There are some medicinal herbs that look remarkable and make it obvious they are special plant. However, there are some herbal plants that really just look like weeds. An example of such a plant is lemon grass and while it may not look like much when growing at the side of the road, it actually has a whole host of uses. There are many different species of lemon grass but they all belong to the grass family called Poaceae. Two species of lemon grass called Cymbopogon flexuous and Cymbogon citratus are also more popularly known as East Indian and West Indian lemon grass. It may not look like it but this herb is really an evergreen and can be found in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Myanmar just to name a few.
History of Lemon Grass
While the oldest text that mentions essential oil is from the Philippines and dates back to the 17th century, researchers believe it may have been used car earlier than that. Native tribes who did not have any writing languages in the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia would have already been using this herb way before the 17th century. However, it didn’t stay in the Southeast Asian region for long as it was introduced to Jamaica in 1799 and was then brought over to the USA and Haiti in 1917 however it wasn’t until 1947 that commercial cultivation of this herb was started in Florida. This plant was also introduced to Sri Lanka but people aren’t really clear as to who brought it over to the country. Some reports say it was a researcher called J.F. Jovit who acquired “Kochin Sera” plants and transplanted them to the Bandarawela farm to be used for research.
Properties and Chemical Constituents
Its essential oil is used for aromatherapy and it is derived from the stalk and the leaves. It contains analgesic and deodorant qualities along with antibacterial and aromatic agents. It is quite effective as an astringent and digestive. It can even be used as an insect repellent and a skin tonic. Studies have shown that it contains cintronellol, dipentene, geraniol, and limonene among other potent chemicals.
Uses and Benefits
To use for sprains and other body pains, lemon grass oil is mixed with other carrier oils to make a sort of liniment. People who suffer from rheumatism and joint pains may also benefit from using lemon grass liniment. Those people who suffer from jetlag, migraines, and anxiety disorders may put a few drops of lemon grass oil and jasmine oil in their bath as this is a very relaxing and can really revitalize the body. Indian ayurvedic medicine makes use of lemon grass to help with infectious diseases while TCM looks to this oil as the answer to rheumatism and catarrh.
Lemon grass oil must never be taken internally as it can poison the system. However, the actual lemon grass may be used in teas and even in cooking dishes.
Pure oil may cause rashes to the skin so always dilute with carrier oils. Keep lemon-grass insect repellents out of children’s reach as it may cause stomach poisoning.