Lemongrass is a perennial grass native to India, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. The light lemon flavor of this grass blends well with garlic, chilies, and cilantro. The herb is frequently used in curries as well as in seafood soups. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico.
Do not let this humble grass deceive you. It is packed with so much goodness that it can help improve so many chronic conditions. Nutrition-wise, it is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese; with minute traces of the B vitamins.
Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties. A related plant, Cymbopogon nardus, is the ingredient in citronella candles sold to ward off mosquitoes and other insects.
Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly used as a "lure" to attract honey bees. "Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's Nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees."
This grass is rich in a substance called citral, the active ingredient in lemon peel. This substance is said to aid in digestion as well as relieve spasms, muscle cramps, rheumatism and headaches. Lemongrass can also be used for treating stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.
Some people apply lemongrass and its essential oil directly to the skin for headache, stomachache, abdominal pain, and muscle pain. By inhalation, the essential oil of lemongrass is used as aromatherapy for muscle pain.
In food and beverages, lemongrass is used as a flavoring. For example, lemongrass leaves are commonly used as “lemon” flavoring in herbal teas. In manufacturing, lemongrass is used as a fragrance in soaps, perfumes and candles. Lemongrass is also used in making vitamin A and natural citral.
Lemongrass might help prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain, reduce fever, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and have antioxidant properties.
Lemongrass is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food amounts.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take lemongrass by mouth during pregnancy. Lemongrass seems to be able to start menstrual flow, so there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking lemongrass if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
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