Citronnelle is a grass with no link to the citron whatsoever apart from having a lovely lemony smell. It is also known as cymbopogon citratus.
We have just the one bush at Pika and it is constantly being used for tisanes but there is still plenty more to be enjoyed. As a herbal medicine it has many benefits: reducing fevers, stomach cramps, flatulence and colic,
easing arthritic pain and general digestive aid to name but a few. Simply put a few leaves into boiling water and leave to infuse before enjoying, sweetened if prefered. We add it to our mint tea for the extra taste.
Citronnelle is also used for essential oil, where it is helps with mental fatigue and relaxes the nervous system as well as being an antiseptic.
However, my most very favourite aspect of the oil is that it is a mosquito repellent! And yes, it does actually seem to work! No need to put all sorts of chemicals on yourself, simply get some pure citronnelle oil (we bought some that is made in Marie-Galante) and rub it on, then enjoy a bite-free evening and the bonus of a beautiful aroma. Some people even plant citronnelle bushes around their house to keep out the mosquitoes.
Photos: All photos from Pika unless otherwise stated