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Thailand Medical News  Mar 30, 2019  1 year ago
27 Health Benefits of The Aromatic Healer: Lemon Grass (ตะไคร้หอม /dta khrai).
27 Health Benefits of The Aromatic Healer: Lemon Grass (ตะไคร้หอม /dta khrai).
Thailand Medical News  Mar 30, 2019  1 year ago
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Lemongrass, is an herb which belongs to the grass family of Poaceae,1 and is also known as Cymbopogon citratus. It is utilized for its distinct lemon flavor and citrusy aroma. It is a tall, perennial grass which is native to Thailand, India, Indonesia and Gautemala and tropical regions of Asia. It is a rough and tufted plant with linear leaves that grows in thick bunches, emerging from a strong base and standing for about 3 meters in height with a meter-wide stretch.
health benefits
 
 
In addition to its culinary usage, this herb offers an array of medicinal benefits and is in extensive demand due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties across Southeast Asia, as well as the African and American continents.2
 
 
The genus Cymbopogon comprises 55 species of grasses, two of which are referred to as lemongrass.3 These are Cymbopogon citratus,which is famously preferred for culinary use and Cymbopogon flexuosus, which is used in the manufacturing of fragrances because of its extended shelf life, owing to the low amount of myrcene in that variety.
 
 

Nutritional Facts

 
 
Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elemicin, catechol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which help in providing an impressive range of medicinal aids.4   The main component of this fragrant herb is lemonal or citral, which has anti-fungal and anti-microbial qualities, while also providing a distinct lemony smell.
 
 
Lemongrass is an aromatic storehouse of essential nutrients providing an array of health benefits. The USDA National Nutrient Database shows that it is a source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate, and vitamin C.  It also provides essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, and iron, which are required for the healthy functioning of the human body. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fats.
 
 

Its Health Benefits

 
Let us look, in details, at some of the most well-known health benefits6  of lemongrass:
 
 

1.Lowers Cholesterol

Research published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal in the year 2011 revealed that lemongrass possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels.7 Studies have also shown that regular consumption helps in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the LDL cholesterol in the body.8 This helps in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes an unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries, preventing various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.
 

 
2.Detoxifies the Body

According to a 2003 study, lemongrass helps in cleansing and flushing harmful toxic wastes out of the body, as a result of its diuretic properties.9 Detoxification helps in the regulation of various organs of the body, including the liver and kidney, while also helping to lower the levels of uric acid. The diuretic effect of the herb helps in increasing the quantity and frequency of urination, which helps in maintaining digestive health, eliminating accrued fats, and assisting in maintaining a clean system.
 
 

3.Anticancer Potential

Lemongrass is effective in preventing the growth of cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells of the body. Research conducted to prove the anti-cancerous activity of lemongrass has shown promising outcomes in the prevention of skin cancer.10 This is mainly because of the presence of a chemical compound called citral in it.
 
 
A research conducted on the effects of citral on cancer cells shows that it helps in inhibiting the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phase and prevents any further growth of cancerous cells.11 Another study provides supporting evidence regarding the anti-proliferative effect of citral in impeding the growth of human breast cancer cells and the induction of apoptosis.12 
 
 

4.Antibiotic Properties Against Staphylococcus aureus

Research conducted at the School of Health, The University of Northampton, UK and published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology has shown that lemongrass essential oil has an anti-biofilm capacity and is beneficial against the infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus.13 It contains phenols which possess the capability to spread quickly through the body tissues and cure biofilms located anywhere in the body.14 It disrupts the growth and communication of germs, which helps in inhibiting the formation of the biofilms. The herb’s essential oil is used for application, both topically as well as internally to cure the diseases diagnosed with biofilms, such as Lyme disease.
 
 

5.Stomach Disorders

Studies have shown that lemongrass essential oil has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties which help in fighting the infections caused by various pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli.15  It is beneficial in the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as gastric ulcers, helps in stimulating the bowel function, and improves digestion.16 The anti-inflammatory property of the herb is beneficial for treating constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, nausea and stomach aches.
 
 

6.Treats Insomnia

Lemongrass aids in calming muscles and nerves, which helps in inducing deep sleep. Research has shown that its herbal tea has sedative and hypnotic properties which help in increasing the duration of sleep.17 
 
 

7. Prevents Anemia

Lemongrass tea is excellent for women when expecting. It has many benefits which include the fact that provides iron and folates to the body. But, its use is not limited to pregnant women; it is also very helpful in curing anemia and preventing it in the first place. Intake of lemongrass will help to keep your hemoglobin levels up and prevent any diseases related to iron deficiency 
 
 

8.Respiratory Disorders

Lemongrass is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its healing effects in treating cough and cold.18 Along with other beneficial components, the vitamin C content present in it helps in providing relief from nasal blockages, flu and other respiratory disorders such as bronchial asthma.19 
 
 

9.Reduces Fever

Lemongrass is a febrifuge and is also known as the ‘fever grass’, owing to its beneficial effects in lowering fever.20 The anti-pyretic and diaphoretic effect is extensively used in Ayurvedic medicine for curing fevers by inducing sweating.
 

