Lemongrass Herb, Lemongrass Tea, Lemongrass Essential Oil - Uses, Nutritional And Health Benefits
Latin Name : Cymbopogon Citratus
In India lemongrass is known as "Gavathi Chaha" meaning grass tea. Among other names by which lemongrass is also known as are : citronella grass, fever grass, oil grass and barbed wire grass.
The Cymbopogon genus consists of about 55 species of grasses.
2 species of lemongrass viz,
- Cymbopogon citratus, also called West Indian lemongrass, and,
- Cymbopogon flexuosus also called East Indian lemongrass, Cochin grass or Malabar grass are commonly grown.
C. citratus is more suitable for cooking though C.flexuosus can also be used.
Lemongrass oil is extracted from C.citratus and C.flexuosus.
Citronella oil is extracted from Cymbopogon nardus.
Lemongrass With Stalks
About The Lemongrass Plant
Lemongrass is a perennial plant with blue green leaves that have a lemony scent and taste. The plant grows year round in warm and humid climates. The plant needs full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours every day.
The plant grows to about 2-3 feet in height generally and does not produce seeds but is propagated by dividing portions of the existing roots and transplanting them. It needs plenty of water. In the wild, lemongrass is usually found growing on its own.
Frost kills it. However in cooler weather you can bring the container inside and put them outside when the weather goes warmer. In the meantime keep it near a window for it to get as much sunlight as possible.
The entire stalks are harvested and the cut is made below the white swollen base. The stalks can be dried and stored in an airtight container to last up to a year.
Lemongrass can be harvested when the plant is a foot high.
The leafy portion of the stalk can be used to prepare tea while the bottom portion can be used for flavoring food.
Nutrients In Lemongrass
Lemongrass contains at least 7 types of essential oils the most prominent among them being citral. Others are limonene, geraniol, borneol and citronellol.
It is cholesterol free, low in sodium, rich in potassium.
An excellent source of iron and manganese, lemongrass is rich in folate, copper, magnesium, zinc and riboflavin.
Nutrients In Lemongrass
Lemongrass (citronella), fresh
Nutritive value per 100 grams
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Lemongrass Health Benefits
Lemongrass contains many flavonoids. It has anttiirritant, antioxidant, anti inflammatory, antipyretic, anti spasmodic, antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic and antitumoral properties.
It aids in alleviating gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, spasms, diarrhea and also helps to control vomiting, fever, coughs and colds, headache and flu symptoms.
It is useful in infections of the respiratory tract like sore throat and laryngitis as well.
Lemongrass is useful in treating a variety of muscle and joint pains and sprain, even neuralgic pains are relieved by it.
Reduces stress and anxiety, removes exhaustion and fatigue and revitalizes the body.
It improves the blood circulation, and detoxifies and cleans the liver and kidneys, bladder and pancreas due to its antiseptic and diuretic effects.
It helps treat skin infections like acne, infected sores, ringworm and athlete's foot.
Lemongrass slows the growth of cancer cells especially those of the liver, breast and leukemia.
Uses Of Lemongrass
Lemongrass is used in cooking to add flavor to various dishes, to prepare lemongrass tea, to extract lemongrass essential oil for use in creams and lotions, perfumes and soaps, and as insect repellants apart from its use in alleviating many health conditions.
Citronella oil is especially used as a mosquito repellent in insect sprays and candles. Planting citronella plant helps to ward off the adult white flies which attack vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli etc.
Lemongrass oil is used to preserve ancient manuscripts written on palm leaves as it prevents the leaves from becoming brittle and also helps to keep them dry against moisture.
Making lemongrass tea at home is easy. You will need:
1/2 cup finely chopped lemongrass
1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
Agave nectar, honey or jaggery to taste. (You can use sugar instead if you so wish)
Add the lemongrass, mint and jaggery to 5 cups water. Agave or honey can be added later if you plan to use either of them as a sweetener.
Bring to a boil and then simmer the water till it reduces to half.
Remove from heat, strain and serve hot. If you wish to serve it cold, chill it in the refrigerator or pour over ice cubes after cooling.
Benefits Of Lemongrass Tea
Not only is lemongrass tea refreshing, it is free of caffeine and can be enjoyed anytime, even before going to bed without fear of making efforts to fall asleep as happens with tea and coffee.
Lemongrass tea is useful in relieving chest congestion, coughs and colds. It helps to lower cholesterol and flush out toxins and correct digestive issues.
It is a useful aid to prevent acne and other skin problems if consumed regularly.
Do not drink the tea in excess as it increases body heat. It may also lower sugar levels so diabetics on sugar lower medicine should be careful.
Avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from its leaves. It contains several chemical constituents like citral, myrcene, geranyl acetate, citronellal, nerol, geraniol, neral and limonene.
It has a lemony odor and is used as a flavoring in beverages, desserts etc.
Lemongrass essential oil helps to reduce pain and inflammation, both of the muscles and joints, headaches, toothache and general body pain. It lowers fever as well.
It aids in fighting depression and lifts up the mood, relieves tension and anxiety. It controls acne and reduces cellulite.
Its antimicrobial properties help to cure and prevent infections of the stomach, urinary tract, respiratory system etc.
Antiseptic properties help it in healing wounds and injuries and prevents them from getting septic. It has astringent properties and therefore is helpful in controlling excessive blood loss.
By its diuretic property it helps to remove toxins, keeps the kidneys and liver healthy and also lowers blood pressure.
It cures fungal infections.
It soothes and calms the mind, acts as a tonic for the nervous system as it strengthens the nerves.
In general it tones up all the bodily systems thereby boosting immunity.
Lemongrass oil also acts as an effective insect repellent for mosquitoes while it kills ticks, termites and dust mites.
It blends well with basil, cedarwood, coriander, geranium, lavender, jasmine and tea tree oils.
Blended it can be used as a massage oil, or can be used diluted in bath or diffused for aromatherapy use.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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© 2014 Rajan Singh Jolly