4 Proven Health Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

Lemongrass essential oil, known for its invigorating citrus aroma, has gained popularity for its versatile applications in aromatherapy, promoting both beauty and well-being. This oil is derived from the tall grass native to Southeastern Asian islands and thrives in tropical climates. Its presence is not only prevalent in culinary delights like Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisines but also finds its way into soothing tea preparations.

Renowned for its multifaceted utility, lemongrass essential oil offers potential advantages in mitigating inflammation, aiding digestion, and alleviating headaches. The therapeutic effects are harnessed by inhaling the fragrant vapors or through its incorporation in carrier oils, body care products, and hair and skin formulations. This natural elixir is believed to hold a diverse range of benefits, making it a notable addition to holistic wellness routines.

What is Lemongrass Essential Oil?

Lemongrass essential oil is carefully extracted from dried lemongrass using the meticulous process of steam distillation. This botanical gem is scientifically recognized by the names Cymbopogon citratus or Andropogon citratus. The essential oil derived from lemongrass boasts a rich composition, encompassing constituents such as myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol, geraniol, neral, limonene, and citral.

Contrary to its name, lemongrass offers a more subdued and sweeter fragrance reminiscent of lemons. This aromatic grass plays a pivotal role in an array of culinary delights, adding its distinct essence to beverages like tea, delectable desserts, and a variety of gastronomic creations. Its versatility shines through in Chinese and Thai recipes, effectively filling the void left by fresh lemons when their potent flavor isn’t suitable. This rapid-growing grass holds its value in both organic and mainstream markets, making it a sought-after and economically viable commodity.

3 jars of lemongrass oil with whole and sliced lemongrass on a mat

Lemongrass oil is known for its powerful analgesic properties. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Lemongrass Essential Oil Health Benefits

Lemongrass has many health benefits because of its medicinal properties. Let’s have a look at them in detail.

Relieves Pain

Lemongrass essential oil’s potential anti-inflammatory properties suggest it could alleviate pain. Intriguingly, a 2017 research, published in Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, highlighted a notable decline, from 80% to 50% in pain levels over a month, in rheumatoid arthritis patients using topical lemongrass oil. Concurrently, another 2012 study, this time on mice, reinforced its capability to deter gastric ulcers and stomach pain. The element ‘citral’ in the oil is believed to be pivotal in these therapeutic effects. [1] [2]

Reduces Depression

A study involving 40 male participants in 2015 evaluated the anxiety-reducing effects of inhaling lemongrass essential oil. Remarkably, those who inhaled lemongrass essential oil exhibited reduced anxiety and tension. While more research is needed to understand how lemongrass oil helps reduce anxiety, this research is a step towards using the oil for dealing with anxiety temporarily. [3]

Inhibits Bacterial Growth

A 2010 study explored lemongrass oil’s action against various bacterial strains, including S. aureus and E. coli. Most bacteria showed vulnerability and the research concluded the potential of lemongrass oil, especially against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Another study conducted in 2022 indicated lemongrass oil’s efficacy in preventing spore formation in bacteria causing skin conditions like pitted keratolysis, highlighting the potential therapeutic use of lemongrass oil for such infections. [4] [5]

Mosquito Repellent

Lemongrass essential oil is a well known mosquito repellent and hence it is also added commercially in some mosquito repellents. There is some documented scientific research as well showcasing the use of lemongrass for repelling mosquitoes. In a study conducted in 2007, it was observed that volunteers in Guatemala and Peru repelled mosquitoes more when a mixture of para-menthane-diol (PMD) and lemongrass oil was applied topically. Lemongrass oil can be effective for repelling house flies and stable flies as well according to two research studies conducted in 2011 and in 2013 respectively. [6] [7] [8]

Word of Caution

The above benefits are based on preliminary scientific research. More research should be carried out to establish the mechanisms in which lemongrass oil works for providing these benefits.

Lemongrass Essential Oil FAQs

What is lemongrass oil good for?

With its fresh and citrusy aroma, lemongrass essential oil is widely used in skincare and cosmetics, in hair care products, soaps and bath products. It’s a popular fragrance in perfumes, deodorants, candles, and air fresheners, and acts as a natural insect repellent. Additionally, lemongrass oil can be found in some household cleaners, therapeutic balms and rubs, aromatherapy diffusers, and massage oils.

How to use lemongrass essential oil?

Lemongrass oil, with its refreshing citrus scent, has a variety of applications. For topical use, dilute it with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, at a ratio of 2-3 drops of lemongrass oil to every teaspoon of carrier oil; this can be applied for skin care, massage, or as a natural insect repellent. For aromatic purposes, add a few drops to a diffuser or a pot of boiling water to fill the room with its invigorating fragrance. Always conduct a patch test on a small area of skin before full application, and consult a health professional before ingesting or using for therapeutic purposes.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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