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Lemon Grass Uses and Benefits

Lemon grass

Overview

Lemongrass, also known as Cymbopogon citratus, is a versatile herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal and culinary properties. This herb is native to Asia, Africa, and South America and is widely cultivated for its essential oil and tea. Lemongrass has a distinct lemony flavour and aroma, making it a popular ingredient in many dishes and beverages. This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know about lemongrass, including its scientific name, traditional uses, preparation methods, and research-backed benefits.

Scientific Name: Cymbopogon citratus

Other Names: Citronella grass, Barbed wire grass, Silky heads, Fever grass, Barbed wire grass, Citronella grass, West Indian lemongrass, and British Indian lemongrass, Sereh

Habitat: Lemongrass grows in warm and tropical regions such as Africa, Asia and South America. It is often found in gardens, fields, and along roadsides.

Description: Lemon grass is a tall, perennial grass that grows up to 3 meters in height. It has a bulbous base and long, slender leaves and slightly glossy that are greyish-green in colour. The leaves are highly aromatic, with a strong lemony scent. It has a distinct lemon aroma and flavour. The leaves can be dried and powdered or used fresh. Lemongrass produces clusters of small flowers that are yellow or green.

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Lemon grass is an aromatic, warming, and calming herb that supports the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems. It is a mild diaphoretic, digestive tonic, and carminative. Lemongrass has several other medicinal properties, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-fungal, anti-pyretic, sedative, diuretic, carminative, and anti-spasmodic. It is also a natural insect repellent and has antioxidant properties.

Traditional Uses

Lemon grass has a long history of use in traditional medicine systems such as African Medicine, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Native American medicine. It has been used for various ailments, including fever, flu, colds, digestive problems, respiratory issues, insomnia, and menstrual cramps. Lemon grass has also been used as a sedative, to improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation, and as a pain reliever. Lemongrass has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including:

  • Digestive problems: Lemongrass is used to relieve stomach aches, indigestion, and bloating.
  • Respiratory problems: Lemongrass is used to treat colds, coughs, and asthma.
  • Insomnia: Lemongrass is used to promote sleep and relaxation.
  • Fever: Lemongrass is used to reduce fever and lower body temperature.
  • Infections: Lemongrass is used to treat bacterial and fungal infections, including yeast infections.

International use of Lemongrass
– In traditional African medicine, lemongrass is used to treat a range of conditions including headache, fever, intestinal worms, and stomach ache.
– In Ayurvedic medicine, lemon grass is believed to balance the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha), and is used to treat a variety of conditions including digestive disorders, fever, and skin problems.
– In traditional Chinese medicine, lemon grass is used to treat stomach problems, rheumatism, and headaches.
– Native Americans used lemon grass as a sedative and to treat fever, coughs, and colds.

Part(s) Used

The leaves are usually used, either fresh or dried and powdered. The essential oil can also be used.

Lemon grass

Lemon grass

Research

Research There is a growing body of research on the potential health benefits of lemon grass. Some of the most promising studies are highlighted below:

  • Antimicrobial activity: Lemon grass has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a variety of bacteria and fungi, including E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Candida albicans.
  • Anti-inflammatory activity: Lemon grass has been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity in animal studies. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486105/)
  • Anti-cancer activity: Several studies have found that lemon grass has potential anticancer properties. For example, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that lemon grass essential oil inhibited the growth of human breast cancer cells. (Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20977230/)
  • Antioxidant activity: Lemon grass has been found to have antioxidant activity, which may help protect against oxidative stress and its associated health problems. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/)
  • Sedative activity: Lemon grass has been shown to have sedative effects in animal studies. (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/)
  • Digestive problems: A study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research found that lemongrass extract was effective in reducing stomach ulcers and protecting the stomach lining.
  • Respiratory problems: A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that lemongrass tea was effective in reducing cough and congestion in patients with upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Insomnia: A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that lemongrass aromatherapy was effective in improving sleep quality and reducing anxiety.
  • Fever: A study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry found that lemongrass extract was effective in reducing fever in mice.
  • Infections: A study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy found that lemongrass essential oil had antimicrobial properties and was effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • Infectious diseases: A study conducted by the Department of Pharmacognosy at Guru Nanak Dev University in India found that the essential oil of lemon grass exhibits antimicrobial properties. The study concluded that lemon grass has potential for use in the treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Fungal infections: Another study found that the essential oil of lemon grass has antifungal activity against Candida albicans, a common cause of fungal infections. The study concluded that lemon grass may be an effective treatment for fungal infections.

Contraindications/Precautions

Lemon grass is generally considered safe when used in moderation as a food or medicinal herb. However, some people may be allergic to lemon grass, and it may cause skin irritation in some individuals when applied topically. There is limited information on the safety of lemon grass during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so it is best to avoid use in these situations. Lemon grass should be avoided by people with kidney or liver disease, especially if they are on medications.

Preparation/Dosages

Infusion: To make an infusion, steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried lemon grass leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink 1-3 cups daily.
Tea: To make a tea, steep 1 teaspoon of dried lemon grass leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink 1-3 cups daily.
Tincture: Lemon grass tincture can be made by steeping fresh or dried leaves in high-proof alcohol for several weeks. (1). Take 10-30 drops, up to three times per day. (2). Take 1-2 ml of lemon grass tincture 3 times daily.
Tonics: (1). Lemon grass tonics can be made by boiling fresh or dried leaves in water for several hours. The resulting liquid can be drunk as a tonic to support digestion or boost the immune system. (2). To make a tonic, combine 1 part lemon grass with 1 part ginger and 1 part licorice root. Steep 1 teaspoon of the mixture in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink 1-3 cups daily.

Recipes

Lemon grass is a popular ingredient in many cuisines, particularly in Southeast Asia. It can be used in soups, stews, curries, and marinades. Here are a few herbal recipe ideas:

Lemon Grass Tea:
Ingredients:
– 1 teaspoon of dried lemon grass leaves
– 1 cup of boiling water

Instructions:
1. Steep the lemon grass leaves in the boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
2. Strain and drink 1-3 cups daily.

Lemon Grass Tonic:
Ingredients:
– 1 part lemon grass
– 1 part ginger
– 1 cup of boiling water

Instructions:
1. Combine the lemon grass and ginger in a bowl.
2. Steep 1 teaspoon of the mixture in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
3. Strain and drink 1-3 cups daily.

Notes

Lemon grass is a versatile herb that can be used both medicinally and culinarily. Lemon grass is a flavourful and aromatic herb that can be used to make teas, tinctures, and tonics. It has many beneficial properties and can be used to support the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems. Its strong lemony scent and flavour also make it a chosen ingredient in many dishes, particularly in Southeast Asian cuisine. Lemon grass is also rich in essential oils, making it a popular ingredient in perfumes, soaps, and other beauty products.

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References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486105/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20977230/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/cymbopogon-citratus
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321969
https://www.herbal-supplement-resource.com/lemon-grass.html

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