By Vina Medenilla

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a plant that usually grows in tropical or subtropical places like Asia, South America, and Africa. In the Philippines, it is commonly known as tanglad. It has long, thin leaves that’s used as a scent, flavoring for food, and as a medicinal plant in many cultures. Lemongrass tea is used in traditional medicine in many cultures and can serve as a remedy for fever, headache, diarrhea, and other ailments. Lemongrass essential oil is aromatic and is commonly used in perfumes, soaps, humidifiers, and cosmetics. The leaves are also used to flavor many Asian dishes.

The health benefits of lemongrass include:

Lessening oral infections and cavities

In a 2012 study conducted by National Institute of Health and Family Welfare in India, lemongrass oil ranks as the second-highest oil to be proven effective against Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that can be found in cavities that lead to oral problems like tooth decay. This study shows the effectiveness of the antibacterial abilities of lemongrass oil.

Containing antioxidants that help fight body toxins

Phynne Barnett, Branding Manager of Gold In Grass Corporation shared the benefits of lemongrass during an event called Stuck on You: A pre-valentine cactus and ornamental show. According to her, lemongrass contains antioxidants called flavonoids and phytochemicals which help feed organs like the kidney and liver. They are also a big help in the prevention of coronary dysfunctions, as it helps remove toxins that may possibly cause coronary blockage. Antioxidants have the capacity to draw out toxins from the body. These antioxidants can be found in the lemongrass’ leaves, and not in the roots or the stems. So when it comes to getting health benefits, make sure to use the leaves or the petals.

Serving as insect repellent

The benefits of lemongrass aren’t just internal. The herb can also help keep homes insect-free, as it repels mosquitos, ants, flies, and even cockroaches. Barnett says that adding a drop of lemongrass essential oil to a liter of dishwashing liquid will lessen the cockroach problem in one’s kitchen.

Another way to do this would be to place crushed lemongrass leaves on one’s window sills. Using natural lemongrass oil as an insect repellant helps the environment and protects humans from harmful chemicals found in commercial insect repellants.

Being a natural diuretic

Studies show that lemongrass is a natural diuretic that has no adverse side effects. It can help flush out harmful toxic wastes in one’s body, which also means that it keeps your digestive system clean and healthy.

Helping control body odor and heal skin and joint problems
Based on the book Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche by Peter and Kate Damian, lemongrass can help reduce lactic acid and tones connective tissues in our body that soothe aches and pains. It also has antiseptic properties that can help reduce oily skin and acne. Lastly, lemongrass essential oil reduces bacterial growth in the body and serves as a treatment for body odor due to its antibacterial properties.

Though it has numerous health benefits, lemongrass shouldn’t be used by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people undergoing chemotherapy without their doctor’s consent.