 
10.Treats Infections

Lemongrass works as an antiseptic and is effective in treating infections such as ringworm, sores, Athlete’s Foot, scabies, and urinary tract infections (UTI) because of its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties.21 Studies have shown that the herb exerts healing effects on dermatological infections, such as yeast infections, by inhibiting the growth of pathogens. Another study provides supporting evidence that demonstrated the efficacy of lemongrass over thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood oil in the treatment of various diseases such as oral or vaginal candidiasis.22 
 
 

11.Reduces Aches

Lemongrass alleviates pain and discomfort caused by headaches and migraines due to its analgesic properties.23 The phytonutritients present in it improve blood circulation and help in relieving spasms, muscle cramps, sprains, and backaches. It is valuable in treating sports wounds, including dislocations, internal injuries, and bruises.
 
 

12.Nervous System

Lemongrass is nervine and has been proven to be a tonic for the nervous system. It stimulates the mind and helps in combating convulsions, nervousness, vertigo, and various neuronal disorders. It is used in therapeutic baths, which assist in calming the nerves and alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and fatigue caused by stress.
 
 

13.Type-2 Diabetes

Lemongrass has been proven beneficial in treating type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that the citral present in it help maintain optimum levels of insulin and improve the tolerance of glucose in the body.24 
 
 

14.Relieves Pain & Inflammation

Lemongrass is effective in relieving the pain and discomfort caused by rheumatism. 25 It can be applied topically on both lumbago and sprains and helps in relieving neuralgia.
 
 

15.Boosts Immunity

Lemongrass helps in restoring the vital systems which are operational in the body, including digestion, respiration, excretion, and the nervous system. This assists in the better absorption of nutrients and strengthening of the immune defense mechanism of the body. Lemongrass extracts have a beneficial effect on the inflammatory actions of cytokines, which are the signaling molecules through which the cells communicate and respond to the body. Studies have shown that lemongrass exerts anti-inflammatory action and its constituent, citral, may be the cause of its inhibitory effect on cytokine production.26
 
 

16.Skin Care

Lemongrass has been treasured as a skin tonic and makes an effective cleanser for oily or acne-prone skin, due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities.27 It helps in strengthening the skin tissues and toning up the pores while also sterilizing them. Care should be taken while using lemongrass products, as the undiluted application might lead to dermal irritation in some cases.
 
 

17.Cellular Health

Lemongrass possesses antioxidant qualities and helps in protecting the body cells from oxygen-derived free radicals. It also helps in the cleansing of blood and strengthening the spleen to discard the tarnished red blood cells. It supports the function of the thymus glands which helps produce white blood cells. It helps in stimulating the regeneration of cells. The folate and potassium content in the stem and leaves of lemongrass aids in DNA synthesis and promotes cell division.
 
 

18.Treats Edema

Lemongrass is effective in curing the condition of water retention or edema. It has a cleansing effect on lymphatic congestion and helps soothe the swelling.
 
 

19.Aromatherapy

Lemongrass consists of the beneficial ingredients of essential oils such as neroli, citronellol, myrcene, dipentene, geraniol and methyl heptenone which possess anti-fungal, insecticidal, and antiseptic properties.28 Lemongrass oil is extensively used in aromatherapy, due to its therapeutic effects, which help in revitalizing the body. The cooling effect of lemongrass oil is beneficial for the body during hot  weather and promotes the revival of both the mind and the soul. 29 This oil possess natural astringent and toning qualities which help in stimulating blood circulation and tones up the dermal tissues.30 It also helps in tightening, uplifting and firming lethargic or sagging skin.
 
 

20.Obesity

Lemongrass contains citral, which has been proven to be effective in combating obesity.24 It prevents the accumulation of abdominal fat and promotes the use of stored energy, which helps in preventing diet-induced weight gain. It aids in healthy metabolism and enhances the oxidation of fatty acids in the body.
 
 

21.Body Odor

Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of deodorants due to its cleansing and antibacterial properties which help combat unpleasant body-odor and prevent fungal and bacterial infections.31It can also be added to footbaths for sanitizing sore and odorous feet.
 
 

22.Insect Repellent

Lemongrass is used as a natural insect repellent and helps in preventing the occurrence of insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Lyme disease.32 Studies have provided supporting evidence regarding the anti-malarial and anti-protozoan properties of lemongrass, which makes its oil an effective ingredient in mosquito repellents. 
 
 

23. Good For Breast feeding

Lemongrass has galactagogic properties, which promote the formation of milk in breasts.36 
 
 

24. Good during Menstruation

It is also effective in stimulating menstrual flow and helps in soothing menstrual cramps and discomfort.
 
 

25. Reduces Varicosity.

It helps in soothing the swelling and the effects of the conditions of varicosity.
 
 

26. Helps in preventing Dementia and Alzheimer Diseases

Emerging studies are showing that herbal lemongrass teas do play a slight role in lowering down the incidence of Dementia and Alzheimer Disease In The Aged but further studies are ongoing to verify this.
 
