Lemongrass – Uses, Remedies, Dose, Side Effects, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Lemongrass is an aromatic Ayurvedic herb used to treat gastro intestinal problems,vomiting, ringworm, fever, worm infestation, asthma, cough, rheumatic pain, fungal infections etc. It is considered as anaphrodisiac.

Botanical Name – Cymbopogon citratus
Family – Poaceae
Synonyms – Andropogon cerifer Hack, Andropogon citratus DC.

Uses, home remedies

Traditional uses of lemongrass

  • Lemongrass calms the nerve (nerve tonic), sedative, increases perspiration, diuretic.
  • Used in folk remedy to treat coughs, fever, tuberculosis, leprosy, filariasis, malaria, inflammation of eye, gingivitis, pneumonia and vascular disorders.
  • Lemon grass oil is used to improve digestion, relieves nausea, menstruation problems, headaches. Its external application relieves muscle cramps, spasms, rheumatic pains, athlete’s foot, ringworm, lice, scabies.
  • Oil applied externally improves skin complexion
  • Used in malarial fever.

Other uses of Lemongrass

  • As a flavouring agent, gives lemon flavour to food and beverages.
  • Used to make deodorants, soaps, cosmetics, hair oil, aromatherapy etc
  • Used as insect repellent
  • Synthesis of vitamin A
  • Heart of young shoot is used as vegetable with rice

Folk remedies of Lemongrass

  • 2-3 drops essential oil is added to hot water and taken orally to relieve flatulence and abdominal pain.
  • Few drops of oil is taken with lemon juice in cholera.
  • In severe headache and fever, dried lemongrass leaves are put in hot water and kept for sometime, filtered and this water is used for bathing.
  • Lemongrass tea or decoction prepared with 3-4 dried leaves, is used as antispasmodic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, diuretic and sedative.
  • Hot water extract of dried leaves and stem taken orally act as renal antispasmodic and diuretic.
  • Oral intake of hot infusion of whole plant is used to stimulate or increase the menstrual flow (emmenagogue)
  • Hot infusion of dried lemongrass improve digestion, increases appetite, relieves catarrh, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal colic, convulsions, gastroenteritis
  • Hot water extract of roots is used orally to treat diabetes.
  • Externally the hot water extract of entire plant is used to heal wounds and fractures.

Qualities, morphology

Medicinal Qualities of Sharaban (lemon grass)
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tiktha (bitter)
Virya (potency) – Ushna (hot)
Guna (qualities) Tikshna – penetrating, sharp in nature Laghu – light to digest Ruksha – dry

Karma (therapeutic actions) of Sharban
Vidahi – causes burning sensation
Anetram – Not good for eyes
Avrishya – Anaphrodisiac

Morphology Of Cymbopogon citratus Lemongrass is a perennial grass growing to height of 5 – 7 ft. Leaves are 3-4 ft long, glabrous, linear, lemon scented and bluish green in colour. Lemon grass oil is obtained from its leaves by steam distillation.

Traditional uses, indications

Therapeutic Uses of Lemongrass
Rochana – improves taste
Deepana – kindles digestive fire
Mukhashodanam – cleanses the oral cavity
Bahuvitkancha – increases quantity of waste products of the body

Indications
Krimi – worm infestation, infections
Kasa – cough Vami – vomiting, nausea
Shleshma aamaya – diseases related to Kapha dosha
Shwasa – asthma Dadru – tinea infection, ringworm
Santapanashana – brings down the temperature
Bhutagrahavesha- Useful in psychiatric disorders, seizures by supernatural beings

Effect on dosha Balances Vata dosha and Kapha dosha

Pharmacology, Sanskrit verse

Pharmacological Activities of Lemon grass
Anti-amoebic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-diarrheal, Anti-filarial, Anti-fungal and Anti-inflammatory, Anti-depressant, Anti-oxidant, Antiseptic, Chemo-protective, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial, Hypolipidemic, Anti cancer, Anti-hypertensive, Hypocholesterolemic, Anti-spasmodic, Larvicidal activity,

Used part, dose, side effects

Part Used Whole plant, Oil

Dose Lemongrass – 3 – 6 grams Oil – 1/2 – 3 drops

Side Effects of lemon grass There are no recorded side effects. Excess dosage can cause stomach irritation, burning sensation, constipation due to its vidahi (burning), sharp and hot quality. Seek medical advice before its use in pregnancy and lactating women.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Vernacular, distribution, chemistry

