What Is Lemongrass? Know its Nutrition, Benefits & Side Effects

Lemongrass benefits
Credit: Nutrition Data/Lemongrass

Lemongrass goes by many names, such as Andropogon citratus, capim-cidrão, and British-Indian lemongrass. No matter what you call it, its amazing health benefits stay the same. Originally grown in southern India and Sri Lanka, it has been used for centuries in Asia for cooking, and its leaves and oil have been made into medication.

For many years, the lemongrass health benefits have helped in the prevention of illness. But what is lemongrass, how can it be used, and is lemongrass healthy?

Lemongrass uses are varied, but they’re mostly easy to follow and very beneficial to daily health.

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What Is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a herb that belongs to the grass family of Poaceae. Well-known and utilized for its distinct citrus aroma and lemon flavor, it is a tall, perennial grass that is native to India and tropical regions of Asia.

It is a coarse and tufted plant that grows in thick bunches on a strong base and stands about three meters in height with a meter-wide stretch. There are two different species of grass referred to as lemongrass.

West Indian lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is famously preferred for culinary use; East Indian lemongrass, or Cymbopogon flexuosus, is used in the manufacturing of various products such as fragrances because of its extended shelf life.

Lemongrass Nutrition Facts

Lemongrass nutrition chart

Credit: Nutrition Data/Lemongrass

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Lemongrass is a powerful aromatic plant that provides many essential nutrients with a wide array of health benefits. Lemongrass nutrition is as follows: one cup of raw lemongrass contains

  • 99 calories
  • Zero fat and cholesterol
  • 25 g of carbohydrates, and 1 g of protein

It is a source of essential vitamins such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin C

It also has 101 mg of phosphorus, 75 mcg of folate, 723 mg of potassium, 65 mg of calcium, and 60 mg of magnesium. Three to four stalks of lemongrass make about 1/2 a cup when chopped, which provides enough seasoning for a meat, vegetable, or fish dish to serve four people.

Since its flavor is so strong, you are not likely to eat much at one time, but even a small amount provides many essential nutrients and lemongrass health benefits.

10 Health Benefits of Lemongrass

After reading about lemongrass and seeing all of the essential nutrients that the herb has to offer, you may still be wondering: what is lemongrass good for?

1. Detoxification

Lemongrass aids in flushing out harmful toxic waste from the body as a result of its diuretic properties. Detoxification helps better regulate various organs of the body including the kidneys and liver, while also helping to lower the levels of uric acid.

The diuretic effect of lemongrass and the quantity and frequency of urination helps to maintain digestive health, eliminate accrued fats, and maintain a clean system.

Lemongrass Detox

2. Immune System

Lemongrass helps to restore vital functions including digestion, excretion, and respiration. This results in better absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune defense mechanism of the body.

3. Skin Care

Lemongrass has long been used as a skin tonic and cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities. It helps to strengthen the skin and tones pores while also sterilizing them. Care should be taken when using lemongrass as an undiluted application might lead to dermal irritation in some cases.

4. Body Odor

Lemongrass is used as an ingredient in many commercial deodorants due to its cleansing and antibacterial properties.

This helps combat unpleasant body odor and prevents fungal and bacterial infections. Lemongrass can also be added to foot baths to sanitize sore and odorous feet.

5. Cellular Health

Lemongrass has many antioxidant qualities and helps protect cells from oxygen-derived free radicals. It helps in the cleansing of blood and strengthens the spleen so it can discard any tarnished red blood cells.

Lemongrass benefits also include supporting the function of the thymus glands, which help to produce white blood cells, and stimulating regeneration of cells.

6. Nervous System

Lemongrass stimulates the mind and helps combat nervousness, vertigo, convulsions, and various other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

When used aromatically in a therapeutic bath, it can assist in calming the nerves and help with any symptoms of anxiety and fatigue caused by stress.

7. Infections

Lemongrass is effective for treating infections such as ringworm sores, athlete’s foot, scabies, and urinary tract infections because of its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. Lemongrass has shown healing effects on dermatological infections such as yeast infections.

8. Respiratory Disorders

Lemongrass is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating coughs and colds. The vitamin C content present in lemongrass helps provide relief from nasal blockages, flu, and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.

9. Insomnia

Lemongrass uses include calming the muscles and nerves, which helps induce deep sleep. Studies have shown that lemongrass tea has hypnotic and sedative properties, which can help improve the quality and duration of sleep.

10. Stomach Disorders

Lemongrass essential oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which can help reduce infections caused by various pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli.

Studies have shown it to be beneficial for the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric ulcers.

Stomach disorder

It can help stimulate bowel function and improve digestion. The anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass are beneficial for treating constipation, ulcerative colitis, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach aches.

11. Lemongrass for High Blood Pressure

Drinking lemongrass juice in the morning helps with lowering blood pressure and also boosting blood circulation. It even helps to get rid of uric acid, fats, and harmful toxins as it works as a natural diuretic to detoxify the body.

It increases the frequency of urination, which helps to flushing out bad cholesterol and some other toxins.

Are There Any Side Effects of Using Lemongrass?

With such a wide range of potential health benefits of lemongrass, it is hard to believe that there can also be some negative side effects. Although considered safe, lemongrass must be used in moderation, and if any allergic reaction should occur, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention.

Concentrated or undiluted lemongrass oil should never be applied directly on the skin as it may result in harmful reactions. Dilute with fractionated coconut oil for best results. Ingesting lemongrass in tea or food can result in allergic reactions in some people. If a reaction should occur, contact a doctor immediately.

Lemongrass is considered unsafe for pregnant women because the herb has the potential to bring on menstrual flow, which may increase the risk of miscarriage. As with any essential oil or medicinal herb, it is always advisable to keep pure lemongrass oil out of the reach of children.

There are many lemongrass uses for the improvement of health and the prevention of illness. Found all over the world, lemongrass can be purchased in supermarkets and health stores in tea, oil, and supplement form. As with any herbal supplement or essential oil, if you are currently taking medication, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist about any potential risks.


Sources:
“Health Benefits Of Lemongrass,” Organic Facts web site;
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-lemongrass.html, last accessed January 23 2017.
“The Health Benefits and Properties of Lemongrass,” SF Gate web site;
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-properties-lemongrass-3348.html, last accessed January 23 2017.