Lemongrass is a fragrant, citrus-scented herb that has numerous health benefits and medicinal properties. It is also used in cuisines all over the world. It is native to India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. The herb grows in dense clumps, with bright green leaves, very similar to grass. It has a distinct lemon flavour when crushed. Lemongrass contains many compounds, oils, and minerals that are said to have antioxidant properties.
Botanical name – Cymbopogon citratus
Sanskrit – Bhustrina
Common name – Lemongrass
Tamil – Karppurapul
Hindi – Gandhatrina
Health benefits of lemongrass
The primary chemical component in lemongrass herb is citral, which is responsible for its lemony flavour. Citral has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It, therefore, inhibits microbial and bacterial growth and prevents infection in the stomach and respiratory system. It also helps to prevent athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
The leaves and stems are very good in folic acid and essential vitamins like vitamin B5, B6, and B1. It also contains many anti-oxidant minerals and vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, iron, and potassium.
Lemongrass is said to help you shed weight. It is a diuretic and hence discards unnecessary water along with toxic substances and impurities.
It is a calmative agent, which makes it a natural remedy for anxiety and nervousness. It also helps insomnia patients to sleep well and relieves tension and stress. In traditional medicine, it is said to act as a tonic for the nervous system. It is also said to be good for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Lemongrass is known to help to recover from cold and flu. It helps to reduce fevers. It aids the digestive process and reduces flatulence. It is said to help the absorption of nutrients in the body and hence strengthens the immune system.
A study in Australia confirmed that lemongrass is effective in treating headaches and migraines. They also found that it inhibited platelet clumping. It shows a similar activity as aspirin. A research team in Israel found that lemongrass caused self-destruction in cancer cells. It was found that citral induced self-destruction in cancer cells, while the healthy cells were left intact.
Health Benefits of Lemongrass tea
How to make lemongrass tea? Clean the stalks of the lemongrass, (use only the white part of the stalks) and chop/mash it. Place the chopped/smashed stalks of lemongrass in a teapot. Pour boiling water over it and let it steep for five minutes. This tea tastes good with or without sugar/honey. You can also add crushed ginger to the lemongrass.
Lemongrass tea is said to be a good home remedy for people suffering from insomnia. A cup of lemongrass tea before bed relaxes the mind and helps promote sleep. It removes toxins and helps keep the body energetic. It also relieves cough and cold. The antioxidant properties present in lemongrass help reduce bad cholesterol.
Health benefits of lemongrass oil
Lemongrass oil is extracted from dried lemongrass by steam distillation. The plant contains oils made up of compounds such as citral and myrcene that are responsible for their immense medicinal value. Lemongrass oil is a natural home remedy to help relieve pain in muscles, joints, and headaches that result from viral infections. It reduces inflammation and pain. Since lemongrass has antiseptic properties, this oil heals cuts and wounds. It is a good deodorant. It is also extensively used in aromatherapy.
Home remedies with lemongrass
- Blanching the lemongrass in water and drinking it is very beneficial for skin rash.
- It brings relief to body aches when you are down with flu.
- A cup of lemongrass tea after meals helps in digestion.
- Steaming with lemongrass oil helps to open up congested airways.
- An ounce of lemongrass herbal tea per day, helps to smooth mild sinus.