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Cymbopogon citratus, commonly known as lemon grass or oil grass, is a tropical plant from Southeast Asia.

Culinary uses

Cymbopogon citratus is abundant in the Philippines where it’s known as tanglad. Its fragrant leaves are traditionally used in cooking, particularly for lechon and roasted chicken.[2]

Medicinal uses

Cymbopogon citratus is often sold in stem form. While it can be grown in warmer temperate regions (such as UK) it is not hardy to frost.

In the folk medicine of Brazil it is believed to have anxiolytic, hypnotic and anticonvulsant properties,[3][4] but at least one study has found no effect on humans.[5] Laboratory studies have shown cytoprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties in vitro.[6][7][8] Citronellol is an essential oil constituent from the Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon winterianus and Lippia alba which are thought to possess antihypertensive properties. Citronellol has been shown lower blood pressure, in rats, by a direct effect on the vascular smooth muscle leading to vasodilation.[9] In a small randomised controlled trial an infusion made from Cymbopogon citratus has been used as an inexpensive remedy for the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients.[10]

It contains 65-85% citral and active ingredients like myrcene, an antibacterial and pain reliever, citronella, citronellol and geranilol. Hydro steam distillation, condensation and cooling were used to separate the oil from the water. Hydrosol or Hydrolat, as a by-product of the distillation process, is a pure natural water or plant water essence used for the production of skin care products such as lotions, creams and facial cleansing toner in its pure form. The main products are organic unadulterated lemon grass oil (for industrial users), and “Negros Oil” (mixture of lemon grass oil with virgin coconut oil) used in aromatherapy.[11]

Other uses

Beekeepers sometimes use lemon grass oil in swarm traps to attract swarms.

Written on June 8th, 2012 , Forestry Tags:

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