Other Names of Lemon Grass
- Gavati chaha
- Hierba Luisa
- Fever grass
- Cha de Dartigalongue
- Citronella grass
- Silky heads
- Barbed wire grass
Useful Parts of the Plant:
Lemon grass or Cymbopogon citratus is a perennial and aromatic tall grass which has rhizomes and roots that are dense, tufted, and fibrous. It has short stems that grow underground and which have ringed segments. The leaves grow in dense clusters and they are slightly leathery, coarse, and green in color. They terminate in lengthy and bristly points. The length of the grass blades are around 90 cm and the width is 0.5cm. As an herb, lemon grass is widely used in Asian cuisine. It has a citrus flavor that is subtle and can be powdered, dried, or used fresh. The ideal climate for growing lemon grass is a humid and warm climate with 250–330 cm of rainfall a year and sufficient sunshine.
Nutritional Information and Properties
There is an essential oil present in lemon grass. Lemon grass oil is the color of sherry and has a pungent taste. It has a pleasing lemony smell with the principle constituent being citral. Citral possesses powerful anti fungal and anti microbial properties. Lemon grass possesses many essential oils that benefit health. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and chemicals that help in the prevention of diseases and possess antioxidant properties. The herb also contains other essential oil constituents like nerol, geranyl acetate, limonene, geraniol, dipentene, methyl heptenone, citronellol and myrcene. Lemon grass also contains very few calories. It contains 99 calories for every 100 grams, but there is no cholesterol present. Some of the vitamins present in the herb are thiamin (vitamin B-1), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). The parts of the herb, whether dried or fresh, are rich in minerals such as magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, calcium, zinc, and potassium.
Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses
- Lemon grass helps in treating digestive system problems in children.
- It has a beneficial effect on the central nervous system and can provide a gentle boost of energy to alleviate tiredness and exhaustion.
- Lemon grass can be used externally for the treatment of scabies, arthritis, athlete’s foot, lice, and ringworm.
- It can be used to balance and normalize dandruff, overactive oil glands, and other skin problems.
- Lemon grass oil helps in the recovery of the body after illness by enhancing the digestive system and giving strength and vitality to the glandular system.
- Lemon grass helps in easing cramps and muscle pain and also helps in increasing circulation and getting rid of lactic acid.
- It can be used topically for fighting fungal infections and clearing skin inflammations.
- Lemon grass is a tonic, stimulant, prophylactic, insecticide, galactagogue, fungicide, diuretic, digestive, deodorant, carminative, bactericide, antiseptic, and antidepressant.
The benefits of lemon grass also extend to its wide use in South East Asian cuisine. Lemon grass is used as a key ingredient to impart a signature flavor to many dishes. Lemon grass tea can also be prepared as an effective medicinal drink.
Precautions/Side Effects/ Warnings
Lemon grass appears to be safe for most individuals when it is taken in the right amounts. It is also considered to be safe when used for short term medicinal purposes. There have, however, been some side effects like lung problems after inhalation of the herb and a reported case of fatal poisoning after an insect repellent that contained lemon grass was swallowed by a child. The intake of lemon grass during breast feeding and pregnancy should be avoided. This is because lemon grass can induce menstrual flow which can cause a miscarriage.