Lemongrass Cymbopogon schoenanthus

- By: Aimee Regur

Various varieties of Lemongrass are native to South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, India and Sri Lanka. It is now commonly found throughout Latin America and cultivated in parts of tropical Africa.

The name Cymbopogon is derived from the Greek words kymbe meaning boat and pogon for beard, referring to the large flower spikes.

Medicinally, Lemongrass is anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, an insect repellent, sedative, tonic, vasodilator (dilates blood vessels), improves circulation, and promotes lymph flow. Lemongrass aids in digestion, as well as to helps relieve the symptoms of colds and fevers, a favorite blend is with fresh Turmeric and Ginger at the onset of a cold. Lemongrass tea may be taken as a quick remedy for upset stomachs, diarrhea, and dyspepsia. As an essential oil, Lemongrass can be used to help relieve the symptoms of rheumatism and general muscular discomfort.

Cosmetically, diluted essential oil of Lemongrass is used as a anti-inflammatory and antiseptic for acne, oily skin, boils, athletes foot and ring worm, Herpes simplex and has a special tightening effect on the elastin fibers in the deep layers of the skin, helping to improve the appearance of cellulite.

Internally and topically, Lemongrass and one of it’s active constituents, citral, exhibits high antibacterial activity against Haemophilus influenzae, penicillin-susceptible and resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as all Candida spp.

In Filipino shamanism, dried Lemongrass leaves are burnt as an offering to forest spirits and to the gods. It can be used as a smudge to ward off illness or hexes, and as a cleanse prior to ritual participation.

“Tell me about the oceans and how they've changed in you. About lemongrass and the summer storms coming in off your shoreline. About the waters that have carved canyons in your bones.”

Tyler Kent White