Table of Contents
|2. What is Lemon Grass?|
|3. Ayurvedic properties of Lemon Grass|
|4. Health Benefits & Uses of Lemon Grass|
|5. Side Effects of Lemon Grass|
|6. Frequently Asked Question|
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But what about when life gives you Lemongrass? Well, you're in for a treat! Lemongrass, also known as citronella grass or Cymbopogon citratus, is a fragrant herb with a distinct citrusy flavor that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and cooking.
Not only does lemongrass add a delightful zing to your dishes, but it also offers a plethora of health benefits. From relieving stress and anxiety to easing digestion and boosting immunity, lemongrass has been known to work wonders for our physical and mental well-being.
In this article, we'll dive deep into the many health benefits of citronella grass and explore its various uses in cooking and aromatherapy. We'll also touch upon the potential side effects of consuming lemongrass and discuss how to incorporate this versatile herb into your daily routine.
So, whether you're a foodie looking to experiment with new flavors or someone who's interested in natural remedies and alternative medicine, this article is for you. So sit back, grab a cup of lemongrass tea, and let's explore the world of lemongrass together!
2. What is Lemon Grass?
Lemon grass scientific name is Cymbopogon Citratus, some other common names are gandhatrana, bhustrina, and west Indian lemon grass. It is a perennial, aromatic, tall grass with rhizomes and densely tufted fibrous roots. It has short underground stems with coarse, green slightly leathery leaves in dense clusters. The blades of the grass are about 90 cm long and 0.5 cm wide.
Lemon grass is a popular spice in Southeastern cuisine, and the essential oil extract is used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. Many references in ancient Greek and roman literature refer to calamus in ointment, wines, and fragrances. Now it is used in medicines, food, fragrances, and cosmetics.
Medicinal Properties of Citronella Grass
Lemon grass contains essential oil, the oil is sherry colored with a pungent taste and lemon-like odor with citral as the principal constituent. It contains 65-85 percent citral and myrcene, which has antibacterial and analgesic properties.
The contents of the oil vary with the age of the grass. Fresh lemon grass essential oil has a substantial amount of citral. The dry herbs yield 0.4 percent essential oil containing 72.3 percent citral.
It is native to India, and it is grown in Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujrat, and Karnataka, it is also grown in some other parts like Sri Lanka and the islands of South-eastern Asia. Today, India is the major producer of lemongrass oil, and the major buyers are the USA, Japan, and Europe.
The use of lemongrass in cosmetics, food, medicines, and fragrances has increased, and cultivation of the species has expanded to Latin America and the tropical state of Florida in the USA.
3. Ayurvedic properties of Lemon Grass
Lemongrass, known as "Bhustrina" in Ayurveda, is a fragrant herb with various therapeutic properties.
Ayurvedic properties of lemongrass:
1. Rasa (Taste): Lemongrass is believed to have a combination of pungent (Katu) and bitter (Tikta) tastes.
2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).
3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is pungent (Katu Vipaka).
4. Dosha Effects: Lemongrass is considered to balance Vata dosha and Kapha dosha, but its heating nature can increase Pitta dosha in excess.
Digestive Health: Lemongrass can stimulate digestion, alleviate gas and bloating, and promote healthy appetite.
Detoxification: It is used for its detoxifying properties, promoting healthy urine flow and aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body.
Respiratory Health: Lemongrass is believed to have expectorant and decongestant properties, making it useful for managing respiratory conditions like cough and congestion.
Nervous System: Its aromatic nature is thought to have a calming effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and mental clarity.
Anti-inflammatory: Lemongrass contains compounds with anti-inflammatory effects, which can be beneficial for managing inflammatory conditions.
Immune System: Due to its antimicrobial properties, lemongrass can support the immune system and overall wellness.
Skin Health: Lemongrass's antimicrobial and astringent properties may be useful for promoting skin health and managing minor skin irritations.
4. Health Benefits and Uses of Citronella Grass
The lemongrass is a stimulant, tonic, aromatic, antispasmodic, and mild counterirritant, it increases secretion and discharge of urine. Oil distilled from its leaves is used for medicinal purposes. It has restorative, digestive, antitussive, antifungal, antiviral, analgesic, antiemetic, ant cardiopathic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anti-allergic effects.
The essential oil of lemongrass is used extensively in the food industry for its fragrance, and its positive impact on the digestive system, because it helps to reduce flatulence, colic, and stomach cramps, in addition to being carminative and astringent.
In Ayurveda, it is used to provide relief in cases of respiratory distress, cough, sore throat, laryngitis, and fever. It is useful in preventing colitis, indigestion, and other gastroenteritis ailments.
The oil is applied externally to aid muscle tone, tissue tension, headaches, arthritis pain, and acne, it has a positive impact on the parasympathetic nervous system by reducing nervous system stress and correcting poor circulation.
Here are some Health Benefits and Uses of Lemongrass
Lemongrass is useful in strengthening the functioning of the stomach and promoting its action, it is beneficial in treating indigestion, spasmodic affections of the bowels, gastric irritability, and cholera.
Raw juice or decoction of the lemongrass induces copious perspiration and lowers body temperature, it also produces a feeling of coolness.
Lemongrass and its oil are carminative and valuable in relieving flatulence, it is given in doses of 3 to 6 drops with sugar as an emulsion. The emulsion is prepared by mixing 3 to 6 drops of common lemongrass oil with sugar.
