Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), sometimes called lemon grass or citronella, is a tall grass-like ingredient commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. The lower stalks and bulbs of the plant have a fresh, clean, lemony scent that is sometimes also added to teas, marinades, curries, and broths.
Lemongrass is a plant. The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine.
Lemongrass is commonly taken orally, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled as aromatherapy for many different conditions. But there is limited scientific research to support any of its common uses.
In food and beverages, lemongrass is used as a flavoring. For example, lemongrass leaves are commonly used as “lemon” flavoring in herbal teas.
In manufacturing, lemongrass is used as a fragrance in deodorants, soaps, and cosmetics. Lemongrass is also used in making vitamin A and natural citral.
How does it work?
Lemongrass might help prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain, reduce fever, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and have antioxidant properties.
Lemongrass might help prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain and swelling, reduce fever, improve levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and have antioxidant properties.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for:
- High cholesterol. Early research suggests that taking lemongrass oil by mouth for 90 days does not reduce cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.
- Yeast infection in the mouth (thrush). Early research suggests that drinking a lemongrass infusion for 10 days decreases thrush symptoms in people with HIV/AIDS better than applying a solution of gentian violet to the affected area.
- Stomach and intestinal spasms.
- Stomach ache.
- High blood pressure.
- Use as an antiseptic and astringent.
- Common cold.
- Achy joints (rheumatism).
Side EffectsLemongrass is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin short-term for medicinal purposes. However, there have been some toxic side effects, such as lung problems after inhaling lemongrass and a fatal poisoning after a child swallowed a lemongrass oil-based insect repellent.
Special Precautions & Warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take lemongrass by mouth during pregnancy. Lemongrass seems to be able to start menstrual flow, so there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage.
There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking lemongrass if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
When used medicinally, lemongrass may be taken by mouth, rubbed on the skin, or inhaled as an aromatherapy treatment. When taken orally, lemongrass is often used to calm stomach discomfort and other gastrointestinal issues including cramps and vomiting.
Lemongrass may also be consumed to treat:
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Cancer prevention
- Common cold
Applied to the skin, lemongrass or lemongrass oil is used to treat a headache and musculoskeletal pain. As an aromatherapy treatment, lemongrass oil extract may be inhaled to treat muscle pain, infections, cold, or flu symptoms.
May Help Lower Cholesterol
Research published in 2011 in Food and Chemical Toxicology journal revealed that the essential oils in lemongrass possess anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels.
One animal study has also shown that lemongrass may assist in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing LDL or bad cholesterol. This may help in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promoting an unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries, thereby preventing various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.
May Fight Staphylococcus AureusResearch published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology has shown that lemongrass essential oil has an anti-biofilm capacity and is beneficial against the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It contains phenols and essential oil, which may disrupt the growth of infections and germs and help inhibit the formation of biofilms.
May Detoxify the BodyAccording to a 2003 animal study, lemongrass may help in cleansing and flushing harmful toxic wastes from the body, as a result of its diuretic properties. Detoxification may help in the regulation of various organs of the body, including the liver and kidneys, while also possibly helping to lower the levels of uric acid. The possible diuretic effect of the herb helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination, which helps in maintaining digestive health and detoxifying the body.
May Relieve InsomniaLemongrass tea is considered to be helpful in calming muscles and nerves that may aid in promoting sleep. Research has shown that lemongrass tea has sedative properties, which can help in increasing the duration of sleep.
May Aid in Relieving Stomach Disorders
Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has potentially anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help in fighting the infections caused by pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli.
It is beneficial in reducing inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders; it may be helpful to consume to improve digestion and if you suffer from gastric ulcers, constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach ache.
May Reduce FeverLemongrass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’ due to its beneficial effects in lowering fever. The possible antipyretic and diaphoretic effect is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing fever by inducing sweating.
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