Lemongrass, scientifically known as Cymbopogon, belongs to a family of grass. This genus is found in major areas of the world – Africa, Australia and Asia. It is known by many names:
- Citronella grass
- Fever grass (it is called fever grass because it can lower fever and its symptoms)
- Cochin grass or Malabar Grass
- Silky heads
- Barbed wire grass, and
- Oily heads
The harvest of lemon grass is quite interesting. Sharp cutting tools have to be used in order to cut them properly, but splitting the leaves will cause loss of oil while distillation. Hence, good care is taken while harvesting the grass with these sharp tools. Lemongrass essential oil is also made through a process of distillation.
The active components in the essential oil give the lemongrass its peculiar traits. Some of the active components in lemongrass are as follows:
- Geranyl acetate
Lemongrass is replete with ketones, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. And, it is these components that give lemongrass its medicinal properties. Some of the said medicinal properties are:
These properties have a profound effect on the way lemongrass oil is used and how it is beneficial in tackling several ailments.
Lemongrass Essential Oil Benefits
(Before reading further, the reader should know that most of the benefits mentioned here are anecdotal and should not be taken as any kind of medical advice. There is a need for more research on the benefits of essential oils to fully understand the medical benefits.)
Lowers anxiety levels
Essential oils, through aromatherapy, have the quality of lowering anxiety levels. The citrus fragrance of lemongrass induces a certain calmness which lowers the blood pressure thereby bringing down anxiety levels. In aromatherapy, the oil is topically applied on the palms or feet, or a few drops of the oil are taken in a diffuser. Applying it on a pillow before bedtime is also a good way to inhale the scent.
Effective stress buster
The terms stress and anxiety are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things. Oftentimes one leads to the other. The common factor between both the terms is that it increases the blood pressure. This essential oil lowers the blood pressure by calming the nerves and thus reduces stress. Those working in any stressful environment often apply lemongrass oil on their handkerchiefs and inhale it from time to time. Stress and anxiety are both caused due to low levels of serotonin hormone in the body. Serotonin is responsible for maintaining sleep and digestion in the body. This is why stress causes the body to lose sleep and have digestion issues. Lemongrass has a component called Eugenol, which helps the body release more serotonin and lower stress.
As an air purifier
Lemongrass essential oil reduces stress and anxiety due to its citrus scent. This scent can be used to freshen up a room as well. Mixing a few drops of the oil with water and spraying it in a room will freshen up the room for several hours. The effect of the oil lasts for a few hours when diluted. Air fresheners in the market are made with chemicals, and spraying it in a closed room can have several health risks. The lemongrass mixture has triple effects. It freshens up the ambience; it is non toxic and it calms the senses.
Dandruff is not just an irritating problem, it is an embarrassing one. Maintaining scalp health is essential for getting rid of dandruff. Adding a few drops of lemongrass oil to the hair oil and massaging it on the scalp will eliminate dandruff from the scalp within a couple of weeks. Subsequently it also improves hair health and gives it a shine. The antifungal property is the reason for getting rid of dandruff.
Treats fungal infections
How does lemongrass oil fight against fungal infections? The citral in lemongrass gives the compound its antifungal characteristics. Researchers have used the disk diffusion assay technique to conclude that the citral in lemongrass oil is responsible for its antifungal nature, especially against the Candida species. Topical application of lemongrass oil on the affected region reduces and then stops the spread of the infection.
Lemongrass essential oil can also reduce physical pain and inflammation. It is also due to the presence of the component citral. The pain from inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can also be reduced by massaging the affected area with the oil for a month. It can also be used against muscle cramps.
Too much cholesterol in the body can be fatal as it will lead to several cardiovascular diseases in the future. The level of cholesterol in the body can be lowered and maintained with the use of lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass tea can be consumed to control cholesterol. However, before cooking ensure that the lemongrass oil is suitable for ingestion.
Treats digestion problems
Lemongrass essential oil benefits the gourmet and the glutton alike. Those who love to eat can add a few drops of lemongrass oil in the food to aid digestion. Lemongrass boosts digestion, and lowers the chances of diarrhea and ulcers. And, it goes without saying that the citrus scent of the oil avoids nausea from the food. The use of lemongrass in culinary practices has been recorded since ancient times.
Used in Cosmetics
The citrus fragrance of lemongrass oil is used in several cosmetic products and perfumes. The lemon fragrance will never go out of vogue and hence lemongrass oil will always have a presence in the cosmetic world. Its effect on acne and blemishes makes it an important ingredient in face creams and face washes. Its positive impact on the scalp and dandruff removal makes it an ingredient in hair washes and shampoos.
Lemongrass essential oil benefits are countless. It can be used in cooking, it can be used as an air freshener, it can be used to tackle several health issues etc.