What Is Lemon Grass?
Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus) are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, or gavati chahapati, amongst many others.
Habitat: Lemon grass is endemic to Southeast Asia, particularly India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
It has been introduced in many US states, including California and Florida; and in South America, particularly Brazil.
Description: Lemon grass is a tender perennial of the grass family and resembles many of its members in the long, upright blades, but with leaves at the ends, and growing in clumps.
These blades are sharp, denser than most grasses, with a thick solid, almost bulb-like base of a few inches, and has a height of three to six feet. Blades are deep nearly bluish-green in color, white near the thick, clumpy stems, and branch from this bulb in dense white growths. When cut they have the appearance of a scallion.
Flowers are rare on lemon grass plants, but when they do bear, they are large heads with false reddish-brown spikes.
Plants reach around five feet in height and four feet in breadth. The telltale fragrance of this lemon-scented plant is due to the presence of essential oils in the tube-like cells.
Plant Parts Used: Leaves and Oil (medicinally). Leaves and Stem (culinary).
Health Benefits Of Lemon Grass
Lemongrass is a plant. The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine.
Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.
In food and beverages, lemongrass is used as a flavoring. For example, lemongrass leaves are commonly used as “lemon” flavoring in herbal teas.
Healing/Traditional Benefits of Lemon Grass
- 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.
- Achy joints (rheumatism).
- Common cold.
- Use as an antiseptic and astringent.
- Other conditions.