Lemongrass is named such but has no connection with lemons except that it has a strong lemon-like aroma and taste.
It is a tropical herb that grows as a long, thin-bladed, green grass in a bush with scallion-like base, and used widely in Asian cooking.
As with all grasses, lemongrass is very fibrous and cannot be eaten as it is. You can juice it using a masticating juicer, or make tea of it. It has tremendous health benefits that are especially helpful when consumed during a juice fast/feast or when on a detox program as it helps rebalance the intestinal flora.
Do not let this humble grass deceive you. It is packed with so much goodness that it can help improve so many chronic conditions. Nutrition-wise, it is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese; with minute traces of the B vitamins
From the leaves and stems, citronella oil is obtained for making insect repellent, soap, perfumery and flavorings.
Lemongrass has long been widely used in Asian countries for its medicinal properties and also in culinary.
What makes it so effective in many medical condition is that it has certain anti-septic compounds that effectively kill the harmful micro-organisms (bacteria, yeast, fungal, parasites, etc.) in the digestive tract, YET preserving the beneficial bacteria.
For a healthy digestive tract, lemongrass is made into therapeutic tea that is drunk regularly to see its efficacy:
Anemia: Thanks to its high content in iron, which is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin (the protein in red cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body) lemongrass is helpful for various types of anemia, especially those resulting from iron deficiency.
Anti-cancer: A study was done to show that lemongrass contains citral, an anti-cancer property that could cause cancer cells to die, yet preserves the healthy tissues. However, this does not mean that drinking lemongrass juice/tea alone will heal your cancer; it helps.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-septic: Due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, lemongrass juice can be used as a valuable aid for treating arthritis, gout and inflammation of the urinary tract.
Bacterial or fungal infection: Thanks to its anti-septic properties, drinking lemongrass tea for a season helps to eliminate the bad micro-organism, detoxify and purify the blood, keeping bacterial, fungal or yeast infections in check. Read how to make lemongrass-ginger tea for this purpose.
Balsamic action: Due to its content in volatile oils, lemongrass has a beneficial, balsamic action on the respiratory tract. So it can be used to relieve the symptoms associated with flu, cold and hay fever.
Detoxifying: The anti-oxidant, anti-septic and diuretic effect of lemongrass make it an important ingredient to be included in the diet when detoxifying. It helps to cleanse and purify the liver, kidneys, bladder, pancreas and increases blood circulation. The diuretic effect helps carry out the toxins from the process to be eliminated effectively.
Diabetes: The purifying and cleansing effect of lemongrass tea help to cleanse/detoxify the pancreas and improve its functions, thus lowering blood sugar level in diabetics.
Digestive health: Lemongrass helps regulate intestinal function and motility due to its anti-microbial properties. It helps to kill bad bacteria and parasites, repopulate the good bacteria in the colon, thus assisting to improve digestive-related problems like: indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal bloating, flatulence, stomach spasms, vomiting and cramps.
Gastritis or Heartburn: A warm glass of lemongrass tea can be very soothing when having gastritis or acid indigestion. Drinking the tea therapeutically will gradually reduce the recurrence of both gastritis and heartburn.
High blood pressure: The high potassium content promotes diuresis, thereby helping to lower and regulate blood pressure. Regularly drinking lemongrass tea is encouraged.
High cholesterol: Lemongrass has an anti-cholesterol and anti-atherosclerosis action. It helps reduce both the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, as well as the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, thus preventing one of the first steps in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
Insomnia: Insomnia happens due to internal chemical imbalance or nervous disorders. The purifying activities and calming effect of lemongrass help improve sleep.
Nervous system: Magnesium, phosphorous and folate are important nutrients needed for healthy functioning of the nervous system. They help improve concentration, memory and the brain’s ability to process information.
Purifying action: Perhaps the most characteristic action of lemongrass is its purifying effect on the whole body, since it helps eliminate toxins from the body by enhancing the cleansing of the colon.
Skin health: When blood is purified, circulation is improved, skin health will follow suit. Regularly drinking lemongrass tea helps to improve acne problem, eczema and psoriasis.
Weight loss: Drinking lemongrass tea helps to melt fats in a detoxifying manner. The diuretic effect helps carry out the wastes in high volume, effectively and quickly, resulting in weight loss.
Lemongrass is used widely in Asian cooking. It is usually crushed or pound to release its nice lemony aroma that adds fragrant to foods. It can be used to prepare soups, broths, curries, sauces, tea, as well as cut into thin slices and added to a variety of salads.
The leaves, stem and bulb of lemongrass can be used for their various health benefits. To benefit most from it, make and drink lemongrass tea, as the essential oils and phytonutrients are leaked into the boiling water that is the tea.
Phytonutrients do not get destroyed by heat.
Lemongrass juice can be very potent to be taken on its own. Best to make tea out of it for easier consumption and for maximum benefits. Do not consume, however, if you’re on any medication as it may interfere with the drugs you’re taking.