Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) is a perennial plant grows mainly in tropical and subtropical places. The plant is called as lemongrass because of the lemon-like odor present is the essential oil of the stem and leave.
Lemongrass oil is very popular in some culture for culinary uses and medicinal purpose. The main essential oil present in lemongrass are citral, myrcene, geranial, and neral.
Medicinal properties of essential oils in lemon grass
Lemongrass has 70 to 80 % citral content which is water-insoluble, pale yellow liquid with lemon like odor (1). Medicinal properties include sedative, antiviral and antibacterial effects (2). In the Israeli research, citral, at a concentration comparable to that found in a cup of tea brewed with 1 gram of lemongrass, was found to induce apoptosis in cancer cells (3). Other uses of citral are in perfume industries and as a food flavoring agent.
In Short: Antiviral, Antibacterial, Anticancer, Sedative, Perfume and food flavoring.
It is also an important essential oil extracted from lemongrass. The main property of geranial is its ability to repel insects, therefore this compound is used extensively in making insect repellent (7).
Myrcene is a type of secondary metabolite (terpene) present in lemongrass. It possesses medicinal properties like antibacterial and analgesic (4), Prevents gout (5). Sedative, anticancer, anti-inflammatory (6).
Another essential oil extracted from lemongrass is neral. Its property is almost the same that of citral but with sweet and less concentrated odor. Neral is also known as citral B. Medicinal property includes antimicrobial, menstrual problem, stomach problem, nervous disorder, arthritis and fever (8).
Health benefits of Lemongrass oil
In above we go through the detail benefits of individual essential oils present in the lemongrass oil. Now we will go through the general health benefits of lemongrass oil. Lemongrass oil is helpful in various ways from cosmetics to insecticide to health benefits.
1. Cosmetic and massage oil
Lemongrass oil is used in perfumes, soaps, deodorants, and lotions due to its sweet and distinct smell.
2. Antifungal and antibacterial oil
Lemongrass due to its antifungal and antibacterial property can help in healing or inhibiting bacterial and fungal infections of the body. Citral present in the oil applied helps in keeping the skin healthy from infections like candida and other common fungal diseases (9).
Due to its various medicinal properties like a sedative, stress buster relaxes the muscles and reduce hypertension this oil is also used as a massage oil. Sometimes lemongrass oil blended with other oil like almond oil to accentuate its property as a massage oil.
4. Applied during fever
Applying lemongrass oil during fever helps in lowering the temperature down. Therefore in Jamaica lemongrass is also known as fever grass (10).
5. Improve digestion
Lemongrass oil diluted when taken helps in improvement of the digestive system by reducing digestive disorders and helps to recover the stomach and increases its capacity of digestion. Taking lemongrass oil helps in recovering of the upset stomach and adds to proper gas and bowel movement.
6. Prevents hair fall
Applying lemongrass oil helps in reducing hair fall. Applying dilute lemongrass oil and then rinsing the oil with a good shampoo helps in strengthening the hair follicle and keep the scalp free from bacteria and other fungal infections.
7. Reduce cholesterol level
Taking lemongrass oil capsules helps in reduction of cholesterol level within one month. increases the metabolism of the body by improving the digestive system and blood circulation (11).
8. Effective against cold
Lemongrass oil when used with a vaporizer helps in relieving from a cough and cold.
9. Reduce acne problem
Lemongrass oil has astringent property. Therefore, applying lemongrass diluted on the skin helps in opening the pores and removing the oil present in the skin.
10. Anti-inflammatory activity
Research (12) done on mice shows the anti-inflammatory property of lemongrass oil. Therefore using lemongrass oil orally or externally helps against inflammation which may further cause other chronic diseases related to heart, allergy, and asthma.
FAQs on lemongrass oil
1. What are the main chemical components of lemongrass leave
Answer: main chemical composition of lemongrass are citral, geranial (citral-a), neral (citral-b) and myrcene. Citral is the main component of lemongrass.
2. Is lemongrass edible
Answer: Yes it is eatable either directly by chewing or we can prepare lemongrass tea by simply boiling the leaves in water.
3. What are the lemongrass oil health benefits?
Answer. Effective in fever, indigestion, cough and cold and menstrual cramps.
4. How can you propagate lemongrass?
Answer. Propagation of lemongrass is very easy, dip the stalk of the lemongrass in water for at least 3 weeks. Plant the lemongrass with new root and leaves in the pot or in the garden. Good porous soil should be selected for planting. Regular watering is necessary.
- Blanco, M. M., Costa, C. A. R. A., Freire, A. O., Santos Jr., J. G. and Costa, M., 2009. Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice. Phytomedicine 16: 265–270.