Health Benefits of Lemongrass
Health benefits of lemongrass include relief from stomach disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections, rheumatism and edema. The antioxidant defense of lemongrass herb protects against antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus and help in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels, cellular health, nervous system, healthy skin and immune system. Lemongrass is also effective in treating type-2 diabetes, cancer, obesity and aids in detoxification. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and helps to combat fatigue, anxiety and body odor.
Lemongrass- an aromatic healer
Lemongrass is an herb which belongs to the grass family of Poaceae. It is well known and utilized for its distinct lemony flavor and citrus aroma. Lemongrass is a tall perennial grass which is native to India and tropical regions of Asia. It is a coarse and tufted plant with linear leaves and is grown in thick bunches, emerging from a strong base and stands for about 3 meters in height with a meter wide stretch.
In addition to the culinary usage, lemongrass offers a wide array of medicinal benefits and is in extensive demand attributing to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties across the South-east Asia along with the African and American continents.
The genus Cymbopogon comprises of 55 species of grass, two of which are referred to as Lemongrass. These are West-Indian lemongrass or Cymbopogon citratus which is famously preferred for the culinary usage and East-Indian lemongrass or Cymobopogon flexuosus which is used in the manufacturing of various products such as fragrances attributing to its extended shelf life due to the presence of low amount of myrcene content.
Lemongrass is an aromatic storehouse of essential nutrients providing an array of health benefits. It is a source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), folate and vitamin C. It also provides vital minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc and iron which are required for healthy functioning of human body. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fats.
Health benefits of lemongrass
Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elimicin, catecol, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid which help in providing a range of medicinal aids. The main component of lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which has anti-fungal and anti-microbial qualities and also provides its distinct lemony smell. Health benefits of lemongrass include:
Cholesterol: Lemongrass possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties which supports healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that regular consumption of lemongrass has shown significant results in sustaining the healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the LDL cholesterol in the body. This helps in preventing accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and prevents various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.
Detoxification: Lemongrass helps in cleansing and flushing of harmful toxin wastes out of the body attributing its diuretic properties. Detoxification helps in better regulation of various organs of the body including liver and kidney and helps lower the levels of uric acid. Diuretic effect of lemongrass helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination which helps in maintaining digestive health, loose accrued fats and assists in maintaining a clean system.
Cancer: Lemongrass is effective in treating various types of cancers without affecting the healthy normal cells of the body. Research conducted to prove the anti-cancer activity of lemongrass has shown promising outcome in the prevention of skin cancer. Studies have shown that the component citral present in lemongrass helps in inhibiting the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phases and prevents any further production. Another study has provided supportive evidence regarding the anti-proliferative effect of citral in impeding the growth of human breast cancer cells and induction of apoptosis.
Staphylococcus aureus: Studies have proven that lemongrass essential oil possesses anti-biofilm activity and is beneficial against the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Lemongrass contains phenols which possess the capability to spread quickly through the body tissues and cure biofilms located anywhere in the body. Lemongrass disrupts the growth and communication of germs which helps in inhibition of formation of biofilms. The essential oil of lemongrass is useful for application both topically as well as internally in the diseases diagnosed with biofilms such as Lyme disease.
Stomach disorders: Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help in fighting the infections caused by various pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli. Lemongrass is beneficial in the prevention of gastro-intestinal disorders such as gastric ulcers, helps in stimulating the bowel function and improves digestion. The anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass are beneficial for treating constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea and stomach aches.
Insomnia: Lemongrass aids in calming the muscles and nerves which helps in inducing deep sleep. Research has shown that lemongrass tea has sedative and hypnotic properties which help in increasing the duration and quality of sleep.
Respiratory disorders: Lemongrass is widely used in Ayurveda medicine for its healing effects in treating cough and cold. Along with other healthful components, the vitamin C content present in lemongrass helps in providing relief from nasal blockages, flu and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.
Fever: Lemongrass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’ attributing to its beneficial effects in lowering down the fever. The anti-pyretic and diaphoretic effect of lemongrass is extensively used in Ayurveda medicine for curing the fever by inducing sweating.
Infections: Lemongrass works as an antiseptic and is effective in treating infections such as ringworm, sores, athlete’s foot, scabies and urinary tract infections attributing to its anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Studies have shown that lemongrass exerts healing effects on the dermatological infectivity such as yeast infections by inhibiting the growth of pathogens. Another study have provided supportive evidence demonstrating the efficacy of lemongrass over thyme, patchouli and cedar wood oil in the treating various diseases such as oral or vaginal candidias.
Aches: Lemongrass helps in alleviating the pain and discomfort caused by headaches and migraine attributing to its analgesic properties. The phytonutrients present in lemongrass improves the blood circulation and helps in relieving the spasms, muscle cramps, sprains and backache. Lemongrass is valuable in treating sports wounds including dislocations, internal injuries and bruises.
