Whether for flavoring broths and meats during your summer cookout, improving your mood and sleep, treating wounds from your recent hiking trip, or repelling bugs at your bonfire, this herb of the month is a summertime all-star!
Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, favors tropical climates and is native to Africa, Asia, and Australia although it is now grown and produced worldwide. It is a part of the grass family, and is recognizable for its memorable and potent scent! For thousands of years, this grass has been used medicinally and for culinary purposes as it has a delicious and unique flavor that compliments many traditional Asian and African dishes. The flavor is bright, citrusy and zingy. Aside from its tasty culinary use, Lemongrass is a diaphoretic and has been traditionally used to treat fevers, gaining its nickname of “fever grass”. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans also used lemongrass to create makeup and medicines.
Lemongrass is a nervine and has been long used to support the nervous system by reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety and lowering the levels of stress hormones. Lemongrass calmly helps to soothe the mind, support memory and clear thinking, and promote a good night of rest. Did you know that lemongrass also helps with the release of serotonin? Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that does everything from stabilizing your mood, libido, and stress response, to regulating sleep and digestion. Lemongrass also contains citral, a compound that increases nutrient absorption and metabolism in the digestive tract. Lemongrass may also help to protect the stomach lining and prevent pathogens from overtaking the gastrointestinal system due to the plant’s incredible anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial effects.
Today, lemongrass is most commonly used in its essential oil form, after research and production spread worldwide during the mid-1900s, although some accounts state that the production of lemongrass essential oil first began in the Philippines during the 17th century. Most individuals are familiar with lemongrass essential oil, as it is commonly used in natural bug repellants. The strong, lemony, zingy scent tends to ward off those pesky critters. Consider planting lemongrass in your garden, or bringing some essential oil with you on your next hike! The essential oil in lemongrass is exceptionally versatile and packed full of medicine! It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-microbial, and antioxidant. This makes lemongrass essential oil an ideal medicine to use for treating skin and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot or candida overgrowth. Because lemongrass is also antiseptic, it is useful in preventing wound infections. All the while, this potent oil reduces acne and cellulite's appearance, and may help prevent hair loss.
Lemongrass is ruled by Mercury, the planet of communication, and the element of air. Energetically, lemongrass fosters clear communication, openness, and clears our path of darkness and obstacles.
“Benefits of Lemongrass Oil – History, Usage, Benefits and More.” Benefits of Lemongrass Oil – History, Usage, Benefits and More, www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/products/all-about-lemongrass-oil.html. Accessed 21 June 2023.
“The Benefits, Uses, and History of Lemongrass & Lemongrass Oil.” Saje US, 22 June 2022, www.saje.com/ingredient-garden-lemongrass.html.“Lemongrass Benefits.” Indigo Herbs: Empowering Optimum Health Nutrition , 7 Aug. 2020, www.indigo-herbs.co.uk/natural-health-guide/benefits/lemongrass.