Cymbopogon (lemongrass) is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, (of which the type species is Cymbopogon citratus [a natural and soft tea Anxiolytic]) native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass,cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa or gavati chaha amongst many others.

lemongrass

Growing Lemongrass

Home gardeners don’t typically start lemongrass plants from seed because it is so easy to start by just rooting stalks or cuttings.

Actually, you may even be able to start a new lemongrass plant from fresh stalks you purchase at the regular grocery store. As long as they are still firm and green, you should be able to get them to root. Snip off an inch or two from the end of the leaves, and put the base end in a glass of water. Leave somewhere sunny, and you should start to see roots sprouting from the bottom of the stalk in about a week or two.

Once your stalk has roots at least an inch long, you can either plant it in a container for indoor growing or take it right out into the garden.

Keep your lemongrass plants at least 3 feet apart, and allow for a height of 6 feet (though you can trim it lower than that).

When you dig the holes for the plants, mix in a some compost or well-aged manure to help enrich the soil. The soil shouldn’t be too thick though, the water still has to drain to keep your plants healthy.

You should plant your stalks outside after your last frost date, if you live in an area that gets winter frosts (such as zone 9).

Growing Instructions

Lemongrass will need a lot of nitrogen, so you should fertilize at least monthly with either a standard or high-nitrogen formula. Water your plant regularly and don’t let it completely dry out, especially when the weather is very hot.

Once your plant gets to 3 feet or so in height, you may want to keep the tops of the leaves cut down even more than what you are taking for an actual harvest. This can help keep the size of the plant down. Lemongrass doesn’t grow branches so no other pruning is necessary.

Uses

Lemongrass is native to India and tropical Asia. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh.

Lemongrass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico.

Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has anti-fungal properties.

Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly utilized as a “lure” to attract honey bees. “Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee’s nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this lemon grass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees”.

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grows to about 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) and has red base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent in insect sprays and candles, and also in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan Island, Indonesia. Therefore it’s assumed that its origin is from Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, in tea and as a flavoring.

Lemon Grass Oil, used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts found in India as a preservative. It is used at the Oriental Research Institute Mysore, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage in Kerala and many other manuscript collections in India. The lemon grass oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so that the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

East-Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin Grass or Malabar Grass is native to Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Burma,and Thailand while the West-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime Southeast Asia. It is known as serai in Malaysia, serai or sereh in Indonesia, and tanglad in the Philippines. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suited for cooking. In India C. citratus is used both as a medical herb and in perfumes. Cymbopogon citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine, but a study in humans found no effect. The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case.

Lemon grass is also known as Gavati Chaha in the Marathi language and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations like ‘kadha,’ which is a traditional herbal ‘soup’ used against coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Part used

- leaves, steam distilled without pressure

Therapeutic Properties

- Anti-Inflammatory
- Anti-infectious
- Antifungal
- Calming
- Spasmolytic

Aromatherapy uses

Florame organic aromatherapy’s organic lemongrass essential oil can be used in both air diffusion and in massage. When used in air diffusion the scent has a citral (lemony) and violet perfume making it a very popular essential oil amongst perfume makers. When diffused lemongrass organic essential oil helps to relieve stress and creates a sense of wellbeing. Lemongrass organic essential oil also acts as a mosquito repellent when used in air diffusion. When used in massage lemongrass organic essential oil can help to relieve the symptoms of mycosis fungoides. To help treat this condition, blend two drops of lemongrass with 5 drops of tea tree organic essential oil and five drops of palmarosa organic essential oil and dilute in 10ml of hazelnut organic oil. Massage the affected area twice daily until a difference in the skin is noted. Lemongrass essential oil also has strong anti-spasmodic properties when used in massage and help to relieve tension in muscles and joints but must be diluted to at least 5%.

Blends well with Bergamot organic essential oil, bourbon geranium organic essential oil, fine lavender organic essential oil, myrrh essential oil, cineol rosemary organic essential oil, niaouli essential oil, patchouli organic essential oil, jasmine essential oil, ylang-ylang extra essential oil, palmarosa organic essential oil, tea tree organic essential oil

Safety

Keep out of reach of children.

Avoid contact with eyes.

Do not apply undiluted to the skin.

Pregnant women should seek medical advice before use.

The Benefits of Lemongrass Extract

Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is a tall, aromatic perennial grass native to tropical Asia. The freshly cut and dried leaves of the plant have been used traditionally as a flavoring agent. The volatile oils of the plants contain a chemical called citral, which gives it medicinal value. Lemongrass supplements are available as capsules, powders, liquid extracts and oils. The individual recommended dose varies depending on your age and overall health. Talk to a doctor before using lemongrass extract for medicinal purposes.

Cancer

Lemongrass extracts can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in some cancer cell lines, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. However, these benefits have not been studied in actual patients and more research is needed before lemongrass extracts can be used in cancer treatment, says MSKCC. An animal study published in the journal “Carcinogenesis” also points out that lemongrass extracts can prevent DNA changes and thereby lower the risk of colon cancer in laboratory animals.

Antioxidant Activity

A 2005 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” revealed that lemongrass extracts exhibit significant antioxidant activity and neutralize the unstable free radicals formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body. Unstable free radicals interact with the DNA and proteins of the cells in your body and can contribute to chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Infection

Lemongrass extracts also inhibit the growth of candida or yeast in the laboratory, according to an article in the February 2008 issue of the “Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases.” Although the study indicates that lemongrass may potentially treat fungal infections, actual clinical trials are needed to prove these benefits conclusively.

Heart Disease

A study published in the December 2002 issue of the “Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reveals that polyphenols of lemongrass extract help relax the walls of the blood vessels and dilate them. This may, in turn, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases associated with it.

Anxiety

The essential oils of lemongrass also exhibit significant anti-anxiety activity by regulating certain neuroreceptors in the brain, as per a study in the September 2011 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” These results were demonstrated in laboratory animals; consult a doctor before using lemongrass extracts to treat anxiety.

Source: www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/lemongrass/

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