Nervous System: Lemongrass is a nervine and has been proven be an excellent tonic for the nervous system. It stimulates the mind and helps in combating convulsions, nervousness, vertigo and various neuronal disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Lemongrass is used in therapeutic baths which assists in calming the nerves and helps in alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and fatigue caused by stress.
Type-2 Diabetes: Lemongrass has been proven beneficial in treating Type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that citral present in lemongrass helps in maintaining optimum levels of insulin and improves the tolerance of glucose in the body.
Rheumatism: Lemongrass is effective in relieving the pain and discomfort caused by rheumatism. It can be applied topically on the lumbago and sprains and helps in relieving neuralgia and other painful sufferings.
Immune system: Lemongrass helps in restoring the vital systems which are operational in the body including digestion, respiration, excretion and nervous system. This assists in better absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune defense mechanism of the body. Lemongrass extracts have beneficial effect on the inflammatory actions of cytokines which are the signaling molecules through the cells communicate and respond in the body. Studies have shown that lemon grass exerts anti-inflammatory action and its constituents such as citral may be implicated in its inhibitory effects on cytokine production.
Skin care: Lemongrass has been treasured as a skin tonic and makes an effective cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin attributing to its astringent and antiseptic qualities. It helps in strengthening the skin tissues and toning up the pores while sterilizing them. Care should be taken while using lemongrass products as undiluted application might lead to dermal irritation in some cases.
Cellular health: Lemongrass possesses antioxidant qualities and help in protecting the body cells from the oxygen free radicals. It helps in cleansing of blood and strengthens the spleen to discard the tarnished red blood cells. It supports the function of thymus glands which helps to produce white blood cells. Lemongrass helps in stimulating regeneration of cells. The folate and potassium content in the stem and leaves of the lemongrass aids in DNA synthesis and promotes cell division.
Aromatherapy: Lemongrass herb comprises of the healthful ingredients of essential oils such as nerol, citronellol, myrcene, dipentene, geraniol and methyl heptenone which possess anti-fungal, insecticidal and antiseptic properties. Lemongrass oil is extensively used in aromatherapy owing to its therapeutic effects which helps in revitalizing and refreshing the body. The cooling effect of lemongrass oil is beneficial for the body during hot weather and promotes revival of mind and soul. Lemongrass oil possesses natural astringent and toning qualities which help in stimulating the blood circulation and tones up the dermal tissues. It also helps in tightening, uplifting and firming the lethargic and tired skin.
Obesity: Lemongrass contains citral which has been proven to be effective in combating obesity. It prevents the accumulation of abdominal fats and promotes usage of stored energy which helps in preventing diet-induced weight gain. It aids in healthy metabolism and enhances the oxidation of fatty acids in the body.
Body odor: Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of deodorants owing to its cleansing and anti-bacterial properties which helps to combat unpleasant body odor and prevents fungal and bacterial infections. It can also be added to foot bath to for sanitizing sore and odorous feet.
Insect-repellant: Lemongrass is used as a natural insect repellant and helps in preventing the occurrence of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and Lyme disease. Studies have provided supportive evidence regarding the anti-malarial and anti-protozoan properties of lemongrass which makes lemongrass oil an effective ingredient in mosquito repellants.
Culinary usage: Apart from folk medicines, lemongrass is commonly used in Asian cuisines, especially Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian. It is used for adding flavor to beverages such as teas, curries and soups and also finds its usage in preparation of pudding, meat products, candies and baked goods.
Other uses of lemongrass
Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of perfumes, deodorants, polishes, candles and waxes. It is also used to add fragrance to soaps and cosmetic products.
Hydrophobic properties: Lemongrass is used for preserving the ancient palm leaf manuscripts and protects them from the damage caused by micro-organisms. It strengthens the leaves by providing required moisture to the fragile palm leaves without letting the humidity cause any loss to the stored text. This protective effect attributes to the hydrophobic properties of the lemon grass oil.
Pet products: Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of shampoos and grooming products for pets owing to its repellant effects on the lice and ticks.
Lemon grass: Word of caution
Although considered safe, however the topical usage of lemongrass oil or ingestion of herbal tea made of lemongrass can result in allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis in some people. In the event of any allergic symptoms, it is always advisable to discontinue the usage and seek immediate medical attention.
Undiluted or concentrated lemongrass oil should not be applied directly on the body as it may result in harmful reactions. It is always advisable to keep the pure lemongrass oil out of pediatric reach.
It is strongly recommended to consult a health professional before considering lemongrass oil for therapeutic usage during special conditions such as pregnancy or trying to conceive, breastfeeding and during the course of any ongoing medicine.
Lemongrass has galactagogic properties which promotes formation of milk in the breasts. It is also effective in stimulating the menstrual flow and helps in soothing menstrual cramps and discomfort. Lemongrass helps in soothing the swelling and is effectual in the conditions of varicosity. Used cautiously, lemongrass can prove extremely valuable in providing a range of multi-dimensional reliefs.
Add a refreshing and healthy aroma to your lifestyle with lemongrass!!!