Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass is a perennial aromatic herb with a light lemon taste and scent. It is a popular Thai and Vietnamese cuisine item and is gaining popularity and a culinary herb and as an ornamental garden plant in the United States.

The plant is native to Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Lemon Grass as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

LemongrassThe medicinal parts are the dried leaves and the Lemongrass oil of Cymbopogon citratus and the citronella oil from Cymbopogon nardus. Cymbopogon species have essential oils in tube-like cells with corked walls.

As a medicinal herb, lemon grass is mildly diuretic and a stimulant tonic. The herb promotes digestion of fats and stimulates perspiration, cooling the body in summer and lowering fevers any time of year.

Lemon grass is drunk before bed to induce sleep. The infusion is also used to loosen and lessen mucous, to treat fevers, cramps, and stress.

Lemon grass oil has antibacterial properties.

Folk medicine: Externally, Lemongrass is used for lumbago, neuralgic and rheumatic pain, sprains, and as a mild astringent. Internally, the herb is used for gastrointestinal symptoms and mild states of agitation.

Indian Medicine: Lemongrass is used for intestinal parasites, stomach complaints, flatulence, leprosy, bronchitis and fever.

Lemongrass essential oil is used as a food flavoring and an ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes.

Culinary Uses of Lemon Grass

Lemon grass is an essential ingredient in Thai and Indonesian cooking.

Lemon grass is used fresh, dried and ground in curries, soups, stews and casseroles, particularly those made with chicken and seafood.

Universally used within tea blends for its flavor and aroma. In India, a special, popular herbal tea is prepared by dipping and boiling the fresh leaves of lemon grass, commonly known as Nimbughas.

Soak dried whole lemon grass for two hours in warm water before using in cooking.

Take care to store lemon grass away from other foods and spices, as they make pick up its aroma.


Medicinal application in excessive doses should be avoided while pregnant.

The application of salves with the volatile oil upon the skin has led in rare cases to signs of allergy. A toxic alveolitis was observed in 2 cases following inhalation of the volatile oil.

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