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Looking for one herb that will help boost your health in a variety of ways? Although you may just think of it as an extra ingredient in your favorite Asian dish, there’s far more to lemongrass than a delicious flavor.
Lemongrass comes with an impressively long and diverse list of health benefits. From improved digestion and heart health to soothed skin and boosted mood, there’s hardly a part of the body that isn’t helped by this herb!
What is Lemongrass
Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is a plant found in tropical regions throughout the world. It has long grassy stalks that can grow quite tall – up to six feet in some cases!
The lemongrass herb has long been used in traditional medicines around the world – including India, Brazil, and Cuba.
But the benefits aren’t only medicinal – lemongrass is downright tasty, too! The plant is a common ingredient in a variety of Asian dishes. It is often used in Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian cuisines, to name a few.
How to Use Lemongrass
Lemongrass uses are diverse – you can decide how to fit the herb into your routine to take advantage of the amazing health benefits.
The plant has a nice, citrus flavor that can be used to season meats, veggies, and sauces of all sort. You can simmer the stalk in water to soften the hard exterior before use. The leaves can also be dried and used to flavor soups.
Dried lemongrass leaves can also be used to make beverages. And lemongrass tea benefits go beyond the health effects you’ll read about soon – it’s tasty, too!
Want to know how to make lemongrass tea? Just steep a tablespoon of the dried herb in boiling water. Add honey or another sweetener to taste, if you like. You can drink the tea warm, or allow it to cool and pour the beverage over ice.
An oil made from lemongrass may be used for aromatherapy purposes or applied to the skin. Just make sure to use diluted oil for direct skin application!
The Benefits of Lemongrass
The traditional uses for lemongrass have included a variety of conditions and ailments. And now, modern research is backing up the health benefits of lemongrass.
Thanks in part to the herb’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, plus the fact that it contains high amounts of vitamin A, the benefits of lemongrass are wide-ranging and impressive. Let’s take a look at some of the ways this powerful plant can be used to improve your health.
Promotes Healthy Skin
Lemongrass has been shown to both fight inflammation and combat fungus. Because of this unique combination of characteristics, the herb can protect the skin. It can reduce skin inflammation while treating fungal infections – a double whammy for healthy skin.
Plus, the herb is high in vitamin A – a nutrient that can protect the skin and reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles. Who doesn’t want that?
Reduces Arthritis Pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass can make it very helpful to people dealing with the inflammation of arthritis. While this is more of a “behind the scenes” benefit that gets at the cause of arthritis, the herb can also help fight the symptoms of arthritis.
Lemongrass can also be an effective analgesic or pain reliever. The herb can help ease the daily aches and joint pain that plague people with arthritis.
Treats Colds and Flu
The many benefits of lemongrass include its ability to fight off invading microbes, like bacteria. Because of this, it can be an effective protector against colds and the flu.
An aromatherapy method, like vaporizing lemongrass oil in the air, can be an excellent way to protect your entire home from illness – especially during cold and flu season. Lemongrass, when used in this way, can discourage the growth and spread of illness-causing organisms. Plus, it smells great!
Plus, thanks to its pain-relieving effects, it can help ease uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and stomachaches that may come alongside the flu. That’s a relief!
Great for New Mothers
Many of the wide-ranging benefits of lemongrass can be helpful to new mothers.
For one, the herb’s antimicrobial properties may help protect new baby and mother alike from infection. And, lemongrass may also encourage milk production.
Lemongrass can do more than just protect your body. It may help protect your mind, too.
Studies have found that lemongrass has “neurobehavioral” effects and can influence the nervous system and our mental health.
The herb can be effective in combating issues like anxiety and depression. It can also help encourage relaxation and improve sleep – factors that may otherwise serve to worsen symptoms of complicated issues like depression and anxiety.
Whether you’ve got serious digestive woes or just the occasional, everyday tummy trouble, lemongrass can help.
The herb is an effective antidiarrheal, is good at easing stomach aches, and can even help treat gastric ulcers.
Try incorporating the herb into your routine (perhaps in healthy recipes or tea) if you have regular digestive problems.
High cholesterol levels are a common concern today, and one that people often must try to combat with a barrage of strategies.
And believe it or not, lemongrass can also help manage cholesterol. Studies have shown that lemongrass can lower elevated cholesterol levels – a big win for heart health.
Cleanses and Detoxifies
Another one of the many benefits of lemongrass is its ability to help cleanse and detoxify the body. This detoxification prowess is partially due to its digestive benefits, and partially due to its high levels of antioxidants, which we’ll talk about next.
The herb is also a diuretic, meaning it increases urine output. Increased urination helps to flush out the body and remove excess wastes.
Rich in Antioxidants
Lemongrass has antioxidant effects. This means it’s good at fighting free radicals in the body, which can damage cells. Lemongrass and other antioxidants can help protect cells from this damage.
This is not only good for day-to-day cellular health and functioning, but it can also potentially help protect the body from the wide range of serious conditions tied to cell damage, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
Regulates Blood Pressure
You can add blood pressure management to the long list of health issues lemongrass aids. The herb can help lower blood pressure, or hypertension – a risk factor for several serious heart issues and an all too common condition.
Think it can’t get more impressive? Well, lemongrass may help your body get rid of excess fat. Studies have found that the herb is anti-hyperlipidemic – meaning it can reduce high levels of fat in the blood.
And it’s not just your blood that can lose extra fat thanks to lemongrass. Research has also shown that lemongrass can help reduce body fat and boost metabolic rate, making it a powerful anti-obesity and anti-weight gain tool. That’s powerful stuff.
Eases Menstrual Pain
We’ve learned that lemongrass can help soothe stomach discomfort and digestive issues, promote mental health and healthy skin, relieve pain, and serve as a diuretic (which helps fight bloating). So when might all these lemongrass benefits come in handy? During menstruation.
The herb is excellent for menstrual pain because it can help women cope with a wide-ranging variety of pre-menstrual symptoms.
Lemongrass is great at fighting off all sorts of invading germs, microbes, and organisms. It has been found to have impressive antibacterial and antifungal effects. This means the herb could not only help you fight off an ongoing infection, but it could also help you prevent one from ever happening.
Lemongrass oil has even been shown to help fight off Staphylococcus aureus – a bacteria that can cause serious, antibiotic-resistant Staph infections. When vaporized, lemongrass oil combats bacteria on surfaces and in the air, making it a good way to protect surfaces and living environments from harmful microbes.
Potential Side Effects
So, is lemongrass good for you? The answer is typically yes – unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to the herb.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to lemongrass, which can cause uncomfortable skin irritation or rash. A rash may also develop if undiluted lemongrass oil is applied directly to the skin. Make sure to read the labels on products and double-check that you are using them correctly.
The herb can also affect blood sugar levels and liver function. For this reason, it’s best to discuss the herb with your doctor if you have a liver condition or if you use medications that affect your blood sugar. In fact, this is good practice when using any herbal remedy – these healthy approaches can sometimes interact with medications in ways you might not expect.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should also discuss the use of lemongrass with their doctor before incorporating the herb.
Take the proper precautions, and you should be able to enjoy some pretty incredible health benefits from lemongrass. And as a bonus, you can enjoy its yummy taste and lovely aroma in the meantime!