Besides the deliciously citrusy flavor that lemongrass provides in culinary applications, it also holds tremendous healing power within its fibrous stalks. Lemongrass, specifically lemongrass essential oil, may help relieve muscle pain, kill bacteria, ward off insects, reduce body aches, and more. Lemongrass essential oil also has a place as an ingredient in cosmetics, offering a wonderful fragrance and properties that support the skin.
What Is Lemongrass Essential Oil?
Lemongrass belongs to the grass family of Poaceae and it is also a Cymbopogon. It grows in dense clumps that can exceed six feet in height and four feet in width. Native to tropical regions, including India, Oceania, and Southeast Asia, lemongrass has been used in many medicinal applications. Both African and South American cultures have also used lemongrass to make tea.
Lemongrass essential oil comes from the leaves or grasses of the lemongrass plant. The oil exhibits a lemony smell that is stimulating, relaxing, soothing, and balancing. Depending on the geographical origin, the chemical composition may change. Lemongrass essential oil contains alcohols, hydrocarbon terpenes, ketones, esters, and aldehydes. It can be a great source of nutrients, some of which include vitamins A & C, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, iron, and folate. Studies show that it acts particularly on the connective tissue, where immune and structural functions meet. Learn more about lemongrass’ health benefits below.
Although you cannot directly apply lemongrass essential oil to the skin, it does offer skin-soothing properties. A 2017 study tested the effects of lemongrass essential oil on pre-inflamed human dermal fibroblast. Study authors found that lemongrass essential oil exhibited anti-inflammatory activity in human cells. Not only did that study confirm it is a good candidate for treating inflammatory skin conditions, but another study also found that it is promising for replacing synthetic compounds in the cosmeceutical industry. Lemongrass essential oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent properties, all of which work to sterilize pores and contribute to glowing skin.
May Reduce Stress And Anxiety
One study exposed a group of test subjects to an anxiety-causing situation and had them smell the scent of lemongrass essential oil. This group, unlike the controlled groups, experienced a decrease in anxiety and subjective tension after administration. This is because lemongrass essential oil exhibits a mild, calming aroma that may relieve anxiety and irritability. You can drop a few drops of lemongrass essential oil in a diffuser to help calm down, or drink lemongrass tea to help reduce stress.
For centuries, lemongrass has been a popular treatment for stomach issues, including gastric ulcers and gastritis. One research study from 2012 found that lemongrass essential oil protected stomachs in animal subjects from the gastric damaging effects of aspirin and ethanol. The conclusion of that study was that lemongrass essential oil could serve as a lead compound for the future development of therapies that combat nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy.
One study from 2012 that tested the antibacterial properties of lemongrass essential oil, testing microorganisms with a disk diffusion method. Study authors added lemongrass essential oil to a staph infection and saw that it was able to disrupt the infection as an antibacterial agent. The citral and limonene content in lemongrass essential oil can either inhibit or kill the growth of fungi and bacteria. That means that it may help in the treatment of infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and other types of fungal infections.
According to in vitro research, lemongrass essential oil exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory properties when used internally and externally. Considering that inflammation is at the root of many health conditions, this is exciting news. Other studies also confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass essential oil. These studies explored the potential anti-hypertensive effects of lemongrass essential oil, uncovering a lot of evidence that indicates potent anti-inflammatory activity.
Researchers note that lemongrass essential oil can help strengthen hair follicles, which is great news if you suffer from hair loss. Dilute a few drops of lemongrass essential oil into jojoba oil, or another carrier oil, and massage a small amount into your scalp for two minutes. This may also help relieve irritated or itchy scalp. Studies show that lemongrass essential oil may offer anti-dandruff properties, and may help leave your hair shiny and odor-free.