Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the Poaceae grass family, which thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, such as in India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, and Guatemala. This plant grows in dense clumps and has bright-green, sharp-edged leaves, similar to grass.
Lemongrass is a popular flavoring in Asian cooking – added to curries and soups, or paired with beef, fish, poultry, and seafood. Fresh lemongrass is also used to make lemongrass tea.
There are over 50 varieties of lemongrass, but not all are edible or ideal for medicinal purposes. The two varieties of lemongrass most popularly used today are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus. While they can be used interchangeably, especially for making lemongrass oil, C. citratus is more popularly known in culinary applications, while C. flexuosus is more dominant in industrial applications, such as perfumery.
All about Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil extraction is done from the leaves of the plant. It has a thin consistency, and a pale or bright yellow color. It has a strong, fresh, lemony, and earthy scent. Besides being a delicious citrusy seasoning in Thai cooking, most of us would never guess that this delicious thready grass holds so much healing power inside its fibrous stalks.
Surprisingly, lemongrass essential oil is used as aromatherapy to relieve muscle pain, externally to kill bacteria, ward off insects, and reduce body aches, and internally to help your digestive system. It can also be used for flavoring tea and soups, and it adds fragrance to cosmetics, soaps, and homemade deodorizers.
Lemongrass oil has a light and fresh lemony smell with earthy undertones. It is stimulating, relaxing, soothing, and balancing. The compounds that make up lemongrass essential oil are known to have antifungal, insecticidal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lemongrass may prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast and it has antioxidant properties. It contains substances that are used to alleviate muscle pain, reduce fever, and to stimulate uterus and menstrual flow.
Lemongrass belongs to a genus of about 55 species of grasses. Lemongrass grows in dense clumps that can grow 6 feet in height and 4 feet in width. It is native to warm and tropical regions, such as India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is used as a medicinal herb in India and it is common in Asian cuisine. In African and South American countries, it is popularly used for making tea.
The main chemical components of lemongrass oil are myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol, geraniol, neral and traces of limonene and citral. Lemongrass Essential Oil combines beautifully with the essential oils of Basil, Cedarwood, Coriander, Geranium, Jasmine, Lavender, Lavandin and Tea Tree.
The therapeutic properties of lemongrass oil are:
nervous system sedative
Infographic about Lemongrass Essential Oil:
Lemongrass Oil Uses
1. Natural Deodorizer
Use lemongrass oil as a natural and safe air freshener or deodorizer. You can add the oil to water and use it as a mist or use an oil diffuser or vaporizer. By adding other essential oils, like lavender or peppermint, you can customize your own natural fragrance.
Lemongrass Oil is far better than many of the synthetic deodorants that are a big expense, a heavy impact on the environment, and have limited lasting power. Also, those types of deodorant can sometimes produce irritation on the skin and can exacerbate certain allergies. Lemongrass oil can be a far better choice as a deodorant because it does not do any of these things. In a diluted form, it serves as an efficient deodorant without any side effects. The best thing about this is that it is herbal, so there is no damage to your body or the environment.
2. Skin Health
One major lemongrass essential oil benefit is its skin healing properties. Add lemongrass oil to shampoos, conditioners, deodorants, soaps, and lotions. Lemongrass oil is an effective cleanser for all skin types; its antiseptic and astringent properties make lemongrass oil perfect for getting even and glowing skin. It can sterilize your pores, serve as a natural toner, and strengthen your skin. By rubbing this oil into your hair, scalp, and body, you can alleviate headaches or muscle pain.
3. Hair Health
Lemongrass oil can strengthen your hair follicles, so if you are struggling with hair loss or an itchy and irritated scalp, massage a few drops of lemongrass oil into your scalp for two minutes and then rinse. The soothing and bacteria-killing properties will leave your hair shiny, fresh, and odor free.
4. Natural Bug Repellant
Lemongrass is quite popular as an insect repellant due to its insecticidal properties. It kills insects and also keeps them away, but there isn’t enough research to know exactly which insects it affects, so there is no promise on cockroaches, for example!
Because of its high citral and geraniol content, lemongrass oil is known to repel bugs such as mosquitoes and ants. This natural repellant has a mild smell and can be sprayed directly on the skin. You can even use lemongrass oil to kill fleas; add about 5 drops of oil to water and create your own spray, then apply the spray to your pet’s coat.
