Lemongrasses are one of the most popular herbal teas among health conscious individuals. They have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat a variety of ailments including digestive disorders, depression, anxiety, insomnia and many others. However, there is no scientific evidence proving their efficacy or safety.
The main active ingredients found in lemongrasses are called flavonoids which include quercetin and kaempferol. These compounds are thought to exert anti-inflammatory properties, inhibit cancer cell growth and even prevent heart disease.
Lemongrasses contain high amounts of these substances but they do not appear to affect blood sugar levels like other herbs such as ginseng, black cohosh or licorice. Some studies suggest that lemongrasses may have antioxidant activity against free radicals in the body.
In addition to its medicinal properties, lemongrasses are also known for their culinary uses. They have been used in Asian cuisines since ancient times and continue to be used today. There are several types of lemongrassy dishes including:
1. Lemongrassy Soup – A soup made with chicken, vegetables and various spices such as lemongrassed chilies, garlic, chili pepper flakes etc.
It is often served hot with rice or noodles.
2. Lemongrassy Tea – An infusion made by soaking crushed or sliced lemongrasses in hot water.
It is popularly used as a natural remedy and for its refreshing taste.
3. Lemongrassy Juice – Lemongrassy juice is popular in Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc.
It is often consumed as a beverage during the day or after physical activity.
4. Lemongrassy Ice-Cream – a popular dessert made with cooked milk, sugar, eggs and lemongrassed.
It is typically flavored with other ingredients such as chocolate, fruits or nuts.
5. Lemongrassy Ice Blocks with Lemongrassy Syrup – Popular in Southeast Asian countries as an energy drink or a sports drink during hot weather or heavy physical activity.
6. Stir-Fried Vegetables and Meat with Lemongrassy – Stir-frying is a cooking technique in which food is cooked in a small amount of oil or water in a shallow pan over high heat.
It is used for quick cooking and is common in many Asian cuisines.
In addition to these dishes, lemongrasses are also used in various other foods such as yoghurt, ice cream, candy etc.
Most of the research on lemongrasses has been done on animals. Although there is some evidence that they may benefit certain conditions, more research is needed to determine whether they are safe and effective for use in humans.
Lemongrasses have been used traditionally to treat a wide range of conditions including:
1. Acne – Grated lemongrasses are sometimes applied directly on the skin to treat acne.
2. Athletic performance enhancement – Some studies have shown that taking a combination of lemongrasses with other herbs such as zingerone, torachrys ginger, curcumin and N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) before exercise improves endurance and reduces feelings of fatigue.
3. Digestive Disorders – A tea made from grated lemongrasses may be used to treat digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
4. Headaches – The essential oil of the herb (especially when inhaled) may be effective at treating headaches.
5. Infections – Lemongrasses are sometimes used to wash wounds or to soak armpit fomentations for infections such as cellulitis or gangrene.
6. Menstrual Cramps – A poultice made by boiling the leaves may be used to relieve pain caused by menstrual cramps.
7. Respiratory Disorders – The essential oil from the leaves may be inhaled to treat respiratory disorders.
8. Scurvy – Lemongrasses are sometimes used to treat scurvy since it primarily consists of vitamin C (which is water soluble and not stored in the body).
9. Sleeping problems – A tea made from grated lemongrasses may be used to help promote sleep.
10. Weight loss – Lemongrasses are sometimes taken to help promote weight loss.
While there is some evidence to support the traditional use of lemongrasses for these conditions, more research is needed to determine whether they are safe and effective for this purpose.
Lemongrasses may also have other beneficial effects such as:
1. Antioxidant Properties – Lemongrasses contain antioxidants such as d-limonene, sotolon and linalool which may help protect cells from damage.
2. Antiviral Properties – Some studies suggest that lemongrasses may have antiviral activity.
3. Diabetes – The phenolic compounds in lemongrasses may help reduce blood sugar levels and therefore play a role in the treatment of diabetes.
4. Digestive Health – The fiber content of lemongrasses may help relieve constipation and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
5. Immune system – The antioxidants in lemongrasses also support a strong immune system.
6. Skin health – The antioxidants and other compounds in lemongrasses may help reduce skin irritation and promote healthy skin.
7. Wound Healing – The essential oils in lemongrasses may speed up healing of wounds.
Possible Side Effects
Lemongrasses are not known to have any negative side effects. However, people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels while taking lemongrasses since they may reduce the amount of insulin required by the body to metabolize glucose.
Lemongrasses may also interact with certain medications such as digoxin. People taking these or other prescription drugs should speak with their doctors before taking lemongrasses.
Where to Find Lemongrasses
Lemongrasses are available at many health food stores and online.
How to Take Lemongrasses
The fresh or dried leaves of lemongrasses may be steeped in boiling water to make a tea. This tea can be drank on a regular basis or when craving something sweet.
The tea may also be used as a wash for the skin. It can be applied to insect bites, sunburns or other minor skin inflammations.
The essential oil of the leaves may be inhaled directly from the bottle or added to a bath for relief of stuffy sinuses, headaches or other respiratory problems.
Lemongrasses can also be used in cooking and baking since their flavor is not very strong.
They can be used in marinades and other sauces, dressings or even iced tea.
Lemongrasses may also be ground and added to meat recipes, rice or other grain dishes. Most people use ground lemongrasses to make curries.
They can be used in many other recipes in small quantities to add flavor and aroma.
Lemongrasses are a type of grass that is popular in Asian, African and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Lemongrasses are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and have been used traditionally to support skin health, respiratory problems, the immune system and more.
They may have blood sugar lowering effects and may interact with certain medications.
The essential oils of lemongrasses are also used in cooking and baking for their flavor and aroma.
They are used to make teas, baths, essential oils and more.
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Sources & references used in this article:
The Prevalence of E. coli O157: H7 in the production of organic herbs and a case study of organic lemongrass intended for use in blended tea by S Zaman, MK Alam, S Ahmed, MN Uddin… – Agriculture, Food and …, 2014 – innocua.net
DEVELOPMENT OF READY-TO-DRINK HERBAL BEVERAGES USING by S Sadalge, V Yardi – ijrbat.in
Formulation and sensory evaluation of herb tea from Moringa oleifera, Hibiscus sabdariffa and Cymbopogon citratus by NEA De-Heer – 2011 – dspace.knust.edu.gh
Production of Cake Using Lemon Grass as Flavouring Agent by K Neequaye, R Adonu, DOA Mensah – American Based Research …, 2017 – papers.ssrn.com
Natural and Artificial Beverages: Exploring the Pros and Cons by JA Duke – 1997 – books.google.com
Blends of lemongrass derivatives and lime for the preparation of mixed beverages: antioxidant, physicochemical, and sensory properties by S Koner, P Dash, V Priya, VD Rajeswari – Natural Beverages, 2019 – Elsevier
Multifunctional drinks from all natural ingredients by DD Kieling, SH Prudencio – Journal of the Science of Food and …, 2019 – Wiley Online Library