Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in many culinary delights, especially those from Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. It adds a uniquely earthy and fresh flavor to soups, stews, teas and more.
In addition to this, this plant also yields a very potent and highly therapeutic oil that has many applications in natural health.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a perennial plant in the Poaceae grass family and is native to the tropical and subtropical area of India, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It flourishes here where the soil is slightly sandy and the climate moist and warm.
This herb has an upright habit and grows in large clumps to a mature height of about 3 feet. Its leaves are bright green with sharp edges much like regular lawn grass only larger.
There are numerous cultivars of lemongrass that are grown in different parts of the world for their commercial value. West-Indian lemongrass ( C. citratus) is an important culinary herb while (C.flexuosus) is used mostly in the perfume industry.
Traditionally, lemongrass parts as well as its oil have been used to remedy digestive disturbances, circulatory issues, behavioral problems, headaches, compromised immunity, nervous system sedative, infection fighter and menstrual irregularities. In some cultures, it is known as fever grass due to its ability to bring down a fever. This particular remedy is made even more effective when it is combined with black pepper.
How Is Lemongrass Essential Oil Extracted?
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from partially dried leaves by a process of steam distillation. The oil is yellow to amber in color and has a very fresh, citrus-like aroma that smells like a very sweet fresh grass.
Lemongrass has an impressive therapeutic/nutritional profile. Here are some highlights:
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6
- Vitamin C
High iron: The high levels of iron in lemongrass help red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body. In addition, manganese, another component of lemongrass is a vital mineral for both skin and bone health and also helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced.
B-Vitamins: Lemongrass is loaded with B-vitamins which we can’t make on our own. B-vitamins are necessary for metabolic function of cells. Folate, or B-9, is necessary for heart health, and helps to prevent birth defects in developing infants.
Some Amazing Properties of Lemongrass Oil…
Here are nine wonderful benefits of lemongrass essential oil…
Antibacterial/Antifungal: The sweet grassy fragrance of lemongrass comes from citral, sometimes called lemonal. This organic compound has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Antipyretic: Antipyretics are substances that can bring down a high fever. Lemongrass oil has the ability to do just this and is often used in tea to reduce dangerously high fevers. It is able to reduce a high fever by encouraging perspiration.
Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant: Some of the essential oil compounds found in lemongrass also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
Carminative: Lemongrass oil helps to remove excess gas from the intestines and keeps gas from forming.
Sedative: One of the most recognized characteristics of lemongrass oil is its ability to promote feelings of peace and tranquility. This is useful for people who have a hard time relaxing or sleeping.
Anticarcinogenic: Limonene has been found by some research to have significant anticarcinogenic properties. A flavonoid compound known as luteolin, also found in lemongrass, has been linked to combatting cancer cells. Luteolin may also assist with improving symptoms of lung infections and multiple sclerosis.
Antiseptic: Lemongrass oil can help clean internal and external wounds and keep infection at bay.
Astringent: An astringent can helps stop blood flow by contracting blood vessels. In cases where there is severe bleeding, an astringent can mean the difference between life and death. Lemongrass promotes contraction of hair follicles, muscles, skin and blood vessels.
Diuretic: Lemongrass oil increases urination that helps in the reduction of toxic buildup and swelling. Frequent urination helps to keep the kidneys clean as well.
Practical Ways to Use Lemongrass Oil
Here are twenty ways that this amazing essential oil can be used:
Topical Pain Relief: Because of its powerful anti inflammatory properties, lemongrass essential oil offers immediate pain relief while it reduces inflammation. Use a carrier oil and dilute 2 drops of lemongrass oil to one teaspoon of carrier oil such as almond oil or jojoba oil.
Mood Enhancement: The fresh and earthy scent of lemongrass makes it a great addition to a diffuser. Use lemongrass in your diffuser when want to feel clean, refreshed, relaxed and renewed. Lemongrass oil can boost confidence, mental health and help to keep depression at bay.
Facial Sauna: If you need relief from congestion, or are feeling a little lethargic try a lemongrass essential oil facial sauna. Simply fill a shallow bowl or your sink with hot water and add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil. Hover over the bowl with a towel over your head to keep in the steam. Rinse with warm water and follow up with a light layer of coconut oil for moisturizing.
Muscle Relaxer: If your muscles are tight and sore, you can make a lemongrass massage oil that will work to reduce inflammation and bring relief to your sore muscles. Add 6 drops of lemongrass oil to one ounce of almond oil and massage gently into affected areas.
