You might recognise this fragrant plant as a critical component in Asian cooking. But as well as adding a distinctive flavour to curries and stews, lemongrass has been used as a natural herbal essential oil for centuries. Want the lowdown on lemongrass? Keep reading…
What is lemongrass?
Fresh and zesty, lemongrass smells very similar to lemons and is actually added to many beauty and cosmetic products to create a refreshing citrus scent. The plant is native to parts of South East Asia, and its leaves have long been used in cooking and to develop fragrant herbal teas.1
You may have also heard lemongrass be called citronella. This oil (extracted from the leaves and stalks of the lemongrass plant) has many potential uses, from being a natural insect repellent to being an aromatherapy oil to calm the body and mind.2
Lemongrass’s bounty of uses mostly comes down to the fact that it’s packed with possible benefits for both your mind and your body. Among these include that it is:
Lemongrass oil has been studied for its cleansing properties. It is often applied topically after being diluted with a carrier oil.3 It may also help treat bacterial infections in the mouth (including tooth decay) when enjoyed as a tea.4
Filled with antioxidants
The leaves of lemongrass are thought to contain several types of antioxidants.5 Antioxidants are compounds which help reduce the negative effects of oxidative stress caused by free radicals.6
Is a diuretic
Lemongrass tea has long been known for being a diuretic. This means drinking it in tea form may make you want to go to the toilet more!
Lemongrass in its tea form is often used to support normal digestive health and transit.7 Some research has also shown that lemongrass oil can be effective at preventing gastric ulcers forming in the gut.8
When used as part of aromatherapy, lemongrass essential oil has the potential to evoke a sense of calm and reduce feelings of discomfort.9 Studies also show that a particular chemical in lemongrass, called eugenol, can trigger the body to release more serotonin – a chemical commonly called the “happy hormone”.10
Side effects of lemongrass
It’s best to consult your doctor prior to use if you're not sure if lemongrass is suitable for you. People who are pregnant or on diuretic medications may also want to avoid lemongrass.11
Uses of lemongrass
Lemongrass is an incredibly diverse plant with a vast number of uses! Here are just some of the ways you can make the most of this fragrant essential oil:
- Make an aromatic lemongrass tea or iced tea using fresh lemongrass stalks or ready-made tea bags.
- Use fresh lemongrass in cooking to create delicious Thai curries and soups.
- Create an uplifting atmosphere by pouring a few drops of lemongrass essential oil in a diffuser or burner.
- Create a fragrant spritz to apply to furnishings or bedding by adding ten drops of lemongrass oil to a spray bottle filled with water.
- Dilute with a carrier/base oil and add a few drops to a warm bath to create a calming atmosphere.
- Create your own massage oil by mixing a few drops of lemongrass oil with a base oil.
Last updated: 12 April 2021