Lemon grass is an herb with a distinct citrusy flavor and aroma. Its scientific name is Cymbopogon citratus and it belongs to the grass family of Poaceae. It is a tall, perennial grass native to India and tropical regions of Asia and is alternatively known as Cymbopogon, barbed wire grass, or even fever grass.
In addition to its culinary usage, this herb offers an array of medicinal benefits and is in extensive demand due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties across Southeast Asia, Africa and America.
The strong, refreshing flavor of lemon grass is enough reason to try it out in teas and cocktails. But it’s even better to know how good it is for your health! Here are some of the health benefits of lemongrass you should know.
1) Helps Lower Cholesterol
Research published in 2011 in food and chemical toxication journal revealed that the essential oils in lemongrass possess anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels.
One animal study has also shown that lemon grass may assist in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing LDL or bad cholesterol.
This may help in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promoting an unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries, thereby preventing various cardiac disorders such asatherosclerosis.
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2) Detoxifies the Body
According to a 2003 animal study, lemongrass may help in cleansing and flushing harmful toxic wastes from the body, as a result of its diuretic properties.
Detoxification helps in the regulation of various organs of the body, including the liver and kidneys, while also helping to lower the levels of uric acid.
The diuretic effect of the herb helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination, which helps in maintaining digestive health and detoxifying the body.
3) Anticancer Potential
Lemon grass may be effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells of the body. Research conducted to assess the anticancer activity of lemon grass has shown promising outcomes in the prevention of skin cancer. This is mainly because of the presence of a chemical compound called citral.
Research conducted on the effects of citral on cancer cells shows its efficacy in inhibiting the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phase and prevents further growth of cancerous cells.
Another study provides supporting evidence regarding the anti-proliferative effect of citral in impeding the growth of human breast cancer cells and the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death).
4) Fights Staphylococcus Aureus
Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology has shown that lemongrass essential oil has an anti-biofilm capacity and is beneficial against the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus. It contains phenols and essential oil, which may disrupt the growth of infections and germs and help inhibit the formation of biofilms.
5) Stomach Disorders
Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help in fighting the infections caused by pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli.
It is beneficial in reducing inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders; it may be helpful to consume to improve digestion and if you suffer from gastric ulcers, constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach ache.
6) Relieves Insomnia
Lemon grass tea is considered to be helpful in calming muscles and nerves that may aid in promoting sleep. Research has shown that lemon grass tea has sedative properties, which can help in increasing the duration of sleep.
7) Respiratory Disorders
Lemon grass is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its healing effect in treating cough and cold. Along with other beneficial components, vitamin C in it may help in providing relief from nasal blockages, flu, and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.
8) Lemon Grass Reduces Fever
Lemon grass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’ due to its beneficial effects in lowering fever. The antipyretic and diaphoretic effect is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing fever by inducing sweating.
9) Lemon Grass helps Treat Infections
Lemon grass works as an antiseptic and is effective in treating infections such as ringworm, sores, Athlete’s Foot, scabies, and urinary tract infections (UTI) because of its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. Studies have shown that the herb exerts healing effects on dermatological infections, such as yeast infection, by inhibiting the growth of pathogens.
Another study provides supporting evidence that demonstrated the efficacy of lemongrass over thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood oil in the treatment of various diseases such as oral or vaginal candidiasis.
10) Reduces Aches
Lemon grass and several lemongrass derivatives such as oil are known to be effective against headaches and body aches. A 2018 study suggests that not only is lemongrass oil effective against muscle pain and body ache of various kinds, it is also an alternative with lesser side effects as opposed to synthetic drugs. Another study also notes the effective use of lemon grass essential oil against rheumatism, muscle spasms, and cramps.