Properties of Lemon Grass

Overview

Lemon grass is a lemon-scented herb that that is a tall, grassy plant. Native to India, it is widely used to add flavor to Thai food and other Asian cuisine. However, lemon grass also has a variety of health-related properties that can prove extremely beneficial.

Flavor

Lemon grass adds a light, lemony flavor to foods and sauces. Commonly used in Asian curries and soups, it blends well with garlic, chili, and other spicy ingredients. Its citrus taste mitigates the spiciness, as well as the richness, of many Asian dishes.

Antibacterial

Lemon grass has antimicrobial properties that make it an effective treatment for bacterial and fungal infections. It can be used to clean wounds and treat skin diseases such as ringworm, and to prevent food poisoning, staph infections, and other infections of the colon, stomach, and urinary tract. Lemon grass can also combat diseases such as typhoid and malaria.

Aromatherapy

The scent of lemon grass oil acts as a relaxant and pain reliever. It is often used in aromatherapy treatments and is known to help reduce headaches and irritability and to fight drowsiness. Lemon grass oil is commonly added to soaps, perfumes, sachets and other scented products. The scent of lemon grass also acts as an insect repellent and is an ingredient in citronella candles and products.

Astringent

The astringent properties of lemon grass make it effective in decreasing oil production. It can be added to hair shampoos and conditioners to combat oily hair, or used on the skin to fight acne. Lemon grass also deters the growth of mold.

Detoxifier

Lemon grass helps to cleanse the digestive and circulatory systems by removing excess cholesterol, uric acid, fats, and toxins from the body. This promotes digestion, eases the symptoms of gastroenteritis, and provides relief from gas. It also stimulates blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.

Analgesic

Lemon grass reduces inflammation, making it an effective treatment for pain associated with rheumatism, indigestion and nervous disorders. It also helps to prevent headaches, toothaches, and muscle and joint pain.

Keywords: lemon grass, herbs, aromatherapy

About this Author

Kristen L. Depken is an editor for a large children's book publisher in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from The College of New Jersey and currently maintains the Upper East Side Scene blog on uppereast.com. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, and explore Manhattan.