Lemongrass essential oil is one of many oils that people extract from a plant to capture its essence. The use of an essence — or essential oil— was first recorded as far back as 1188 by a man named Ibn al-Baitar who was a chemist, physician, and pharmacist.
Today, the essence of lemongrass has a multitude of uses not only for the affluent but also for the general population. From naturally providing relief from headaches and migraines to easing stress, lemongrass essential oil is a valuable essence that can help make your day-to-day life more manageable.
What Is Lemongrass?
Lemongrass (also known as lemon grass, citronella, or its scientific name “Cymbopogon ambiguous” ) is a tall perennial herb that grows in tropical climates. As its name suggests, it looks like grass and can grow between three to five feet tall. Lemongrass is a popular herb in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and has a zesty citrus taste. It also flavors teas in India and Africa. India is the world’s global leader in lemongrass production with over two million pounds per year. This citrus herb grows in Australia, Africa, and Asia.
Lemongrass essential oil is from the lemongrass herb. There are several modern ways to make lemongrass essential oil. This can include drying the grass and using a combination of solvents to extract the oil. More simple methods involve crushing the herb with a mortar and pestle and infusing it with a carrier oil. Strain and repeat until the oil reaches its desired potency.
How To Use Lemongrass Essential Oil Properly
People use essential oils in a variety of different ways, but you can’t use every type of oil in the same way. You must dilute oils such as clove and oregano in water to be safe for consumption, and you shouldn’t take them for more than one week. However other oils such as peppermint and lemon are safer for consumption.
Like most essential oils, lemongrass essential oil has a myriad of uses. According to online sources, lemongrass has been known to aid in some medical ailments. Dilute the essential oil by adding a few drops of the oil into coconut oil. You can then apply the oil topically to areas of the body such as muscles and joints.
The key to using essential oils correctly is to research as much as possible. Then, test the concoction on an inconspicuous place first before committing. It is also important to trust your body to figure out how much is enough. Our noses are often accurate indicators if a combination is too strong or too mild.
Lemongrass Essential Oil: Medicinal Uses
Physicians have been using lemongrass essential oil since 1188 as a means of pain management and to keep several ailments in check. Scientists are currently scrutinizing lemongrass to make sure that its benefits are indeed fact and not just fiction. Below are just a few ways that lemongrass essential oil can address specific health issues.
Cholesterol is in the fats in the blood and is a necessary substance to create healthy cells. If your cholesterol levels are too high, oxygen cannot easily pass through your bloodstream to your heart. Those who have high cholesterol problems are at-risk for heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and other health issues related to clogged blood arteries.
A study conducted in 2006 concluded that rats that ingested controlled doses of lemongrass leaves experienced lowered cholesterol levels. The lowered cholesterol levels may be because lemongrass contains a compound called terpenoids.
Terpenoids stop the production of mevalonic acid in the body, which is essential to the creation of cholesterol. Therefore, taking a couple of drops of lemongrass essential oil can reduce high cholesterol or maintain cholesterol levels over time. Always make sure to talk to your doctor before taking lemongrass essential oil for cholesterol and consult them regarding safe dosage.
Researchers believe lemongrass contains four particularly important compounds: eugenol, elemicin, eugenol methyl ether and trans-isoelemicin. One compound, in particular, eugenol, has potent effects on platelet activation. Abnormalities in platelet function are linked to migraines and headaches. Eugenol has anti-platelet properties which can consequently diminish headaches and migraines, similar to the effects of aspirin. Hence, lemongrass essential oil can be useful in decreasing headache pain when taken in the correct dosage.
Lemongrass also activates a chemical called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is known as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT in the science world.
Most of us know serotonin because it people often refer to it as the “happy chemical.” This brain chemical is responsible for many functions in the body such as regulating mood, sleep, memory and sexual desire. Low levels of serotonin have ties to depression, nausea, headaches, and migraines. When you use it in the correct dosage, lemongrass essential oil can play a role in activating serotonin and thus making you feel better.
Lemongrass is a powerful antipyretic. The word antipyretic comes from two root words: “anti” meaning against and “pyretic” which means to be feverish. When lemongrass is diluted and applied topically or ingested, it causes the hypothalamus to override a prostaglandin-induced increase in temperature. The body then works to lower its temperature by sweating and consequently cooling down.
Antibacterial And Anti-fungal
Due to its citrus and lemon-like undertones, the lemongrass herb is a powerful aid in preventing (as well as combating) bacterial infections. There have been several studies to prove that lemongrass essential oil contains antibacterial properties to fight against bacterial infections including Staph and E. coli.
They have also been known to help prevent and treat fungal infections such as ringworm, jock itch, and tinea versicolor. Additionally, lemongrass essential oil irritate athlete’s foot, a contagious fungal infection affecting the feet which can spread to the toenails and hands.
Massaging pure lemongrass essential oil to the affected area directly reduces the spread of the fungus by lowering its spore production.
Lemongrass contains anti-inflammatory substances which not only relax muscles but also works to reduce inflammation. Always to use it in conjunction with a carrier oil works best when you apply a mixture of lemongrass essential oil (just a few drops) with a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil. Massage the mixture onto the inflamed muscle or joint, and relief should come within 30 minutes to 2 hours after application.
