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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…
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
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
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
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
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:
Last updated: 12 April 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Mar 2019
BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science
After completing her BSc in Biomedical Science, Doaa worked in Research and laboratory for 3 years. Doaa was also a member of a product development team in a manufacturing company specialising in sun care and personal care products, researching and providing regulatory advice regarding international regulations.