Lemongrass: It's Not Just Delicious!

Lemongrass: It's Not Just Delicious!

November 15, 2017

As with many of the essential oils included in Corked blends, Lemongrass has an extensive history that dates back thousands of years. Unlike many of the other essential oils, though, Lemongrass has an enormously higher rate of use in Southeast Asia, South America, and the Caribbean, rather than Northeastern Asia, Northern Africa, and/or the Middle East. [1]

Its roots (lol, see what I did there?) in Southeast Asia lay primarily in southern India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines where it is grown and harvested both as an ingredient in holistic and natural medicines, and as an ingredient in culinary recipes. It is believed that, although Lemongrass is incredibly popular around the world, Southeast Asia is the region from which it originates. Historians speculate that it was used in trade and bartering dating as far back as the 17th century [2] in which Filipino merchants began exporting it as a crop. However, these are merely speculations and cannot be completely verified. At any rate, the explosion of its popularity came in 1951, in which the World’s Fair was presented with citronella oil for the first time. As we'll discuss later in the blog, citronellal is one of the major constituents of Lemongrass and is the primary constituent of Citronella oil. The discovery and presentation of Citronella led to the discovery of its presence in Lemongrass, thus the drastic increase in popularity, usage, and ultimately, cultivation. Farmers in tropical climates around the world began growing Lemongrass, which explains why countries nearest the ocean and the equator are very commonly the places in which Lemongrass is grown in the largest quantities. This also led to different interpretation and employment of its medicinal and culinary properties and can be attributed to its vast array of uses in both realms. 

Culinarily speaking, the “lemony” traits of it’s flavor lend itself well to things like teas, soups, and curries which can be vegan, and also as an ingredient for a rub or marinade with beef, poultry, fish, and other seafoods - all of which make it an incredibly popular ingredient in the kitchen! As much as we love food here, we’re more about essential oils than cuisine, so let’s dive into what makes Lemongrass essential oil such a powerful tool in holistic medicine! [3]

Similar to the previously discussed Lemon essential oil, Lemongrass essential oil contains many of the notable constituents of other citrus oils like citronellal, limonene, and citral, as well as several others. [4] These constituents make Lemongrass a powerful astringent and sedative, much like the other citrus oils we’ve discussed! Because of this, Lemongrass a great inclusion in things like teas when trying to combat the symptoms of illnesses like colds and coughs that affect the respiratory system. Historically, this is the primary method by which the potential for medicinal effects of Lemongrass were sought. Ancient Indian cultures, some as old as 5,000 years, have left behind traditions for which Lemongrass plays a role in fighting symptoms of many types of illnesses, including respiratory illnesses and infections. Aside from its traits in combating respiratory illnesses, Lemongrass is used now all over the world for many other symptoms. Further north and east, in countries like China and Taiwan, Lemongrass is commonly employed for pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, as well as stomachache and other digestive issues. However, in Brazil and the Caribbean, it is commonly used for symptoms involving the nervous system. [5]

Regardless of where and why it's been used historically, it's clear that Lemongrass can be an incredible addition to your essential oil regimen. Use it in teas for stomach and respiratory remedies, or diffuse it for a similar effect! Fortunately, the latter is available to you at the click of a button! Lemongrass is one of the primary ingredients in Refresh, as well as our current Mix of the Month - Serendipity! Head on over to either of those products and order one for yourself to give it a shot! You may even find your new favorite essential oil. 

Sources:

  1. https://appreciategoods.com/lemongrass/
  2. http://www.herbalpedia.com/blog/?p=73 
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbopogon
  4. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-lemongrass-essential-oil.html
  5. http://www.herbalpedia.com/blog/?p=73