Names in different Languages
English Name – Lemon Grass, Oil grass, Fever grass
Hindi Name – Gandhatrin, sharaban, Bhutrin, Harichaay, Gandabena, Agiyakhar
Kannada Name – Majjigehullu
Bengali Name – Gandatrun
Gujarati Name – Lilichaa
Marathi Name – Hirvaa chahaa, Olaa chahaa
Tamil Name – Karpurapulla
Telugu Name – Chippagaddi, Nimmagaddi
Siddha Name – Elumitchai Pul
Malayalam Name – Vasanapullu
Punjabi Name – Gandatrun, Sharabaan, Ramakarpoor
Sri lanka – Sera
Konkani Name – Oli-cha
Spanish Name – hierba limon
French Name – citronelle
Chinese Name – xiang mao

Distribution of Cymbopogon citratus It is found in Asia, Africa, America. Widely cultivated in temperate and tropical regions of the world

Chemical constituents of lemon grass Flavonoids and phenolic compounds, terpenoids and essential oils
Phytoconstituents of Essential oils
Citral, Nerol Geraniol, Citronellal, Terpinolene, Geranyl acetate, Myrecene and Terpinol Methylheptenone.

Research

Research
1. Antibacterial activity of lemongrass oil – A research study conducted to evaluate the anti bacterial activity of lemongrass oil against selected pathogenic bacterias have found that gram positive organisms are more sensitive to lemon grass oil when compared to gram negative organisms. The antibacterial activity was found progressively increasing with the increase in concentration of oil. Thus study concluded that lemongrass oil is effective against drug resistant organisms and it can be used in the treatment of infections caused by multi drug resistant organism.

2. Anti-diabetic activity – A study done to evaluate anti diabetic activity of aqueous roots and flower extract of lemongrass have showed the result of reduced fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels on administration of aqueous roots and flower extract of lemongrass and proved the significant anti diabetic effect of root and flower extract. 3. – The result of the present research study reveal that pain has gradually decreased on application of lemongrass oil and thus proves significant effect of lemongrass oil on rheumatoid arthritis.

4. Anticancer activity – A research study done to evaluate the anticancer effect of lemongrass oil and citral emulsion on cervical cancer cell lines (HeLa and ME-180) in vitro has proved its potential anticancer activity.

5. Hypocholesterolemic – Study done to evaluate cholesterol reduction and lack of genotoxic or toxic effects in mice after repeated 21-day oral intake of lemongrass essential oil have concluded its significant effect on reducing the blood cholesterol level.

6. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of lemongrass – A research done to prove the scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus have confirmed the anti-amoebic, anti-bacterial, anti-diarrheal, antifilarial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties of lemongrass. (read more here)

7. Effect of lemongrass on vascular smooth muscle A research conducted to evaluate the effect of Cymbopogon citratus and Citral on vascular smooth muscle of the isolated thoracic rat aorta have proved that citral and methanolic extracts of leaves and roots from C. citratus induces relaxation on vascular smooth muscle. The findings also provided the scientific basis for the use of this plant as traditional medicine. (read more here)

Catoergy, synonyms

Classical categorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
Raja Nighantu – Shalmalyadi Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga
Dhanvantari Nighantu – Karaviradi Varga
Shodala Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
Charaka Samhitha – Annapanavidi adhyaya

Sanskrit Synonyms of lemon grass
Guhyabija, Bhuthika, Sughanda, Athiganda jambukapriya, Bhutrena, Chatra, Atichatraka Malatrena,Gulalah Rohisha, Kutumbak, Sumali, Gochala, Rohano Gomayapriya, shringo Pumsathvanashana, Pumsthvavigraha Badira, Rasenduka

Scientific classification
Kingdom – Plantae
Division – Magnoliophyta
Class – Liliopsida
Order – Poales
Family – Poaceae
Genus – Cymbopogon Spreng
Species – citratus

Lemon grass (citronella), raw

Taste – pungent, bitter
Properties – light, dry, sharp, piercing
Potency – hot
After digestion taste transformation ( Vipaka ) – pungent
Effect on Doshas
Vata balancing
Pitta increasing
Kapha balancing

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