Health Benefits of Lemongrass
Plants commonly called lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.) have grasslike leaves with a strong, lemony fragrance. Native to Africa and Asia, the plants are used as culinary flavoring and in perfumes, but they also have medicinal properties. Traditionally consumed as an herbal tea, lemongrass has been recommended by practitioners of traditional medicine for many different ailments. Modern research suggests that it may have significant health benefits.
Nutritionally, lemongrass is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. It also has minute traces of B vitamins.
*Helps with Insomnia
Lemongrass is beneficial for those suffering from insomnia, a cup before bedtime causes relaxation and promotes a restful night of sleep.
It is also known to relieve nausea. Drinking a cup after a large meal will take away that full feeling and will aid in digesting the food just consumed along with helping to remove unhealthy food additives, chemicals and excess fats.
Lemongrass promotes healthy digestion. It has antiseptic compounds that effectively kill bad bacteria and parasites in the digestive tract and repopulate the good bacteria in the colon. This in turn helps treat digestive health problems like indigestion, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, stomach spasms, vomiting and cramps. Plus, lemongrass has antimicrobial properties that help relieve gastroenteritis. It also aids in the relief of constipation, keeping the bowels working properly and removing toxins to keep the body healthy and energetic.
For a healthy digestive tract, drink lemongrass tea on regular basis. Lemongrass tea, however, is not recommended for small children and pregnant or lactating women.
*Controls Cholesterol Levels
The anti-cholesterol and anti-atherosclerosis action of lemongrass helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine which in turn helps prevent artherosclerotic plaque build-up.
*Regulates Blood Pressure
The high potassium content in lemongrass also helps lower and regulate blood pressure.
Acting as a natural diuretic it is known to keep the kidneys and bladder working properly.
*Cleanses and Detoxifies
Lemongrass helps cleanse and detoxify the body. The diuretic nature of lemongrass helps remove toxins, uric acid and bad cholesterol from the body by increasing the frequency and quantity of urination. Urination also helps clean out the kidneys.
*Anti-Microbial and Anti-Fungal
The chief chemical component in lemongrass herb is citral or lemonal, an aldehyde responsible for its unique lemon odour. Citral also has strong anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Additionally, its herb parts also carry other essential oils such as myrcene, citronellol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate, nerol, etc. These compounds are known to have counter-irritant, rubefacient, insecticidal, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.
A study published in the January 2012 issue of "Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice" found that an oil extract from lemongrass inhibited growth of streptococcus bacteria in the laboratory, while research in the March 2009 issue of "Phytomedicine" studied the effectiveness of a lemongrass infusion in human subjects with human immunodeficiency virus who had an oral fungal infection called thrush. Researchers found that an oral rinse administered three times daily was more effective than gentian violet, an anti-fungal medication. Larger studies are needed to confirm this benefit, however.
*Heals Colds and Flu
Lemongrass has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help the body cope with coughs, fever and other cold and flu symptoms. Plus, it is loaded with vitamin C that boosts the immune system to fight the infection. Lemongrass oil helps alleviate pain in muscles and joints, as well as headaches resulting from a cold or the flu. Lemongrass can be effective in breaking down mucus and phlegm build-up, which can alleviate problems with breathing. This is mainly beneficial when suffering from bronchitis or asthma.
Some research has shown that lemongrass tea can help fight cancer. The component called citral found in lemongrass causes cell death or apoptosis in cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. Simply put, it causes the cancer cells to commit suicide.
Another study published in 2009 in the journal Fundamentals of Clinical Pharmacology found that citral in lemongrass slows the growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory. Several antioxidant compounds in lemongrass help lower risk of cancer by protecting the cells from damage by free radicals. Citral acts by activating an enzyme, glutathione S-transferase, that detoxifies free radicals and helps the body rid itself of them, but these laboratory results still need confirmation in trials with human subjects.
*Beneficial to the Heart
Lemongrass can help to dilate and relax the walls of the body’s blood vessels. This may decrease the risk of hypertension as well as other related cardiovascular diseases.Lemongrass has been used to treat both diabetes and heart disease in traditional medicine.
*Reduces Arthritis Pain
Lemongrass has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It helps with the relief from arthritis, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, gout and other types of joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties help suppress the activity of cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme involved in inflammation that causes pain, especially in joints. Lemongrass helps to alleviate muscle spasms or sprains by relaxing the muscles, which in turn reduces the pain-related symptoms.
The antidepressant properties of lemongrass help treat depression. The herb also activates the release of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that combats depression. Lemongrass relieves anxiety, boosts self-esteem, uplifts spirits, gives confidence and improves mental strength. Lemongrass also contains citronella, which is well known for its calming effect on the mind and body. It also helps you to sleep better.
*Reduces Body Odour
Lemongrass oil in a diluted form works as an effective deodourant. In fact, beauty experts find lemongrass oil more effective than many of the synthetic deodourants available in the market. This is due to the antimicrobial properties of citral which inhibits the growth of microorganisms that cause body odour.
*Beneficial for the Skin
Lemongrass can help alleviate various skin issues, from large pores to fungal infections. Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, lemongrass helps limit bacterial or microbial growth on the skin. It acts as an astringent, helps minimize pores, limits the secretions of oil and makes the skin firm.