Lemongrass comes from the genus Cymbopogon and the family Poaceae (or Gramineae). For those of us who go cross eyed just looking at Latin names, that means "grass" plants. :-)
The species name will depend on where the plant originated from, so you get mouthfuls such as Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon pendulus and Cymbopogon schoenanthus. You'll also find other essential oils in the same grass family like Palmarosa, Gingergrass, Kachi Grass and some types of Citronella.
The entire plant is useful when it comes to cooking, fragrance and flavouring (lemongrass tea anyone?) and even roof thatching! The essential oil is usually obtained from the leaves, which have a strong, fresh and lemony fragrance when you crush them.
Lemongrass has been studied widely to determine its properties as an antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, galactagogue, antifungal, febrifuge, sedative, deodorant, and analgesic, to name just a few benefits! Run a quick search on PubMed and you'll find 476 entries - happy reading!
You've probably already got a bottle of Lemongrass Essential Oil on your shelf - it smells fresh, uplifting and oh so clean! Other than adding a few drops to your diffuser or maybe your DIY cleaning products and air fresheners, you've probably not thought about any other uses it might have though. Am I right? Well, let me enlighten you!
Don't forget to add lemongrass to your insect repellents - whether you are diffusing, rolling or spraying! It can also be helpful in soothing the itch after you've been bitten or stung. Grow some lemongrass in your garden and it will help to deter mosquitoes from around them, plus give you the entire plant to use for making lemongrass tea and in your Thai cooking!
Lemongrass has been classified as Generally Recognised as Safe (GRAS) by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means you can take it internally at very low doses. However, we would recommend that you use a totally pure, therapeutic grade oil of the highest quality, and be under the guidance of a clinical aromatherapist who will be able to take your underlying health conditions into account. Ingestion is not recommended for pregnant women or diabetics.
It can also cause skin irritation, particularly for those people who have sensitivities to fragrances or citral (one of the compounds of lemongrass). It should not be used topically on children under 2 years of age, or on damaged or diseased skin. Dilution is recommended to avoid skin sensitisation.
Certain medications can be affected by Lemongrass, either when taken internally or used externally. The list includes some anticonvulsants, antidepressants, analgesics and estrogen or nicotine patches. Please consult with your health care professional before use.
We'd love to hear about your favourite uses for Lemongrass Essential Oil so please leave us a comment below!
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