Dr. Rizwan Ahmed
LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon citratus) is so named because of the lemon-like fragrance it emits from its leaves when crushed or boiled. It is a popular perennial grass, the leaves of which grow up to one meter long. It is cultivated in many countries for its fragrant leaves.
In the Sahih it is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Do not cut its plant.” Al-Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said except for Al-ithkhir, O Messenger of Allah (pbuh) for their (the people of Makkah) servants use it and it is also used for their houses.” The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Except for Al-ithkhir.”
The Palmarosa species of the lemongrass has a distinct sweet-smelling oil that can be of significant use in aromatherapy. It has a calming effect that can relieve stress and tension in the body. One can enjoy the relaxing mood effect of lemongrass by using it in a massage or during bath. The lemongrass can even be utilized as a mild depressant.
The lemongrass also has good effects on the body. It can help significantly in detoxifying the organs in the digestive system like pancreas, kidney, bladder and liver.
This is made possible because the lemongrass helps in cutting down cholesterol, uric acid and toxins in the system.
At the same time, this helps in stimulating digestion and blood circulation. Consequently, gastroenteritis and indigestion can be avoided. It also strengthens and gives tone and vitality to the body, lowers body heat and prevents or cures spasms. Its use is recommended in cases of vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dysmenorrhea, chronic rheumatism, and sprains. It is also very useful for insomnia or sleeplessness.
Anti-inflammatory/analgesia: Conflicting analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects have been demonstrated in experiments on animals.
Antioxidant action: Lemongrass oil (C. citratus ) has shown antioxidant and radical-scavenging activity in several experiments.
Cardiovascular: Dose-related hypotensive effects and weak diuretic actions have been demonstrated in rats. In one study, lemongrass extract reduced the cardiac rate but did not alter the contractile force in isolated rat hearts.
Diabetes: A study found that lemongrass leaf tea ingested for two weeks induced no hypoglycemic changes; however, an experiment on rats demonstrated dose-dependent decreases in fasting blood glucose levels.
Commonly used for its citrus-like flavor in soups and teas in Asian cuisines, lemongrass is also thought to have medicinal properties and medical uses, some of which have been supported in scientific research.
Anti-cancer: Lemongrass essential oil may protect against cancer, according to a study published in the November 2010 “Journal of Applied Toxicology.”
Laboratory mice exposed to a substance that damaged white blood cells and to several carcinogenic substances consumed 500 mg of lemongrass essential oil per kg of body weight, and showed less white blood cell damage and fewer cancerous growths than controlled groups that did not receive lemon grass, according to study authors L.T. Bidinotto et al., at Instituto de Biociências, Botucatu, Brazil.
Anti-inflammatory: Lemongrass tea may offer potent anti-inflammatory benefits, according to researchers V. Francisco et al. at Centro de Estudos Farmacêuticos, Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal. Rich in polyphenol anti-oxidants, lemongrass leaf extract inhibited nuclear factor kappa-B – a gene that promotes the body’s stress response – and also inhibited a pro-inflammatory enzyme, in the cell culture study, published in the January 2011 “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” The researchers concluded that lemongrass tea may have promise for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.
Anti-convulsant: Anti-convulsant effects against neurotoxins such as strychnine may be included in the list of health benefits of lemongrass essential oil, according to a study by M.R. Silva et al. at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Federal University of Cear?, Cear?, Brazil.
How to Use
The extract from the leaves is to be taken internally with milk or as a herbal tea to take care of all the ailments listed under medicinal use.
Lemongrass is generally recognized as safe.
A suggested safe limit for humans (based on an experiment in rats) is 0.7 mg/kg/day of the essential oil.
Lemongrass may sound and look very ordinary to you but there are many wonders you can get from this plant. So get to know lemongrass better and it may just be the answer to one of your needs today.
– The writer can be contacted on Islamicmedicines@gmail.com