Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a fragrant herb native to Africa & South East Asia. Its leaves contain citronella oil, which has antibacterial properties. The oil also helps relieve stress and anxiety. The aromatic leaves are grown for many purposes.
It is believed that Indian lemongrass was originally cultivated in India around 3,500 years ago. Today, it is grown in tropical countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka where there is a warm climate and humid climates.
It is an important part of Asian cuisine because of its aromatic flavor. The entire stalks are regularly used for culinary purposes in various dishes and marinades, stir-fries, spice rubs, curry pastes, and other Asian dishes. The green leaves are also used in making herbal teas.
Lemongrass has long been used as a natural remedy for colds and flu. In recent years, studies have shown that lemongrass contains antibacterial properties, which makes it effective against viruses such as herpes simplex virus (HSV) and influenza virus.
Lemongrass is also known to boost metabolism and increase energy levels. This makes it a great addition to your daily diet.
It contains citronella, limonene, geraniol, and terpinen-4-ol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The leaves of the lemongrass plant contain citronella, limonene, linalool, and eugenol. These compounds are responsible for the fresh aroma and medicinal properties of the herb.
How to grow lemongrass
1) Choose the right location to grow your lemongrass plant
You will need room for your plants to grow and plenty of sunlight and direct light. Plant lemongrass in a sunny spot as it is a tropical plant that loves sunlight. You can also grow them indoors next to a sunny windowsill.
2) Prepare the container
If you have the luxury of ground space, there is nothing like it. Growing lemongrass in the ground will ensure that you have an abundance of it for everyday use. Before planting anything, prepare the ground by digging out weeds and removing rocks and debris. This step is very important because if you do not prepare the soil properly, you may end up with a lot of problems later on down the road. Healthy soil will give you healthy plants.
If you are growing plants in pots, you will need the right potting soil. The soil surface should be loose and aerated for the proper growth of the roots. The soil should be mixed with manure and prepared so that the rich soil, the fertile soil has the required nutrients for the plant to grow well.
The potted plants should be equipped with sufficient holes for proper drainage. This will ensure that there is no root rot from stagnant water or soggy soil.
3) Get your lemongrass sapling or lemongrass seeds
It's easy to grow lemongrass from seed. It takes about 3 weeks for the plant to sprout. When it does, you should thin out the plants so they're not too close together. Planting lemongrass seeds in containers is an easy way to grow them. They don't need much space, but they do need light. They also spread fast, so make sure you don't let them take over your entire garden. Sow seeds in pots, and plant them 6" apart. Thin out your plants when they're 3", but make sure you leave enough room between each row so you don't end up planting too close together.
You can either wait for the seedlings to grow, or buy young plants at nurseries. If you choose to get plants, make sure you pick ones that are already established. They'll be easier to care for than seedlings. You can get your lemongrass sapling at the UrbanMali plant store.
4) Planting lemongrass
Once you've chosen your site, dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root ball of your plant. Make sure you remove all of the dirt around the base of the plant. Add some compost to the bottom of the hole. Place the plant in the hole, making sure its roots are covered with soil. Fill the hole back in with more soil. Water the plant thoroughly, and then add mulch to help retain moisture. Keep watering as needed. Lemongrass can be grown in a wide range of soils including poor soils.
It will take 2-3 months before you see new leaves appear. Once you start seeing new leaves, keep watering the plant regularly.
5) Water and feed your lemongrass plant
After you have planted your seeds, water them regularly so they can grow into healthy plants. Be sure to keep the soil moist but not wet. Moist soil is required for the germination process.
Plants require rich, well-drained soil whether it is in containers or the ground. You can water your plants either during early mornings or late evenings. This will promote better growth as watering during the daytime with peak sun will cause heat stress due to higher day temperatures.
Fertilizing your plants is essential to their growth. Use a fertilizer that contains both nitrogen and phosphorous. These nutrients help your plants to grow bigger and stronger. You'll want to fertilize your lemongrass every month or two. To do this, simply apply fertilizer directly to the soil near the base of the plant using a trowel.
7) Harvesting your lemongrass
To harvest lemongrass, cut off the bottom leaves and then use a sharp knife to slice the stalk down to the base. Then, remove the outer layer which until only the white pith remains. Finally, peel away the tough skin with your fingers. Remove the dry outer leaves.
Actual Health benefits of lemongrass
Lemongrass has been used for centuries to treat digestive issues such as diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach ulcers.
It also helps with weight loss and can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Lemongrass has been used to treat, respiratory conditions, skin infections, and other ailments.
The oil extracted from this plant contains essential oils with antiseptic properties.
Lemongrass has been used in traditional medicine for treating colds, coughs, sore throats, flu-like symptoms, fever, headaches. It has antimicrobial properties.
It helps improve blood circulation. It contains citronellal which increases the flow of blood. Citronellol and geraniol are present in lemongrass, which increases the flow of blood.
Lemongrass is very effective in lowering high blood sugar levels. It lowers the glucose level in the blood by increasing insulin secretion.
Lemongrasses contain flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol, which act as antioxidants. They help prevent damage caused by free radicals.
The oil extracted from lemongrass contains Citral and linalool. These compounds kill mosquito larvae.
Lemongrass acid is an ingredient used to treat menstrual disorders.
Lemongrass is used for skin care because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It has value for eczema, psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, and rashes.
Citronella grass contains linalool which relaxes muscles and relieves muscle.
Lemongrass contains Citral and limonene, which have anti-cancer effects.
It contains citronellol, which stimulates the immune system.
How to make lemongrass tea
- cut the aromatic stalk of lemongrass into 1- to 2-inch pieces
- boil a cup of water
- pour the hot water over the lemongrass stalks to steep
- leave the stalks in the water for at least 5 minutes
- strain the liquid from the stalks and pour into a teacup
- Adding ice cubes will create a cold lemongrass tea.
The tea should have a fresh, citrus, lemony flavor. A person should start with one cup of lemongrass tea per day, then add more to their diet over the next days if they wish to.
FAQ on lemongrass
Is lemongrass good for diabetes?
Yes, it helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels.
How do you dry lemongrass leaves for tea?
Dry the leaves by placing them in a paper bag and leave them overnight in a warm room. Store them in an airtight container.
Does lemongrass keep mosquitoes away?
Yes, this tropical herb repels mosquitoes.
What can lemongrass essential oil be used for?
Lemongrass is used in aromatherapy. The fragrant plant helps relieve stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, menstrual cramps, and indigestion.
What happens if you drink lemongrass tea every day?
You may experience nausea, dizziness, headache, and even vomiting.
Is Lemon Grass good for hair?
Lemongrass is very helpful for people who suffer from dandruff.
What are the benefits of Lemongrass tea?
Lemongrass tea is an excellent remedy for heartburn and indigestion caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.
Can lemongrass help me lose weight?
Lemongrass tea is a detox tea to kick-start your metabolism and help you lose weight.
How to extract the oil?
Grind the leaves and press the juice through a sieve. Finally, heat the strained liquid until it boils and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain again and collect the oil.
Further reading10 Medicinal plants to grow at home
Dr. Vandana K.