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 Lemongrass
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.
Health Benefits and Uses of Lemongrass
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.
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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.
Side Effects of Lemongrass
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.
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