Lemongrass is a perennial plant with thin, long leaves and is indigenous to India and other areas of the Asian continent including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Lemongrass has long being used as a flavoring in Asian style cooking, the citrus-like flavor of the lemongrass herb powder or dried leaf adding a unique element to the meal.
The lemongrass plant derives its name from its distinct lemony scent and taste. The scientific names for the ones more commonly used for cooking and healing are cymbopogon citratrus and cymbopagon flexuosus. Other common names by which lemongrass is known (mostly influenced by the local culture and cuisine) include andropogon citratus, barbed wire grass, British Indian lemongrass, Ceylon citronella grass, citronella, citronella grass, citronnelle de Java, East Indian lemongrass, Guatemala lemongrass, hierba Luisa, Hierba de Limón, Indian Melissa, Indian Verbena, Madagascar Lemongrass, silky heads, tanglad, te-de-limon, Verveine Indienne and West Indian lemongrass. In the Caribbean it is known widely as fever grass, attesting to its traditional use to relieve the symptoms of fever.
Easily available from any ethnic store, health food store, online merchant, or in the seasoning aisle of the supermarket, lemongrass’ anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antioxidant and therapeutic properties make lemongrass a useful alternative or complementary remedy for a wide spectrum of common ailments. Whether using the dried leaves steeped to make tea or the extracted essential oil, lemongrass produces considerable benefits.
TOP 24 HEALTH WONDERS OF LEMONGRASS:
- Respiratory Balm: Lemongrass is rich in volatile oils, which have a beneficial, balsamic effect on the respiratory tract, alleviating certain conditions including laryngitis and sore throats.
- Anti-Pyretic: Inhaling lemongrass vapors increases perspiration and lowers heat, relieving the symptoms associated with flu, cold and hay fever.
- Relieves Pain: The analgesic compounds in lemongrass essential oils help alleviate muscle spasms, by relaxing the muscles, providing instant relief in cases of abdominal pain, headaches, joint pains, digestive tract spasms, and muscle cramps.
- Regulates Blood pressure: Lemongrass’ high potassium content promotes diuresis, which lowers and regulates blood pressure, stimulates blood circulation and reduces hypertension.
- Repairs Tissues: Lemongrass oil increases the body’s ability to repair damaged connective tissue, by improving blood circulation, in cases of trauma to cartilage, ligaments and tendons.
- Anti Septic: Lemongrass inhibits the growth of harmful micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast, fungal, parasites, etc.), quickly healing gastrointestinal infections, urinary tract infections and wounds, while preserving the beneficial bacteria.
- Diuretic: Lemongrass is an effective diuretic (increasing the frequency of waste disposal through urine), effectively eliminating toxins and uric acid, cleansing and alleviating the digestive, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder functions.
- Relives Constipation/Indigestion: Lemongrass regulates intestinal function and motility, by destroying bad bacteria and parasites, repopulating the good bacteria in the colon, effective in curing indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal bloating, flatulence, stomach spasms, vomiting and cramps.
- Antidepressant: Lemongrass tea has long been prescribed in alleviating anxiety and depressive symptoms as it contains nutrients necessary for effective nervous system functioning, and in calming stressed nerves.
- Anti Cancer: Citral, a compound found in lemongrass, has shown to contribute in the death of cancer cells with no noted negative effect on normal cells.
- Detoxifier: The anti-oxidant, anti-septic, and diuretic effects of lemongrass make it an important ingredient of any detox diet, as it helps cleanse and purify the liver, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, and increases blood circulation.
- Fortifies Nervous System: Lemongrass essential oils contain nutrients like magnesium, phosphorous, and Folate, known to nourish and strengthen the functioning of the nervous system, improving concentration, memory and the brain’s ability to process information.
- Analgesic: Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, lemongrass juice can be used as a valuable aid for treating toothache, muscle pain, joint pain, arthritis, gout and inflammation of the urinary tract.
- Women’s health: Lemongrass tea is excellent in providing relief from morning sickness, hot flushes, and in reduction of menstrual pain.
- Insect Repellent: Citronella oil, extracted from lemongrass leaves and stems, is one of the most potent organic insect repellent, and can be found in soap, perfumery, and flavoring formulations.
- Anemia: Iron, essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin (the protein in red cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body), is abundant in lemongrass.
- Diabetes: The purifying and cleansing effect of lemongrass tea, help to detoxify the pancreas and improve its functions, thus lowering blood sugar level in diabetic patients.
- Gastritis or Heartburn: A regular intake of warm Lemongrass tea therapeutically soothes, and gradually reduces the recurrence of gastritis, acid indigestion, and heartburn.
- Anti-Cholesterol/Anti-Atherosclerosis: Lemongrass greatly limits cholesterol absorption from the intestines and also the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, thus preventing one of the first steps in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
- Insomnia: Lemongrass purifies the body, nourishes and soothes the nervous system, and counters chemical imbalances which are the main reasons for insomnia.
- Weight loss: Some studies indicate that drinking lemongrass tea helps to melt fats through the detoxification process. The diuretic effect helps quick elimination of the toxins and waste in high volume, resulting in weight loss.
- Skin Care: Vitamin A, present in lemongrass, aids blood purification and circulation, serves as a refresher, clears up oily skin, and is effective in treating eruptions like acne, pimples, eczema and psoriasis.
- Controls body odor: Lemongrass has been known to control excessive sweating, avoiding bad body odor.
- Nutrient Rich-Lemongrass is an abundant source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese; with minute traces of the B vitamins.
Noted Side Effects:
- Avoid lemongrass in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lemongrass. Lemongrass and other essential oils, both applied on the skin and taken as a tea, may cause allergic contact skin reactions.
- Lemongrass may also cause irritation and burning if not properly diluted when used on the skin.
- Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar.
- Lemongrass may cause slight increases in liver function tests, particularly bilirubin, or an increase in pancreatic tests, particularly amylase. Patient with liver conditions should use lemongrass with caution.
- Not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding as certain chemical compounds in lemongrass (beta-myrcene), may cause decreased birth weight, increased perinatal mortality, and delay in development when taken at high doses.