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Friday, December 31, 2010

Know Your Herbs: Benefits Of Lemongrass/Citronella

CymbopogonImage via Wikipedia

Lemongrass grows wild all over Dominica where I live.  When I go for my exercise walks in the morning I sometimes pick a few leaves and take home to either use in a lemongrass tea that day or put them to dry for me to use on another day. Lemongrass smells wonderful.  I like to take a piece of leaf and squeeze it in my hand and just smell it.  I also use lemongrass when I make cooked cereal - either cornmeal, oatmeal or combination of the two.

In doing research as usual, I found out that lemongrass is also known as citronella.  What a thing!  I never knew that.  I also found out that is called Fever Grass here in the Caribbean.  I live in the Caribbean and didn't know that either.  Shame, shame, shame.  I knew that it is used to reduce fever but didn't know that it was actually called Fever Grass. Another discovery I made was that it is also used to flavor food when cooking. Considering how I like to use herbs in cooking it's amazing that using lemongrass to flavor food never occurred to me. It's like when I discovered that Rosemary could be used to make tea.

Moving on. There are many lemongrass benefits:
  1. relieves insomnia or stress
  2. insect repellent
  3. neutralizes excessive barking of dogs
  4. helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract
  5. alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis
  6. helps improve the skin by reducing pimples and can also help in eliminating acne when used as toner
  7. can be used as a remedy for ague and colds
  8. can help with stomach aches, gas, bowel spasms, and diarrhea
  9. acts as a sedative for the central nervous system, can calm nerves and is a general mood enhancer
  10. can help relieve menstrual problems and nausea
  11. can promote perspiration and lower fevers or cool the body in high temperatures
  12. may also help lower cholesterol levels
  13. it also aides in lactation
  14. promote proper blood circulation and aids in the clotting of blood in open wounds
  15. prevent contraction of hair follicles, gums and blood vessels
  16. help reduce pain from inflammation of muscles, joints, tendons and other parts of the body
  17. used to treat pain caused by viral infections such as colds and influenza
  18. used to treat oral maladies found in the gums and teeth
  19. acts as a muscle and tissue toner and helps reduce cellulite
  20. it can reduce blood pressure and maintain healthy blood pressure and kidney function
  21. has been applied in various treatments for symptoms of depression and fatigue
  22. can be helpful in keeping eyes healthy and as a treatment for keratomycosis, an inflammation of the eye
  23. protects from microbial infection in stomach, colon, urinary tracts, respiratory tract, wounds
  24. prevents skin diseases, food poisoning, typhoid, malaria, fever 
  25. removes uric acid and toxic substances from the body which protects from the pain of arthritis
  26. ideal for flatulence - allows the abdominal region to relax and allows the gas to move down
  27. may help prevent colon cancer
  28. stimulates digestion 
  29. when used externally - can help treat athlete's foot (because it has anti-fungal properties), heal cuts and sprains, and relieve arthritic pain.
Lemongrass is very easy to grow.  I looked around the Amazon site and found a packet of 60 seeds for $0.40 - forty cents.  Not a bad price.

or if you prefer the plant itself I saw there were plants available as well for $5.78.

If you're not the type that's into planting there is a pack of 6 lemon Grass stalks for about $4.50.

Whichever route you choose make sure you have lemongrass on hand to use.  Tell me - have you ever used lemongrass?  How did you use it?

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