In the past, lemongrass was only available in countries like India and Sri Lanka. Today, this warm and aromatic herb is a common ingredient in Asia and other parts of the world for cooking various recipes, brewing tea, and producing essential oils. Interestingly, it is also a prominent herbal ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), providing unique health benefits to remedy different ailments.
5 Benefits of Lemongrass for Your Overall Well-Being
It’s best to consume lemongrass as a tea beverage. To prepare lemongrass tea,
- Place the ingredients onto a tea strainer and set the strainer on a teacup.
- Pour boiling water into the teacup and steep for 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove the tea strainer.
- Add sweeteners like honey or brown sugar and garnish with lime before consuming.
According to Real Health Medical Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew, this herb is particularly useful for expelling exogenous pathogens like wind and dampness and dissipating blood clots. It also warms the body core, stimulates blood and qi (vital life energy) circulation, and unblocks meridian channels.
Here are some ways the aromatic herb can benefit a person’s physical and mental health.
1. Supports postpartum recovery
Lemongrass helps mothers recover during their confinement period. The primary use of this ingredient is to prevent wind and dampness. It’s also suitable for relieving conditions like diarrhoea, headaches, rheumatism, and stomach pain.
Likewise, this herb can be good for regulating menstruation and treating postpartum swelling. The consumption of a herbal tonic that combines lemongrass, bird’s nest, and snow fungus can also nourish one’s bodily fluids, skin, and lungs and improve complexion.
2. Improves blood pressure regulation
Consuming lemongrass tea can help to keep high blood pressure in check by inducing tranquillity and suppressing inflammation. Studies show that people who consumed lemongrass tea achieved relaxation. The participants also showed a significant reduction in heart rate and a moderate decrease in blood pressure.
3. Helps in the treatment of infections
Lemongrass has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties. Because of this, lemongrass essential oil is a potential treatment for conditions like ringworm, scabies, athlete’s foot, and yeast infections.
The ability of this ingredient to remedy infections is due to a high content of citral — a chemical compound — in lemongrass essential oil. This chemical compound is especially effective in reducing infections caused by the Candida albicans fungus.
4. Helps relieve anxiety and stress
The herb can also help calm a person’s nerves. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that subjects experiencing anxiety in a specific situation reported a decrease of emotion when exposed to the scent of lemongrass essential oil.
In addition, the calming properties of lemongrass can promote restful sleep. The herb induces the release of serotonin, which soothes the mind and body, and modulates the sleep-wake cycle.
5. Supports digestive health
Interestingly, citral — which is abundant in lemongrass tea — can enhance nutrient absorption and ensure a healthy metabolism. The antioxidative properties of this herb also encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. Moreover, the rich antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of lemongrass help to fight stomach disorders caused by the different pathogens.
Precautions When Consuming Lemongrass
People with heaty, excessive yang (active energy) or yin-deficient body constitutions should limit their use of lemongrass. Otherwise, it can exacerbate symptoms like constipation, dizziness, headaches, sweating, thirst, dry mouth, gum pain, and a sore throat. Pregnant women should avoid this herb altogether.
Physician Yew also cautions against the use of this herb by people with gastric disorders, such as ulcers. “From a TCM perspective, people who have weak spleen function or digestion should avoid this herb, or else their symptoms like abdominal bloating and pain might worsen,” he notes.
However, this herb may still be prescribed in measured amounts by TCM professionals based on their assessment and diagnosis of a patient’s body constitution and medical condition. “As it can dissipate blood clots and invigorate blood circulation, people who have bleeding disorders or are on blood-thinning medications should consult a TCM professional to properly assess their suitability for lemongrass consumption,” Physician Yew adds.
While lemongrass and other similar herbs offer many benefits, it’s worth noting that herbs have varying toxicity levels. Therefore, TCM believes that we should avoid self-medication. It’s advisable to undergo a thorough medical assessment by a healthcare provider before seeking the advice of a TCM practitioner.
- Nanny SOS. 2017. Confinement Bathing Herbs – Lemongrass. [Accessed 1 November 2021]
- ResearchGate. 2011. Effect of Lemongrass and Green tea on blood pressure and heart rate. [Accessed 1 November 2021]
- Indigo Herbs. Lemongrass Benefits. [Accessed 1 November 2021]