Last summer I grew a lemongrass plant in my garden and all season long I enjoyed its fresh citrusy flavor in my attempts at Eastern cooking. This plant has long been used in East Indian and Oriental cuisine to enhance meats and vegetables, but its therapeutics effects far surpass its flavor. Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, is steam distilled to extract its essential oil. It has a grassy-lemony scent and is very refreshing and uplifting.
One of lemongrass’s most important effects on the body is its ability to mentally stimulate and wake up the left brain. This essential oil, when burned in an aroma lamp or used in massage or bath, can clear foggy thoughts, increase logical thinking and stimulate concentration. This is a great oil to burn when studying for exams, in a conference hall, at the office, in a car when driving on a long trip or even if you wake up grumpy and disoriented. Any time the brain needs to be focused and alert, lemongrass is useful. Its cooling effect makes it a wonderful oil to use for headaches and a little essential oil placed in a carrier and rubbed on the temples can alleviate the dull throbbing and cloudy senses. The intestinal tract benefits from lemongrass as it stimulates digestion and soothes flatulence and other tummy ailments. It can also help reduce fevers and lower body heat.
Lemongrass is equally beneficial in sports use. Because of its ability to strengthen the blood vessels and encourage healing of weak connective tissue, lemongrass can be used in massage for any sports injury like pulled ligaments and tense fascia. It cools over- heated muscles and inflamed joints and because of its mild diuretic qualities, helps drain edema and swelling from the injury site. When massaged in, this oil can help in reducing varicose veins by increasing blood flow and lymph drainage. This also means it is useful in reducing cellulite by removing excess water and toxins from the tissue. Lemongrass should never be used neat, directly on the skin as it can cause irritation, but mixed in a carrier oil like grape seed or sweet almond is fine.
Lemongrass is commonly used in skin care products, especially in facial cleansers and skin tonics. It has antiseptic, antimicrobial, astringent properties that make it perfect for face and body cleansing. It also has an insecticidal quality and can be used when bathing a dog to keep fleas away. Most insects are repelled by this scent so this essential oil can be diluted and sprayed on an animal’s bed or even burned in an aroma lamp to keep flies and mosquitoes away.
On a psycho-spiritual level, lemongrass clears the mind and encourages focus during meditation. By clearing away the proverbial cobwebs one can bring higher awareness and deeper insight in. This oil resonates with the citrine quartz stone and supports the solar plexus energies. Higher knowledge can be grounded in to the lower chakras with lemongrass’s help.
Lemongrass is a wonderful addition to anyone’s herb garden and although it requires a little care and protection, it is worth it. So enjoy the taste of the Orient and the clarity of the Universe.