 

27. Helps HIV Infected Patients

Another emerging study is the use of Lemon Grass in boosting CD4 counts of HIV infected patients and also  in lowering their HIV Viral loads. Again, a few studies are currently underway to confirm these claims.
 
 

Other Uses 

 
Apart from folk medicines, lemongrass is commonly used in Asian cuisines, especially those of Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. It is used for adding flavor to beverages such as teas, curries, and soups, and also finds extensive use in the preparation of pudding, meat products, candies, and baked goods.
 
Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of perfumes, deodorants, polishes, candles, and waxes.  It is also used to add fragrance to soaps and cosmetic products.
 
It is used to lure and attract honey bees for various commercial purposes.33 
Hydrophobic Properties: Lemongrass is used for preserving ancient palm
Leaf manuscripts and protects them from the damage caused by microorganisims.34It strengthens the leaves by providing the required moisture to the fragile palm leaves without letting the humidity cause any loss to the stored text. This protective effect can be attributed to the hydrophobic properties of lemongrass oil.
 
Pet Products: Lemongrass is used in the manufacturing of shampoos and grooming products for pets due to its repellent effects on lice and ticks.
 

Side Effects

Although considered safe, the topical use of lemongrass oil or the ingestion of herbal tea can result in allergic reactions in some people.35 
 
Undiluted or concentrated lemongrass oil should not be applied directly on the body as it may result in harmful reactions. It is always advisable to keep the pure essential oil out of the reach of children.
 
It is also strongly recommended to consult a health professional before considering lemongrass oil for therapeutic usage; especially during pregnancy, when trying to conceive, breastfeeding, and during the course of any ongoing medical treatments.
 
Used cautiously, it can prove extremely valuable in providing a range of medicines

References:

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217679/
2.https://www.oikos.ufpr.br/publicacoes/artigos/01_lemon%20grass%20chemical%20revision.pdf
3.https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/med-aro/factsheets/LEMONGRASS.html
4.https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11972
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816559/
7.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=g_OCl6P0vsYC&pg=PA151&dq=lemongrass+for+cough+and+cold&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jsEYUbK9OcamrAeah4GwCg&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21693164
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21914547
9.https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0006-291X(03)00219-5
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12615076
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15931590
12.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1472-8206.2009.00738.x/abstract
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22862808
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21316719
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12752733
16.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326778/
17.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17561386
18.https://books.google.co.in/books?.id=ofONXILDKPsC&pg=PA420&dq=lemongrass+for+bronchitis&hl=en&sa=X&ei=XMEYUaHwOITmrAf33IH4Bw&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20bronchitis&f=false
19.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=P7IKgTkTHIcC&pg=PA133&dq=lemongrass+for+bronchitis&hl=en&sa=X&ei=D8QYUdb1Cs3JrAfxl4GQDQ&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20bronchitis&f=false
20.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=zAMiGwoAfQ4C&pg=PA135&dq=lemongrass+for+fever&hl=en&sa=X&ei=FSEZUZ6QK4KErQeG4IHoCw&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20fever&f=false
21.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18553017
22.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14615795
23.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=SWLB89rIw5AC&pg=PA112&dq=lemongrass+for+aches+and+pains&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9iMZUaTjGYSNrgfzhIDABQ&ved=0CEYQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20aches%20and%20pains&f=false
24.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113383/
25.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=C0D3z66O8Q8C&pg=PA219&dq=lemon+grass+for+rheumatism&hl=en&sa=X&ei=GisZUe6qFIv8rAfb24GADg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=lemon%20grass%20for%20rheumatism&f=false
26.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21782918
27.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=RfoJsFHFSnMC&pg=PA231&dq=lemongrass+for+skin&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UA0aUZvTMY-HmQWH64D4CQ&ved=0CDwQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20skin&f=false
28.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4170112/
29.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=QiAu1c8YGbQC&pg=PA354&dq=lemongrass+as+insect+repellent&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JxEaUZetOInPmgWZmoGYBg&ved=0CFkQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20as%20insect%20repellent&f=false
30.https://www.nda.agric.za/docs/Brochures/EssOilsLemongrass.pdf
31.https://www.src-jamaica.org/documents/Extraction%20flyer.pdf
32.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=GHt6AlrwNdIC&pg=PA196&dq=lemongrass+for+body+odor&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UgoaUYrYKu6gmQWI1IGoDw&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20body%20odor&f=false
33.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12046869
34.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=iuNhmvuG1ocC&pg=PA198&dq=lemongrass+to+attract+honey+bees&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6BMaUcLiCO70mAXDzYD4BA&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20to%20attract%20honey%20bees&f=false
35.https://web.archive.org/web/20130420202341/https://www.idc.iitb.ac.in/resources/dt-july-2009/Palm.pdf
36.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1440-0960.2002.00598.x/abstract
37.https://books.google.co.in/books?id=GqJ2_MuNmtIC&pg=PA22&dq=lemongrass+for+cough+and+cold&hl=en&sa=X&ei=jsEYUbK9OcamrAeah4GwCg&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=lemongrass%20for%20cough%20and%20cold&f=false
 
 

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