Some Scientific StuffLemon Grass (Cymbopogan citratus) is part of the Gramineae family. It is a tall perennial grass native to southern India and Sri Lanka. It is a member of the sugar cane family.
BackgroundCommon names for lemon grass include lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, or gavati chahapati. It was once rare and seldom used but has become widespread and much-used in recent decades. It is particularly popular in the cuisine of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Indonesia as it imparts a distinctive lemon aroma and flavor when cut or crushed and then cooked with due to the release of its essential oil, citral.
Properties of Lemon GrassThe chief chemical component in lemon grass herb is citral or lemonal, an aldehyde responsible for its unique and distinct lemon smell. Lemon grass is also rich in essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). This herb is furthermore a rich source of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper and magnesium. Lemon grass also has essential oils such as myrcene, citronellol, methyl heptanone, di pentene, geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate and nerol.
Medicinal and Homeopathic Properties of Lemon GrassSome medicinal properties of lemon grass include: Lemon grass has essential oils, chemicals, minerals and vitamins thought to have anti-oxidant properties. These include anti-oxidants such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elimicin, catecol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid The principal chemical in lemon grass, citral, has strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties. The citral compound is used in the commercial production of Vitamin A. The essential oils in lemon grass have counter-irritant, insecticidal, antifungal and anti-septic properties. Potassium is especially helpful in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Its leaves and stems are a good source of folate. Folates play a vital role in cell division and DNA synthesis. Lemon grass is used in aromatherapy to revitalize the body and help relieve the symptoms of headache, body ache, nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions. A few of the specific conditions for which lemon grass has beneficial properties include:
- Cholesterol: Lemon grass is high in the anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels.
- Staphylococcus aureus infection: Lemon grass essential oil has phenols that are beneficial against this infection that causes severe blotching of the skin.
- Stomach disorders: Its essential oil has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help fight various stomach pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and E coli. Homeopathic uses also include those for constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach aches due to its strong diuretic properties.
- Diuretic: Lemon grass is beneficial to the kidneys and toxin levels in the urinary tract due to its strong diuretic properties
- Edema: It is helpful in improving edema (excessive water retention. This is because it has a cleansing effect on lymphatic congestion which causes the swelling.
- Fever: People in India, Kenya and Tanzania also refer to lemon grass as ‘fever grass’ owing to its anti-pyretic fever-reducing properties.
- Cellular health: Its plentiful antioxidant qualities help in protecting the body’s cells from oxygen-derived free radicals. It also strengthens the spleen in discarding tarnished red blood cells.
Some Quirky Facts about Lemon Grass
- Lemon grass contains 99 calories per 100 grams yet it has 0% cholesterol.
- Lemon grass and citronella are very close cousins, but not identical. How to tell the difference? Lemon grass has green stalks whilst citronella has reddish stalks.
- The lemon grass plant is a natural insect repellent, including being excellent in repelling mosquitoes.
- People in the Caribbean also call lemon grass "Sweet Rush" for the treatment of colds and fever.
- Jamaica uses lemon grass in the manufacture of tea bags.
Cosmetic and Skincare Uses of Lemon Grass
- Lemon grass is an exceptional rubefacient. A rubefacient is a substance for topical application that produces redness of the skin e.g. by causing dilation of the capillaries and an increase in blood circulation. This is excellent when cleansing the skin.
- Lemon grass assists as a skin tonic and makes an effective cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin, due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities. It further helps in strengthening skin tissue and toning up the pores whilst also sterilizing them.
- It is excellent for balancing oily skin.
- Lemon grass oil is used in massage therapy as a muscle and skin-toner.
- As covered in another article by Solpri, lemon grass is very effective in helping treat dermatological infections, such as ringworm/ Athlete’s Foot.
- It also helps treat scabies and urinary tract infections thanks to its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, as well as yeast infections. It inhibits the growth of pathogens.
- Lemon grass is also quite rich in Vitamin C which is helpful for collagen production and which makes skin more taut and healthy.
- It is a natural exfoliant and helps in cleansing pores, making them appear smaller. Lemon grass even acts as a mild astringent to restrict pores and diminish their appearance.
Why We Love Lemon Grass in Our ProductsAs a recap of its many benefits, here are some of the reasons why we at Solpri use lemon grass in our products:
- It’s a great antifungal
- It has antibacterial properties
- It has anti-microbial properties
- It has rubefacient properties
- It’s great for oily skin
- It’s a skin tonic
- It tones skin and face muscle
- It smells fresh
“Lemongrass is an aromatic storehouse of essential nutrients providing a wide array of health benefits.” – Organic Facts