The lemongrass plant is a common additive to many teas Americans consume daily, but what is it and what is it used for?
Lemongrass is a warm and aromatic herb that used to be available only in parts of Asia. Today, its use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is becoming more prominent.
This article discusses the many benefits of the lemongrass plant. You’ll also learn how to use it daily to boost your overall health and well-being.
Health Benefits Of The Lemongrass Plant
According to Real Health Medical Senior TCM Physician Brandon Yew, the lemongrass plant 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 health benefits of consuming lemongrass:
1. Aids In Postpartum Recovery
Lemongrass helps moms 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 diarrhea, 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. May Decrease Blood Pressure
Consuming lemongrass tea can help to keep high blood pressure in check by inducing tranquility 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. Contains Anti-Bacterial Properties
Lemongrass has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties. As a result, 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. Alleviate Stress And Anxiety
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 (a precursor for melatonin hormone), which soothes the mind and body, and modulates the sleep-wake cycle.
5. Supports Healthy Digestion
Interestingly, citral — which is abundant in lemongrass tea — can enhance nutrient absorption and ensure a healthy metabolism. The antioxidant properties of this herb also encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria (probiotics). Moreover, the rich antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of lemongrass help to fight stomach disorders caused by the different pathogens.
How To Use The Lemongrass Plant
It’s best to consume the lemongrass plant 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, cinnamon sticks, or freshly squeezed lemon and garnish with lime before consuming.
Lemongrass Plant Precautions, According To TCM
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.
- ResearchGate. 2011. Effect of Lemongrass and Green tea on blood pressure and heart rate.
- Indigo Herbs. Lemongrass Benefits.
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