Lemongrass are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons(Citrus limon). Lemongrass is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia, now grown in Africa, Australia, and North and South America.
This plant has a long, slender, smooth-rough, and red stem. Lemongrass grows all year round and can be harvested by simply cutting the leaves from the stem (this is done so that the lemongrass can grow back soon) or pulled out of the ground to the roots.
Lemongrass has traditionally been used as a fragrance and flavoring, and for a wide variety of medical conditions. Lemongrass is an herb with a distinct citrusy flavor and aroma. Its scientific name is Cymbopogon citratus and it belongs to the grass family of Poaceae.
Lemongrass reportedly has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has traditionally been used as a pain reliever and fever reducer. Research has found several potential health benefits of lemongrass. Lemongrass is a rich source of flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which contain antioxidants. It’s also an effective antibacterial and antifungal agent that contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Lemongrass also contains the following nutrients per 100 grams:
- Folate (75 µg; 19% of RDA): Present in the leaves and stems of lemongrass and is involved in cell division and DNA synthesis
- Vitamin C (2.6 mg; 4% of RDA): An antioxidant that repairs tissue and prevents scurvy
- Vitamin A (trace amounts): Aids in immune system maintenance, vision, and growth and development
- Magnesium (60 mg; 19% RDA): An important mineral for bone structure, protein synthesis, glycolysis (energy production), and muscle and nerve functions
- Selenium (trace amounts): An antioxidant that supports the immune system, cognitive function, and fertility
- Phosphorus (101 mg; 14% RDA): An essential mineral that aids in building bones, nucleic acids, and cell membranes
- Iron (8.17 mg; 45% RDA): A mineral that is part of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues
- Zinc (2.23 mg; 27% RDA): An essential mineral involved in cellular metabolism that plays a role in protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and normal growth and development
- B vitamins (trace amounts): Vitamins that are essential for energy metabolism, blood cell production, and maintenance of the health of body tissues
9 Health Benefits of Lemongrass
Lemongrass contains quercetin, a flavonoid known for having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Quercetin reduces inflammation, which inhibits cancer cell growth and prevents heart disease.
Helps 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.
Lemongrass essential oil has shown antifungal and anti-inflammatory effects when applied topically. Researchers tested the topical application of lemongrass oil on fungal infections and inflammatory skin conditions in mice. Although it showed promise as an effective treatment for skin conditions, more research needs to be conducted.
- May Promote Mental Health
Lemongrass is known to have a positive impact on the functioning of the brain, thereby relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mood, confidence, and self-esteem. It can help relax your mind and induce better sleep to help you overcome insomnia
Preventing Respiratory Disorders
Lemongrass is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its healing effects in treating cough and cold.The content of vitamin C in lemongrass can help heal congestion in the nose, flu and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.
Supports Skin Treatment
A study indicated that lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) essential oil has anti-inflammatory effects on human skin cells and is a good therapeutic agent for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.
Lemongrass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’ due to its beneficial effects in lowering fever. The antipyretic and diaphoretic effect is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing fever by inducing sweating.
- E. Coli Infection
E. coli bacterial infections can cause food poisoning if you eat contaminated foods. It can also cause urinary tract infections and pneumonia. One study found that lemongrass extract effectively reduces the toxicity of E. coli cultures and can help treat bacterial infections in the digestive tract.
Lemongrass is used in making deodorants because it has cleansing and antibacterial properties that help combat bad body odor and prevent fungal infections.
Lemongrass contains citrus which has been proven effective in preventing obesity. Lemongrass can prevent fat accumulation in the abdomen and increase the energy stored in the body. This will also help metabolism and increase the oxidation of fatty acids in the body.
Side Effects of Lemongrass
Although considered safe, but lemon grass can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Therefore it is highly recommended to consult a doctor before using products or preparations from lemongrass, especially for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and someone who is undergoing medical treatment.