Lemongrass (Xiang Mao)Lemongrass (Xiang Mao)

Botanical Name:  Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass has a lovely lemon scent with a hint of rose, ginger, and mint included. Used in culinary dishes in Thai and Indonesian cooking it can also be used medicinally to normalize heart rate, lower blood pressure and treat menstrual cramping and acne. It is often used to cleanse the liver, kidneys, pancreas and bladder. Both the leaves and the plant’s essential oil are popular forms for treating a wide range of ailments.

Below is an overview of Lemongrass (Xiang Mao), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Lemongrass (Xiang Mao).

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Western Name: Lemongrass

Also Known As: Fever Grass, Sereh, West Indian Lemongrass, Silky Heads, Citronella Grass

Organs/Systems: Digestion, Skin, Heart, Nervous System

Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Sedating, Antifungal, Antibacterial, Antimicrobial, Antiviral, Antioxidant, Diuretic, Detoxing, Antispasmodic, Insecticidal, Rubefacient, Antiseptic, Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory, Antipyretic, Diaphoretic, Nervine, Astringent. Insomnia, anxiety, stress, high blood pressure, fevers, digestion, stomach aches, intestinal spasms, diarrhea, acne, lowers cholesterol levels, cleanses liver and kidneys, insect repellent, spasms, muscle cramps, headaches, rheumatism, Lyme disease, skin and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s.


Pin Yin: Xiang Mao

Also Known As: Ning Meng Cao

Meridians: Stomach, Lungs, Heart

Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Clears Heat/Reduces Fevers: fevers, headaches, stomach aches, respiratory disorders, colds, rheumatic pain. Calms Shen: insomnia, anxiety, stress. Relieves Spasms: muscle spasms, convulsions.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Lemongrass is a perennial in the Gramineae family and a member of the grass plant family Poaceae. It is the tallest of the lemon herbs, growing upwards of 3-6 feet above other lemon plants (lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon mint etc.) and about 4 feet wide. It resembles grass with its long, upright blades that grow in clumps. The blades are a bluish-green, sharp, thick and almost bulb-like at the base with small leaf buds at the end of each blade. They occasionally bear flowers that are large heads with false reddish-brown spikes.

Lemongrass originates from Southeast Asia, in particular Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. It also grows wild in Australia. It is now grown in the U.S., Africa, and South America, especially in Brazil. It flourishes in fertile, well-drained sandy soils in tropical climates receiving torrential rains.

Lemongrass (Xiang Mao)Parts Most Frequently Used: Medicinal – Lower Portion of the Stalk, Leaves, Oil. Culinary – Leaves, Stems.

Flavors/Temps: Acrid, Warm

Caution: Considered safe.

History/Folklore: Lemongrass tea is used for its diuretic properties to help cleanse the liver, kidneys, pancreas, bladder and digestive tract. It is also used to positively impact the way the body processes cholesterol, helping to lower blood pressure and normalize heart rate. Just a ¼ teaspoon is needed to make a wonderful refreshing tea.

The leaves can be used fresh, dried or powdered.

Lemongrass oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. It is known for a broad range of healing properties and is considered highly effective at treating many ailments. Its medicinal properties have been widely studied and confirmed.

Studies have shown that lemongrass is effective against 12 types of fungi and 22 different types of bacteria.

The constituent citral is responsible for the plants antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a different plant from Indian or Malabar lemongrass (C. flexuosus) which is largely used in the perfume industry.

The plant’s botanical name derives from the Greek words “kumbe” and “pogon” referring to the leaves boat shape, its common name, “lemongrass” derives from the plants pleasant and distinct lemon scent.

Lemongrass can be used to substitute in cooking for lemon zest in cake and cookie recipes. Slicing and slightly bruising the leaves helps to release the flavor. It also freezes well. Be sure to soak dried lemongrass for about two hours in warm water before using in cooking.

Lemongrass can also be mixed with shampoo to help combat greasy hair. The oil is also good as an antiperspirant and is often an ingredient in soaps and lotions. It possesses natural astringent and toning properties that stimulate blood circulation and tone the dermal tissues, helping to lift and firm sagging skin and treat stubborn acne. It is used in Africa as a body wash.

Lemongrass oil can be blended with massage oil to help relieve nervous disorders such as vertigo, convulsions, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Two drops added to your bath water or foot bath will help relieve toxic substances from your body.

Lemongrass oil can be used as a pesticide or preservative. While it repels mosquitoes and whitefly adults, it is also a lure for honey bees. Growing it near tomatoes and broccoli can prevent your having to use pesticides to protect these plants. In India the oil is used to preserve ancient palm-leaf manuscripts. The oil is also used to spice pickles and marinades. In Brazil, they make a tea infused with lemongrass extract made from either fresh or dried leaves.

Lemongrass oil is good for reviving the body, mind, and spirit connection. It is excellent for treating depression, loneliness, lack of confidence and emotional instability.

1 teaspoon of lemongrass powder equals one stalk of fresh lemongrass. 10-15 grams decocted in water is a typical dosage for oral administration. It can be prepared as a poultice or paste for use on the skin and is rarely used in extract form.

Key Constituents:

Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Zinc, Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Thiamine (Vitamin B1), Vitamins A and C, Folate, Essential oils (including Citral, Lemonal, Aldehyde, Geraniol, Limonene, Nerol, Myrcene, Citronellol), Ketones, Flavonoids, Phenolic compounds, Esters.

Did you know?

Grows Wild

Lemongrass grows wild in Indonesia, Australia, and Indochina.


Possibly Reduces Fat

It is thought its detoxing and diuretic properties help to reduce excess fats and uric acid from body tissues.

Fun fact!

Lemongrass Oil and Pepper

Lemongrass Oil and black pepper are commonly mixed together to alleviate menstrual problems and nausea.

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