Lemongrass essential oil: Components and Health benefits

Lemongrass essential oil

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) is a perennial plant that grows mainly in tropical and subtropical places. The plant is called lemongrass because of the lemon-like odor present in the essential oil of the stem and leave.

Lemongrass oil is very popular in some cultures for culinary uses and medicinal purposes. The main essential oil present in lemongrass are citral, myrcene, geranial, and neral.

Medicinal properties of essential oils in lemongrass

1. Citral

Lemongrass has 70 to 80 % citral content which is a water-insoluble, pale yellow liquid with a 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.

2. Geranial

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).

3. Myrcene

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).

4. Neral

Another essential oil extracted from lemongrass is neral. Its property is almost the same as that of citral but with a sweet and less concentrated odor. Neral is also known as citral B. Medicinal property includes the antimicrobial, menstrual problem, stomach problem, nervous disorder, arthritis, and fever (8).

Health benefits of Lemongrass oil

In the above, we go through the detailed benefits of individual essential oils present in 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).

3. Aromatherapy

Due to its various medicinal properties like a sedative, stress buster relaxes the muscles and reduces hypertension this oil is also used as a massage oil. Sometimes lemongrass oil is 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 the improvement of the digestive system by reducing digestive disorders and helping to recover the stomach and increasing its capacity of digestion. Taking lemongrass oil helps in recovering the upset stomach and adds to proper gas and bowel movement.

6. Prevents hair fall

Applying lemongrass oil helps in reducing hair fall. Applying diluted lemongrass oil and then rinsing the oil with a good shampoo helps in strengthening the hair follicle and keeping the scalp free from bacteria and other fungal infections.

7. Reduce cholesterol level

Taking lemongrass oil capsules helps in the reduction of cholesterol levels 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 cough and cold.

9. Reduce acne problem

Lemongrass oil has astringent properties. 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 compositions 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 roots and leaves in the pot or in the garden. Porous soil is good for planting. Regular watering is necessary.

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