (2013). Chemical composition and antifungal activity of essential oil from Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass). Japan Agricultural Research Quarterly: JARQ, 37(4), 249-252.
- C. citriodora, C. nardus, and possibly the citronellal constituent reduced spore production, germination, and growth of P. grisea, Aspergillus species, and Colletotrichum musae. From: Aguiar, R. W. D. S., Ootani, M. A., Ascencio, S. D., Ferreira, T. P., Santos, M. M. D., & Santos, G. R. D. (2014). Fumigant antifungal activity of Corymbia citriodora and Cymbopogon nardus essential oils and citronellal against three fungal species. The Scientific World Journal, 2014.
- The essential oil from Cymbopogan nardus and its citronellal constituent reduced C. albican adherence to dental implants and screws. From: Trindade, L. A., de Araújo Oliveira, J., de Castro, R. D., & de Oliveira Lima, E. (2015). Inhibition of adherence of C. albicans to dental implants and cover screws by Cymbopogon nardus essential oil and citronellal. Clinical oral investigations, 19(9), 2223-2231.
- Neroli oil, citronellal and phenylethyl acetate showed a sedative effect in mice. From: Jäger, W., Buchbauer, G., Jirovetz, L., Dietrich, H., & Plank, C. (1992). Evidence of the sedative effect of neroli oil, citronellal and phenylethyl acetate on mice. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 4(4), 387-394.
- The most powerful scavenging compounds were neral/geranial, citronellal, isomenthone, menthone and E-caryophyllene. They had very strong inhibition of lipid peroxidation. The most effective antibacterial activity was against a multi-resistant strain of Shigella sonei. A significant rate of antifungal activity was against a Trichophyton species. From: Mimica-Dukic, N., Bozin, B., Sokovic, M., & Simin, N. (2004). Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Melissa officinalis L.(Lamiaceae) essential oil. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 52(9), 2485-2489.
- Essential oil constituents with an analgesic activity are reviewed. Included are p-cymene, carvacrol, linalool, eugenol, menthol, alpha-bisabolol, cinnamaldehyde, citronellal, citronellol, citronellyl acetate, alpha-phelandrene, alpha-terpeneol, vanillin, borneol, myrtenol, pulegone, citral, thymol, limonene, nerol, anethole, nerolidol, carvone, farnesol, and beta-caryphyllene. From: Lima, T., da Nóbrega, F., de Brito, A., & de Sousa, D. (2017). Analgesic-like activity of essential oil constituents: an update. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(12), 2392.
Compiled by: Kathy Sadowski