Facial Mask: To help keep your face feeling fresh and debris-free, try a facial mask made with clay, almond oil and lemongrass essential oil. Mix 3 tablespoons of bentonite clay, a teaspoon of almond oil and 3 drops of lemongrass essential oil together in a clean bowl. Add water until the mixture is like toothpaste. Apply to your face in a circular motion and allow to dry for fifteen minutes. Rinse with warm water, pat dry and follow up with a light layer of coconut oil for moisturizing.
Headache Relief: Whether your headache is due to tension, allergies or hormones, lemongrass essential oil can help. Apply several drops of oil to your temples at first sign of a headache.
Insomnia Help: The calming impact of lemongrass oil helps to relieve anxiety, irritability and insomnia. This can help improve not only duration of sleep but also quality. You can make your own lemongrass massage oil or add a little lemongrass oil to your own body cream. You can also add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to the bottom of your feet before bed.
Treating Shock: If someone is in shock, add 2 drops of lemongrass oil to a cotton ball and place the cotton ball under the nostrils. Do this immediately and wait for medical help to arrive.
Joint Pain: If you suffer with joint pain, lemongrass oil works to reduce pain and inflammation. Mix with a carrier oil and also combine with birch essential oil and geranium essential oil for arthritis and joint pain.
Wound Treatment: Blend several drops of lemongrass oil with ¼ cup of witch hazel to clean out wounds.
Heartburn: If you suffer from heartburn, mix several drops of lemongrass oil with a carrier oil such as organic coconut oil and rub the salve mixture over the throat and chest area for relief.
Fever Reducer: Lemongrass oil can help to fight infections that cause fevers and toxins. The best method is to use the lemongrass infused massage oil and apply to the back of your neck, chest area and the bottom of your feet.
Indigestion: Mix a few drops of lemongrass oil in with some almond oil and rub it on your abdomen for relief.
Flea Repellant: Lemongrass works well to repel fleas. Apply a few drops to your dog’s collar or on a bandana.
Insect Repellant: Just as the lemongrass deters fleas, it also deters insects. Apply a few drops to the edges of your clothing to repel climbing insects like ticks or you can even put on some massage oil to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Acne: The astringent and antimicrobial properties of lemongrass oil help to resolve acne. Add one drop to a little coconut oil and dab on blemishes twice a day.
Cholesterol: In one study it was found that animals with high cholesterol who were given lemongrass oil extract had a reduction in bad cholesterol.
High Blood Pressure: Because lemongrass oil is a vasodilator it can help reduce blood pressure and clear away heart attack causing plaque from the arteries.
Athlete’s Foot: Lemongrass can help fight fungal skin infections such as athlete’s foot. Use a drop of oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil and rub on your feet several times a day. Rub the oil on before bed and put on some socks until morning.
Fatigue: If you have run out of energy, mix a few drops of lemongrass oil with a teaspoon of coconut oil and massage into your temples. This works wonders before a workout to give you a natural energy boost.
Detoxification: Because lemongrass essential oil has diuretic properties, it can help flush toxins out of the body and reduce fluid buildup.
Additional Ways to Use Lemongrass Oil
- As an additive to DIY household cleaning products.
- As a natural body deodorizer. Mix with some coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint oil for a natural deodorant.
- As a natural air freshener. Put ¼ cup baking soda into a small jar and add 6 drops of lemongrass essential oil and 6 drops of wild orange essential oil. Place a piece of fabric over jar opening and seal with ring. Use in your bathroom, bedroom or kitchen for a fresh and lovely scent.
How To Blend Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil mixes well with geranium, jasmine, lavender, lavandin, tea tree, coriander, basil and cedarwood.
Side Effects and Cautions
Although lemongrass essential oil is safe for most people some people with sensitive skin may experience a rash or burning when used topically. Always use lemongrass oil with a carrier oil and try on a very small patch of skin first before using on a larger area.
Women who are pregnant should not use lemongrass essential oil as there is a very slight chance that it may cause miscarriage. In addition, children and nursing mothers should not use lemongrass essential oil.
Tips for Purchasing and Storing High-Quality Essential Oils
Before purchasing any essential oil be sure that you research the production methods used. Be sure that the essential oil is fresh and has not sat on the shelf for a long time. Purchase only small amounts to begin with as a little goes a long way.
It is not difficult to test how pure an essential oil is is. Simply put a drop of oil on a piece of heavy-weight paper. If the oil evaporates rapidly and leaves a noticeable ring on the paper, it is most likely diluted by the manufacturer. If there is no ring, it is most likely pure.
Always store essential oils in a cool dark place away from heat and light. Don’t store essential oils with the rubber dropper in the bottle. Always remove the dropper and replace the bottle lid.
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