Considered as one of the most versatile herbs, lemongrass has been used for cooking for hundreds of years. There have been reports of this herb being distilled and used for export in the Philippines as early as the 1700s. It is also widely used in many Asian cuisines as a culinary herb, and as a medicinal herb in places like East India and Sri Lanka. What makes this plant very popular is that it is easily grown and is mostly drought resistant. Carrying the genus name Cymbopogon, lemongrass actually has about 55 species, with Cymbopogon Citratus and Cymbopogon Nardus (citronella) being two of the most well known. Today, it is widely used not only for its value in the kitchen but also for the many health benefits of its essential oil.
How Is Lemongrass Oil Extracted?
10 Health Benefits of Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass oil is considered a tonic, which means it has strong medicinal properties that may help keep your bodily systems working in top condition. Your respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, and excretory system will all benefit from this botanical. Having said that, here are the 10 most important benefits your body can receive from lemongrass essential oil.
Treatment of Wounds
Thanks to its helping properties, lemongrass oil is perfect for treating wounds. It’s a powerful antiseptic and can prevent the growth and spread of disease-causing microorganisms when applied to a wound. It effectively promotes healing, which is why it’s commonly found as a main ingredient in many creams and lotions.
Lowers Mild Fever
Almost all types of essential oil are excellent for lowering fever. Lemongrass oil, in particular, has antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties and is great to use when you have fever. It’s widely used in homes as an analgesic, and can help reduce muscular and join pains that are usually related to viral infections such as colds and flu. In addition, you can use it to relieve headache during a fever. Simply apply a few drops to your temples before the headache gets worse. Some mommies even apply them to their children’s feet for maximum relief.
As we get older, our vision usually grows dimmer. It’s a good thing lemongrass essential oil can aid in improving the eyesight. Studies show that lemongrass can help maintain the health of the retinas. It also plays a vital role in the synthesis of rod cells responsible for keeping the eyes functioning properly in poor-lighting conditions. You can either apply lemongrass essential oil on your cheeks and the area around your eyes, or you can add a few drops into your morning tea. Never apply the oil directly into your eyes, though, as it’s going to do harm instead of good.
Eases Joint Pain
Joint pain is another problem elderly people encounter. If you are suffering from pain on your knees or ankles, mixing lemongrass essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice and then rubbing it on the affected area can do wonders. Again, lemongrass essential oil is analgesic and can reduce pain and inflammation related to joint problems. You can also mix some with geranium essential oil or birch essential oil to treat arthritis.
Treatment for Insomnia
Lemongrass essential oil has a soothing and calming effect, and is therefore a perfect aid if you’re suffering from insomnia. It’s being a sedative is no doubt one of the reasons that it’s considered a very important herbal medicine. It’s not only good for your sleeping problems, though, but can also help relieve your stress and anxiety. Simply add a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to your own massage cream and rub some on your shoulders and feet before going to bed at night. This will definitely increase the quality of your sleep.
Solution for Acne
Hundreds of brands of cosmetic products today contain lemongrass oil, and that is due to the anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties of this herb. Some makeup products even contain it as an ingredient. When used as an astringent, lemongrass essential oil can help cleanse the skin and contract the pores, protecting it against acne-causing agents.
Reduces Risk for Heart Attack
Lemongrass contains limonene that makes it an effective anti-inflammatory herb. It can help dilate and relax the walls of the blood vessels and promote healthy circulation. If you have hypertension, adding a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to your tea, or brewing your own lemongrass tea at home will surely help in lowering your blood pressure and reduce your risk for a heart attack.
Promotes Healthy Digestion
The antiseptic compounds present in lemongrass essential oil also make it a great solution to a weak digestive system. It can effectively get rid of parasites and bad bacteria in your digestive tract and help encourage the growth of good bacteria in your colon at the same time. It also has antimicrobial properties that help treat gastroenteritis. To keep your digestive system in top condition, you can either drink lemongrass tea or mix a few drops into a mug of tea or goat’s milk.
Kidney and Liver Detoxification
Lemongrass oil or tea has been used as a detoxifier in several countries. It is known to detox the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, bladder, and pancreas. Because it works as a diuretic, consuming lemongrass oil will help you to flush harmful toxins out of your body. Keep your system clean by adding lemongrass oil to your soup or tea. Make your own lemongrass tea by infusing lemongrass leaves with boiling water or adding a few drops of essential oil to your tea.
Physical and Mental Energy Booster
When you’re always feeling tired and it seems that your energy is not enough to last you a day, you might want to try some lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass is uplifting and can promote physical energy, as well as mental and emotional focus. Additionally, it can help strengthen the nervous system and can be very beneficial when you’re in need of some creativity. Aside from simply using the oil, you can also use the dried leaves to brew some tea. A few sips should be enough to wake you up when you’re feeling a bit drowsy.
Additional Health Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil
There seems to be no limit to the health benefits you can get from using lemongrass and its essential oil. It can actually be used as an insect repellant as well. When rubbed into the skin, its strong aroma can easily force mosquitoes away, lowering your risk of acquiring Dengue, or the recently discovered Zika virus. Speaking of aroma, lemongrass essential oil can also be used as a natural deodorizer and air freshener. Other health benefits of this amazing botanical include giving relief for menstrual cramps, serving as treatment for stomach distress, and even fighting cancer. A research done in Israel by the Ben Gurion University has shown that ingesting lemongrass in the form of tea can help treat cancer. Apparently, it carries a component called citral that causes apoptosis, or the falling off or death of cancer cells. A similar study published by the Fundamentals of Clinical Pharmacology in 2009 showed that citral slows down the development of breast cancer cells.
Overall, lemongrass essential oil has been found to be safe for external use and consumption, as long as it’s taken in food amount. However, doctors do not recommend pregnant and breastfeeding women to use this herb as it promotes menstrual flow and may cause a miscarriage. Therefore, whether used for combatting acne, relieving stress, or treating wounds and joint pains, lemongrass essential oil should always be used in moderation. At the same time, even though lemongrass essential oil is generally safe to use, it’s still crucial that you seek medical advice before using this botanical, just to stay on the safe side.
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