Lemongrass is an aromatic herb in the grass family. Originally native to India, today this plant can be found in gardens around the world. This coarse grass, which grows to a height of three feet, is a perennial in tropical areas. In less warm climates it must be planted annually. The herb has been used medicinally for centuries, and for good reason. Lemongrass has many health benefits.
Lemongrass is full of essential nutrients including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C. It’s also high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc and iron, which are all required for the healthy functioning of the human body.
The herb contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. The main component of lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which supplies anti-fungal and anti-microbial qualities, while also providing its distinctive lemony smell.
The health benefits of lemongrass include lowering cholesterol, detoxing the kidneys and liver, reducing uric acid, supporting the digestive system and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Lemongrass also inhibits the formation of biofilm (bacteria that sticks together and then adheres to other surfaces) throughout the body, helps to heal gastric ulcers, and stimulates bowel function. Its antibacterial properties fight against pathogens such as H. pylori and E. coli in the digestive tract.
This herb calms muscles and nerves, helping the body to relax into sleep while increasing the duration of sleep. It helps to heal coughs and colds, lowers fevers, and reduces aches and pains including headaches, migraines, backaches, muscle spasms and cramps.
Lemongrass stimulates the brain and helps combat convulsions, nervousness, vertigo, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It boosts the immune system, helps in strengthening skin tissue, protects cells from free radicals, cleanses the spleen, and stimulates the regeneration of cells.
Finally, lemongrass treats edema, helping the body eliminate excess fluid by cleansing lymphatic congestion.
Lemongrass is extremely easy to grow in the garden or in containers. I add a plant or two every spring to my herb garden and snip the ends of the grass blades to brew lemongrass tea. The herb may be purchased dried as well. Lemongrass can also be added to soups and sauces. I found a cilantro lemongrass dressing recipe that I am excited to try.
The flavor of lemongrass is very similar to lemon balm, and both make a refreshing hot or cold drink. Lemongrass tea is included in my rotation of herbal teas. Although I enjoy it as an afternoon tea, it is especially soothing in the evening before bedtime.
I am, in fact, enjoying a freshly brewed cup of lemongrass tea as I write this post. I know it is already sending healing benefits through my body.
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