Uses To Relax The Mind And Body
Essential oil therapy uses different essential oils to improve a person’s state of mind and overall wellbeing. People use essential oils for their anti-fungal, insecticidal and antimicrobial properties. However, they can also relax an otherwise tired body and mind. Below are a few examples of how lemongrass essential oil can help you de-stress both mentally and physically.
Aromatherapy is the art of de-stressing and decompressing your mind by inhaling specific scents. You can achieve this by using one or several kinds of essential oils in either a diffuser, hot bath, or by applying it to the skin with a carrier oil.
Aromatherapy diffusers spread essential oil drops by mixing it with water and evaporating it into the air. There are several makes and models of diffusers available at different price ranges. Dropping some oil into your next bubble bath can also have similar results because the water will warm up the oil and the scent will spread all around the room.
Should you wish to use it topically, remember never to apply essential oils directly to the skin without diluting it first, as it can cause irritation. Remember always to use it with a carrier oil. Lemongrass essential oil has a lemony, earthy scent. Reviews state that this particular essential oil smells very clean and has calming and soothing properties.
Relaxes Sore Muscles
Not unlike ginger, cypress, and eucalyptus essential oils, lemongrass essential oil also improves blood circulation. By increasing blood flow, these oils relieve muscle aches and relax sore, overworked muscles. For instance, soothing sore feet is as easy as a lemongrass foot bath. Just dilute a few drops of lemongrass essential oil into a warm foot bath with some Epsom salts and soak your feet for a few minutes.
If you’d rather drink the benefits in, add two cups of boiling water over a few lemongrass leaves and drink one cup of the mixture every eight hours or so. Sweeten it to your liking with sugar, honey, lemon, or ginger.
Lemongrass essential oil goes beyond relaxation and medicinal purposes. Below are just a few more problems that are rectified with this multi-functional super herb.
Before you process lemongrass to become an essential oil, it can make a soothing cup of tea. Take a couple of stalks and bruise the base with a rolling pin or pestle and mortar. Tie the grass in a knot, place it in a cup, and pour in some boiling water.
Similarly, you could cut unbruised stalks into thumb-sized pieces and place them in a cup with boiling water. Then sweeten it with your favorite sweetener (honey, sugar, etc.) and steep for a few minutes before drinking. Either method will produce a sharp, tangy, and lemony taste to your otherwise bland cup of tea.
Natural Air Freshener
Many people have discovered the deodorizing properties of lemongrass essential oil. A few drops of lemongrass essential oil mixed with water in a spray bottle can spray an entire home and leave it smelling clean and fresh. This mixture is a natural alternative to harmful chemical-laden air fresheners. Plus, is relatively cost-effective because the oil has a myriad of other uses around the house as well!
Cleans Hair And Reduces Dandruff
You can use lemongrass essential oil as a hair cleanser and soothe scalp irritation. In a recent study, a group aged 20 to 60 was put through a 7-day trial. They experienced a significant decrease in dandruff levels thanks to a hair tonic made with lemongrass essential oil. You can make your own infusion by adding 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil to a full bottle of shampoo or conditioner and massaging the mixture into your scalp. Alternatively, there are shampoos available for purchase online made with lemongrass that promise to add volume to fine, thin hair.
Natural Bug Repellent
Spring and summer months are prime time for insects, bugs, and other creepy-crawlies. Unfortunately, bug spray is expensive and harmful for both the environment and people. Thankfully, many essential oils (including lemongrass) are natural bug repellents when paired with witch hazel and/or water. They are used in different ways to repel bugs including sprays, candles, diffusers and even creams. There are plenty of online DIY solutions sure to keep the buggers away while keeping both your family as well as the environment safe.
Possible Side Effects
Lemongrass is deemed as “likely safe” when used as an ingredient in food (i.e., to flavor teas). Lemongrass essential oil is “mostly safe” when you use it topically or ingest it as drops so long as you use them properly. As mentioned previously, always mix every essential oil with a carrier oil such as argan, olive, coconut, grape-seed or jojoba before application. One to two drops of lemongrass essential oil for every tablespoon of carrier oil is a “safe” amount.
Do Not Take When Pregnant or Nursing
Expectant mothers should not take any dose of lemongrass essential oil. This includes supplements, teas, and drops during aromatherapy and massages. Lemongrass can trigger menstrual flow which can inadvertently cause a miscarriage. It also contains two compounds, citral, and myrcene, which can cause congenital abnormalities. Nursing mothers should also be cautious or avoid lemongrass in its entirety, as it can trigger an allergic reaction in your child.
Although it is a rare occurrence, there is always a risk of allergic reactions when trying any new essential oil. Before ingesting or using it in any DIY home remedy, test a small amount of lemongrass essential oil mixed with a carrier oil on a small patch of skin. Watch for a possible allergic reaction and when none presents itself, carry on with its desired use. Be aware that sprays, candles, or anything which carries the aroma can spread. This can consequently cause an allergic reaction to anyone in the vicinity.
Remember that it is crucial to talk to your doctor and do plenty of research before trying any of these remedies. Don’t forget to dilute lemongrass essential oil (or any essential oil) before putting it on your skin. Always be aware of how much essential oil you are using in your home remedy or mixture to make sure it is safe and if anyone in the area may be allergic to the product.