You may have tasted the refreshingly mild flavor of lemongrass, an herb that's commonly added to foods and beverages. But have you ever tried using lemongrass oil, an all-around herbal oil with many health benefits? Keep on reading to discover more about lemongrass oil. Be sure and try our Lemongrass Sage Organic Soap.
What Is Lemongrass Oil?
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon) is a tall perennial plant from the Poaceae grass family, which thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, such as in India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, and Guatemala. This plant grows in dense clumps and has bright-green, sharp-edged leaves, similar to grass.1
Lemongrass is a popular flavoring in Asian cooking – added to curries and soups, or paired with beef, fish, poultry, and seafood. Fresh lemongrass is also used to make lemongrass tea.2
The two varieties of lemongrass most popularly used today are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus.3 While they can be used interchangeably, especially for making lemongrass oil, C. citratus is more popularly known in culinary applications, while C. flexuosus is more dominant in industrial applications, such as perfumery.4
Lemongrass oil is extracted from the leaves of the plant. It has a thin consistency, and a pale or bright yellow color. It has a strong, fresh, lemony, and earthy scent.
Uses of Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass oil is a great addition to various skin care and cosmetic products, such as soaps, deodorants, shampoos, lotions, and tonics. It also works as an air freshener and deodorizer, especially when blended with other essential oils like geranium or bergamot. Simply put it in an oil burner, diffuser, or vaporizer.5
Lemongrass oil is also known for its ability to repel insects, such as mosquitoes and ants, due to its high citral and geraniol content.6 Spray it around your home, diffuse it, or rub a diluted mixture on your skin.
Lemongrass oil's refreshing scent makes it a valuable aromatherapeutic oil. Its clean and calming aroma helps relieve stress, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia, and prevent drowsiness.7, Lemongrass oil can also help relax and tone your muscles, as well as relieve muscle pain, rheumatism, period cramps, stomachache, toothache, migraines, and headaches.9, 10
Here are some ways to use lemongrass oil:
- Make a refreshing foot bath. Add two drops to a bowl of warm water, and soak your feet for 10 minutes. If your feet are aching, add two tablespoons of Epsom salts.11
- Make a massage oil by mixing it withsweet almond or jojoba oil.12
- Kill your pet's fleas and lice by spraying diluted lemongrass oil all over his coat. You can also soak his collar in it, add it to his final rinse after shampooing, or spray it on his bedding.13
- Blend it into your favorite bath products or add it to your bath water.
Composition of Lemongrass Oil
The main compounds of lemongrass oil are geranyl acetate, myrcene, nerol, citronellal, terpineol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, neral, farnesol, limonene, and citral. These are known to have antifungal, antiseptic, insecticidal, and counterirritant properties.14, 15
Citral is known for its antimicrobial effects, and can help kill or suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi. It's said that lemongrass oil's quality is generally determined by its citral content.16
Another beneficial compound in lemongrass is limonene, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, according to research.17
Benefits of Lemongrass Oil
Lemongrass oil has analgesic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, carminative, astringent, antipyretic, fungicidal, bactericidal, and antidepressant properties,18 making it one of the most versatile and health-promoting essential oils. It works well for:
- Inflammation — Lemongrass is an analgesic that can help reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to many chronic diseases. According to a 2005 study by Dr. Sue Chao, lemongrass oil is one of the top six essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties.19
- Hair problems — If you're struggling with hair loss, oily hair, and other scalp conditions, lemongrass oil may be beneficial, as it can help strengthen your hair follicles. Just apply a diluted solution onto your scalp, and then rinse out.20
- Infections — Lemongrass can help kill both internal and external bacterial and fungal infections, such as ringworm and athlete's foot.21 In a 2008 study from the Weber State University in Utah, it was found that out of 91 essential oils tested, lemongrass ranked highest in inhibitory activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.22
- Fever — The antipyretic effect of lemongrass oil helps bring down very high fever, especially when it is beginning to reach dangerous levels.23
- Digestive issues — A diluted lemongrass mixture may assist in facilitating nutrient assimilation and boosts the functioning of the digestive system, which is helpful alleviating bowel problems and digestive disorders.24 It may also prevent the formation of excessive gas and increases urination, which helps eliminate toxins from the body.