Lemongrass is one powerful natural ally to have on your side, and can be used for more health and culinary benefits that you’d even believe. Scientifically known as Cymbopogon Citratus, lemongrass earned it’s name for it’s light citrus smell. Lemongrass has notoriety for many uses, which includes teas, as a culinary spice, and as a powerful herbal remedy for fevers, bacteria infections, treating headaches, and even helping with anxiety . Lemongrass is thought to have originated in Africa, where Cymbopogon Citratus is known to have grown natively for centuries, but has become wildly popular in modern Western markets in recent decades. Indian cultures have long-recognized the healing powers of lemongrass, and Ayurvedic practitioners have relied on it’s herbal potency throughout their cultural history. If you haven’t heard of lemongrass tea, or lemongrass essential oil before, then you may have noticed that many Thai restaurants fancy to include it in their dishes. It’s often included with other such spices as cardamon, Thai chillis, and cilantro. Lemongrass products are available in most local healthy food stores, and even some grocery stores.
The Many Lemongrass Benefits
Lemongrass is a power medicinal herb, and has been used by herbalists, naturopaths, holistic healers, and most likely witches for centuries. Modern research has been able to put some numbers to the reasons that lemongrass has been renowned for so long as such a useful perennial source of medicine. Lemongrass is high in natural antioxidant compounds, and loaded with other natural goodies such as luteoli, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and kaempferol. Similar to citric acid, lemongrass’s citral is able to provide powerful antifungal and antimicrobial action. This has been used over the years to treat wounds, fevers, toe fungus, and even infections. While the benefits of lemongrass are many, below you’ll find a brief overview of some of the more notable ones.
Research has shown that lemongrass essential oil can be used as an effective natural way to help lower anxiety. One study found that of 40 people offered lemongrass essential oil, tea tree essential oil, and plain water, those that were exposed to the lemongrass showed lower levels of anxiety . Overall, this study seems pretty superficial, but certainly hints that the aromatic compounds found in lemongrass many offer some anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effect.
In another study conducted on mice, researchers were able to more closely investigate the actual physiological effects of lemongrass essential oils. Through this approach, researchers learned that lemongrass seemed to help anxiety through it’s action on your brains GABAergic pathways—those responsible for slowing down your brain—and effected specific levels of neurotransmitters . This study seemed to offer a more detailed explanation for how lemongrass is able to help treat anxiety in a natural way.
Antibacterial & Antifungal
Lemongrass was among several essential oil extracts that were investigated by one group of researchers, which compared the antibacterial and antifungal traits of each against 22 different bacteria and fungal types. Of the 10 different essential oil extracts that were exposed to the pathogens, Lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange oils were the only ones to show the ability to destroy the infectious compounds . It’s worth noting that this study found that nearly all of the tested essential oils demonstrated some level of ability to fight these deadly infectious compounds, just not necessarily all of them. While many scoff at essential oil therapies as being a little to ‘woo-woo’ to be considered a viable option, more and more research shows that these powerfully-concentrated oils offer very unique potential. Another noteworthy study found that a 2% lemongrass gel solution was effective in treating serious gum infections . For anyone who has ever had a gun infection, this type of simple non-invasive approach seems almost a godsend.
Lemongrass teas, decoctions, and aromatherapies have been used throughout traditional medicinal practices across the world as an effect natural means of treating fevers. Many regard lemongrass tea as being a vital part of treating any illness in which an increase in temperature is noted. In one study that investigated the anti-inflammatory actions of Eucalyptus and Lemongrass oils, researchers found that both were able to exhibit the same anti-pyretic (fever reducing) effect as lysine treatments . While Eucalyptus showed an even higher anti-inflammatory and fever reducing action than lemongrass, but both were regarded as being highly likely to offer valuable benefit in treating fever-like conditions and inflammatory issues. Many lemongrass essential oil products are sold as Eucalyptus/Lemongrasss mixtures, and the research from this study certainly helps to better understand just why that may be.
Types of Lemongrass Products
Much of the research conducted around the healthy benefits of lemongrass is done by using a concentrated essential oil form. This was likely done for ease of exposure and a as a more measurable approach, but certainly isn’t the only way to experience the benefits of lemongrass. Lemongrass teas are wildly popular, and are available in nearly any blended variety that you could hope for. Many enjoy lemongrass tea with a few drops of honey, which sweetens things up a bit—and feels great on sore throats. Essential oil diffusers are popular ways of distributing the power of these types of oils throughout an entire space of your home, or even your car! Many choose to combine essential oils with steam therapy, which allows your body to absorb more of their beneficial compounds through it’s expanded pores. Steam therapies can be done at home by simply boiling water, or at local health clubs that offer steam saunas. Lemongrass tea benefits are more quickly seen for internal issues such as fever, cold, or sore throats while lemongrass essential oils are more holistic in action. If you plan on using lemongrass essential oils directly on your skin as a way to treat wounds, it’s recommended that you first dilute your oil to avoid a negative reaction. As mentioned earlier, one study found that a 2% lemongrass solution was effective in treating certain gum infections.
Where to Buy Lemongrass
Many local health food stores offer lemon essential oils, and several grocery stores such as Whole Foods have entire sections dedicated to essential oil products. Essential oils are simple and effective ways to help take the ‘edge’ of off many health conditions, and the demand for these products has increased considerably. Lemongrass tea is usually available in most stores that sell tea now, and there are many Organic options available, such as Alvita’s Organic Lemongrass Tea. Another tea variety to look for are those that are labeled as Lemon Ginger, as the ‘lemon’ in those is usually lemongrass as well. A great example of a lemon-ginger tea is the Decaf Ginger Lemon by Numi. There are tons different lemongrass teas available on websites such as Amazon, and as long as you go for certified Organic varieties—you’ll likely enjoy any of them! Another great place to buy any herbal products, not just lemongrass teas and essential oils, is Mountain Rose Herbs. They have a wide-selection of just about any herb you can imagine, and usually have an organic variety available.
Modern research has confirmed what healers have know for centuries, and lemongrass is becoming the go-to home remedy for many
Lemongrass is a powerful herbal compound that works as an effect treatment against many different health concerns such as anxiety, fevers, and even as an antibacterial agent. Modern research has confirmed what healers have know for centuries, and lemongrass is becoming the go-to home remedy for many in times of need. Many people focus on nutrition-based healthcare alone—check out our article on the best protein powder for more on that—and often overlook these types of peripheral approaches. Modern healthcare can be tough to manage, and there are dangers lurking everywhere. Products such as lemongrass tea and essential oils can help lend a much-needed hand in covering as many defensive fronts as possible!