An infusion of the lemongrass, mixed with black peppers, is given during painful and difficult menstruation, raw juice or decoction of the lemongrass may be taken in such conditions.
Rheumatism and Other Joint Pains
The lemongrass is used locally over rheumatic joints, lumbago, and sprains. Lemongrass oil mixed with twice its bulk of coconut oil is a stimulating ointment for rheumatism, lumbago, neuralgia, sprains, and other painful affections. In chronic cases, the undiluted oil may be used for better results, it can also be taken internally in the same manner as for fevers.
As local application leaves of lemongrass are useful in treating ringworm, a paste of the leaves made with buttermilk should be applied to the affected part.
Other Uses & Benefits
The essential oil of lemongrass species is used in beverages, foodstuffs, fragrances, household products, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco. Lemongrass is extensively used to flavor soups, salads, and curries in South-eastern Asia, China, and the Caribbean. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a preferred ingredient in Thai food.
It is used to spice pickles and marinades and is often paired with ginger, garlic, and cilantro. In Brazil, a tea infused with Lemongrass extract is prepared from fresh or dry leaves.
Lemongrass oil is extracted by steam distillation which separates the oil from the water, the pleasant lemony flavor makes it a popular ingredient in skincare products, cosmetics, soaps, and perfumes. Mixed with virgin coconut oil, it is called Oil of Negros, and it is used in Aromatherapy.
5. Side Effects of Cymbopogon Citratus
All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.
Consuming in considerable amount is good but excessive use of Lemongrass may cause dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, frequent urination, increased appetite, and allergic reactions like rash and itching. In some cases, lemongrass may cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation when used topically, excess dosage can cause stomach irritation, burning sensation, and constipation problems.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers can suffer from liver disease, kidney disease, or heart problems. We suggest doing a patch test when using the herb for the first time before including it in your regular routine.
Here are some general recommendations before starting lemongrass herb.
- It is not safe for pregnant ladies, and breastfeeding women.
- Consult the doctor if you are on any supplement or on dietary medicine.
- If you are on any medication, first consult the doctor before starting to take Lemongrass.
- If you are on diabetes or high blood sugar medication, consult the doctor first before starting Lemongrass.
- It may interact with some allopathy and homeopathy medicine, consult the doctor if you are taking any of these.
6. Frequently Asked Question
Q - What is the nutritional value of lemongrass?
Lemongrass is low in calories and high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It contains vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, potassium, and iron. It is also a good source of fiber.
Q - Does lemongrass help with weight loss?
It is believed that the diuretic properties of lemongrass can help to reduce water weight and bloating.
Q - Is lemongrass effective in repelling mosquitoes and insects?
Yes, lemongrass has natural insect-repellent properties and is often used in insect sprays, candles, and lotions.
Q - What are the benefits of lemongrass essential oil?
Lemongrass essential oil is known for its antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is often used in aromatherapy to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
Q - How is lemongrass used in traditional medicine?
Lemongrass has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, fever, inflammation, and infections.
Q - Can lemongrass be used to treat anxiety and depression?
Lemongrass may help to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, although more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
Q - What are the benefits of lemongrass for skin and hair?
Lemongrass has natural astringent properties that can help to tighten and tone the skin, reduce oiliness, and minimize pores. It is also used in hair care products to promote healthy hair growth and reduce dandruff.
Q - What is lemongrass paste, and how is it used in cooking?
Lemongrass paste is a concentrated form of lemongrass that is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. It is often added to curries, soups, and stir-fries to add a citrusy flavor.
Q - How long does lemongrass last, and how should it be stored?
Fresh lemongrass can last for up to three weeks when stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months to 24 months.
Q - What is lemongrass and what does it taste like?
Lemongrass is a tropical herb with a lemony flavor and fragrance. It has a slightly sweet and citrusy taste.
Q - How is lemongrass used in cooking?
Lemongrass is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine to add flavor to curries, soups, and stir-fries. It can be chopped and added to dishes or used in the form of a paste.
Q - What are the potential side effects of consuming lemongrass?
Consuming lemongrass in small amounts is generally considered safe. However, consuming large amounts may cause digestive issues, such as stomach ache, diarrhea, and nausea.
Q - How do you make lemongrass tea?
To make lemongrass tea, chop 1-2 stalks of fresh lemongrass and steep in hot water for 5-10 minutes. You can also add honey or lemon juice for extra flavor.
Q - What is the difference between lemongrass and citronella?
Lemongrass and citronella are both tropical grasses with a citrusy scent, but they come from different species of plants. Citronella is often used as an insect repellent, while lemongrass is used in cooking and aromatherapy.
Q - Can lemongrass essential oil be used for aromatherapy?
Yes, lemongrass essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and promote relaxation.
Q - How do you grow and harvest lemongrass?
Lemongrass can be grown from seed or by transplanting young plants. It prefers well-draining soil and a sunny location. To harvest, cut the stalks at ground level and trim off the tops and outer leaves. The lower part of the stalk can be used for cooking or making tea.
Q - Is lemongrass safe for pregnant women and children?
While lemongrass is generally considered safe when used in small amounts as a flavoring or herbal tea, pregnant women and children should exercise caution when using it in larger amounts or in supplement form. Additionally, lemongrass essential oil should not be used during pregnancy or on infants and young children, as it may cause skin irritation or respiratory problems.