5. Stress Reducer & Sleep Aid
Being a sedative is perhaps one of the most important and most appreciated medicinal properties of Lemongrass Oil. It has a great soothing, sedating and calming effects on mind, cures inflammation, itchy skin and relieves tension and anxiety. This feature can help patients of insomnia as well. Lemongrass oil revitalizes the body and relieves the symptoms of jetlag, clears headaches and helps to combat nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions.
The calming and mild smell of lemongrass oil is known to relieve anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. The sedative and hypnotic properties of lemongrass oil can help to improve the duration and quality of sleep. To relieve stress, create your own lemongrass massage oil or add lemongrass oil to your body lotion.
6. Muscle Relaxant
Lemongrass oil benefits also include pain and ache relief. The oil helps to improve blood circulation, and can therefore relieve muscle spasms, backaches, sprains, and cramps. Try rubbing diluted lemongrass oil on your body or find out how to make lemongrass oil foot bath.
Lemongrass oil or tea has been used as a detoxifier in several countries. It is known to detox the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, bladder, and pancreas. Because it works as a diuretic, consuming lemongrass oil will help you to flush harmful toxins out of your body. Keep your system clean by adding lemongrass oil to your soup or tea. Make your own lemongrass tea by infusing lemongrass leaves with boiling water or adding a few drops of essential oil to your tea.
8. Menstrual Cramp Relief
Drinking lemongrass tea is known to help women with menstrual cramps; it can also help ease nausea and irritability. Drink two cups of lemongrass tea a day to relieve pain associated with your period.
9. Stomach Protector & Gastric Ulcer Cure
Lemongrass has been known for centuries anecdotally as a cure for stomach distress, gastritis, and gastric ulcers. Now research is catching up with this long-known support and cure. Adding lemongrass oil or infused lemongrass water to your tea or soup can treat stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea.
Lemongrass essential oil can efficiently handle excess flatulence. It not only helps to remove gas from the intestine, but also stops further gas from forming. Furthermore, it provides the excess gas a safe downward passage by relaxing the muscles in the abdominal region.
10. Headache Relief
The calming and soothing effects of lemongrass oil has the power to relieve the pain, pressure, or tension that can cause headaches. Try massaging diluted lemongrass oil on your temples and breathe in the relaxing lemony fragrance.
Lemongrass has antimicrobial properties which makes it an inhibitor of microbial and bacterial growth in the body, both internally and externally. It is also known to be effective in inhibiting bacterial infections in the colon, stomach, urinary tract, wounds, respiratory system, and other organ systems, while also helping to cure diseases resulting from bacterial or microbial infections such as typhoid, food poisoning, skin diseases, body odor, and malaria (caused due to protozoon).
The citral and limonene content in lemongrass oil can kill or stifle the growth of bacteria and fungi. This will help you avoid getting infections such as ringworm, Athlete’s Foot, or other types of fungus. Studies in rats have proved that lemongrass essential oil is an effective antifungal and antibacterial agent.
It is useful with respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever and helps prevent spreading of infectious diseases. It is helpful with colitis, indigestion and gastro-enteritis.
12. Fever Reducer
Consuming lemongrass oil or a lemongrass infusion has been used to reduce fevers. Lab studies have shown that a lemongrass infusion is effective in relieving feverish symptoms. This oil can bring down a fever when it is beginning to reach dangerous levels. This property of Lemongrass, which comes from its essential oils, is widely known and utilized. Lemongrass Oil helps bring down fevers by battling the infections from which the fever is caused, as well as by increasing perspiration, which induces sweating out of toxins.
Lemongrass Oil is a tonic in a very clear sense. It tones all the systems functioning in the body, such as respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system and excretory system and facilitates absorption of nutrients into the body, thus providing strength and boosting the immune system. The oil can be vital in restoring your system and it can help with the proper operation of your organs. It is a great overall tonic for the body and it boosts the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a boon when recovering from illness, as it also stimulates glandular secretions.
14. Treats Digestive Disorders
Lemongrass oil can help relieve pain from gas irritation in the stomach and bowels, and it can remove toxins from the body easily because it increases urination. Lemongrass is helpful in the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric ulcers, because it helps stimulate the bowel function and it improves digestion.
Things that are considered an analgesic reduce pain and inflammation. Lemongrass essential oil helps relieve pain in muscles and joints, as well as toothaches and headaches resulting from viral infections like cough, cold, influenza, fever, and various poxes. It also helps relieve general body pain resulting from strenuous activities and athletics.
The anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass oil come from the limonene that is present. Inflammation has been found to be associated with just about every health condition and it has been known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease.
16. Has Antioxidant Effects
Studies have shown that lemongrass oil has the ability to fight off free radicals. One of the main components of lemongrass oil, citral, has been known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, especially early on. These anti-cancer activities are most prevalent in the prevention of skin cancer.
17. Lowers Cholesterol
One study found that animals with high cholesterol were given lemongrass oil extract and their numbers diminished drastically. This reaction was found to be based on the dose of lemongrass oil. Consumption of lemongrass oil has been shown to sustain healthy levels of triglycerides and reduce the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body. This promotes the unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and will help to protect you against many cardiac disorders.
18. Fights the Flu or Colds
Lemongrass oil can fight bacteria and can help to treat illnesses such as the common cold, especially when used with a vaporizer. If your body temperature is higher than normal, lemongrass oil can have a cooling effect.
Lemongrass oil boosts self-esteem, confidence, hope and mental strength, and it uplifts spirits and fights depression. This can be very helpful to drive away depression due to circumstances in a person’s career and personal life, such as insecurity, loneliness, stagnation, death in the family and many other reasons. This also relieves anxiety. As an antidepressant, lemongrass can be systematically administered to patients with acute depression who are undergoing rehabilitation after acute shock. Basically, take it with your tea and relax.
The antiseptic properties of lemongrass oil make it a good application for external and internal wounds as well as an ingredient of antiseptic lotions and creams. The antiseptic properties of this oil prevents development of sepsis in external and internal cuts and wounds.
An astringent helps the stoppage of blood flow by contracting the blood vessels. If someone is bleeding profusely, you can utilize an astringent to speed up clotting of the blood and stop the flow to save his or her life. The fact that lemongrass is an astringent helps in a different way too. It promotes contraction of gums, hair follicles, muscles, skin and blood vessels, thereby preventing loosening and falling out of teeth, hair loss and it reduces the flow of blood through the vessels. Some of these properties can be life-saving, so lemongrass is an essential source of astringent.
Lemongrass oil increases urination, both in frequency and in quantity. This may not sound that important, but it can be very beneficial for health. When a person urinates, fats are lost from the body, because 4% of the volume of urine is composed of fats. Obviously, the more you urinate, the more you lose fat. Urination also promotes digestion and inhibits the formation of excess gas. It removes excess water from the body and reduces swelling. Its most important contribution is that it removes toxins from the body, not to mention its ability to reduce blood pressure. That is the reason that most pharmaceutical medications for lowering blood pressure induce frequent urination. Urination also helps clean out the kidneys.
Lemongrass Oil has good fungicidal properties and may be used to cure fungal infections, both external and internal.
Galactogogue is a substance or an agent that increases the formation of milk in the breasts. It also enhances the quality of that same milk. This property is very helpful for lactating mothers and the babies who need that vital source of food. Lemongrass oil is a Galactogogue. Apart from increasing milk production, it also helps babies in another way. Babies are prone to infections, so the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of Lemongrass oil are also absorbed in the milk and thus indirectly help the baby avoid such infections.
Lemongrass Essential Oil acts as a tonic for the nerves and the nervous system in general. It helps treat many symptoms caused by nervous disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, such as shaking hands or limbs, nervousness, vertigo, convulsions, sluggishness, and lack of reflexes. It strengthens the nerves throughout the body and stimulates them.
How to Use Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil has great benefits as a muscle and skin toner, and revitalizes the body and mind, helps with infections and keeps the family pet flea and tick free and smelling nice.
Check out this video about using Lemongrass Essential Oil:
In vapor therapy, Lemongrass oil can be used for nervousness and as an insect repellant. It is also great to revive the mind when feeling lethargic and to energize as well as relieving fatigue.
Blended massage oil or in the bath
Lemongrass oil can be used in blended massage oil or diluted in the bath to assist with cellulite, digestive problems, as a diuretic, for infections, nervousness, for over-exerted ligaments and as a general tonic.
Cream or lotion
When used in a lotion or a cream, it has value in clearing cellulite, as well as toning the skin, opening blocked pores and helping with acne. The antiseptic properties are useful in treating athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
A Few Words of Caution
It is likely to irritate the skin and produce other types of irritations too. Hence it should be avoided during pregnancy, and kept away from the eyes.
Check out this Slideshare about Lemongrass Essential Oil: