Lemon Grass - Cymbopogon citratus

Lemongrass despite its name has no relation to the citrus family that comes to mind when you hear its name. The Lemon smell actually comes from the citral and citronellol present it and is actually closely related to Citronella grass and Ginger.


As it name indicates it is a grass which grows as you would imagine a Tussock does with a cylindrical base that tapers up into long spikes, the plant itself can grow up to 6 foot tall.

Generally speaking they only live for on average about 4 years and the first year of it growing it will really be too small and under developed to harvest anything of medicinal value.


I cut back the long spikes and then cut them in 3 so that they fit in my dehydrator and dry them as long stems still. Once they're dried I finely cut them and store them away from direct light until I want to use some.

Did you know Lemon Grass tea chilled is also a nice alternative to just plain water to keep you sipping away during the day?




Lemon Grass - Cymbopogon citratus
Lemon Grass

What is Lemon Grass used for?



Culinary

Surprisingly unlike many herbs, Lemon Grass doesn't loose its flavour when its cooked for a while which makes it the perfect herb for the slow cooker, its the flavour infusion you want from the stems not the actual stems themselves so make sure you remember to take them out before you dish up.

Lemon Grass is also rich in Calcium, Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium and iron, it also has small amounts of folate and niacin so including it into your diet if you enjoy the taste gives you much more benefit than just its flavour.



Anaemia

Anaemia is when your body does not have enough red blood cells which can be cause by loss of blood, lack of red blood cell production or destruction of the red blood cells within your body. This will leave you feeling tired and weak, you might feel dizzy, have an irregular heartbeat and headaches. Anaemia is not something I have ever struggled with, in fact I have a condition called Hemochromatosis which in plain English means I produce to many red blood cells so I actually have the opposite of Anaemia which is just as dangerous as over time it causes damage to the liver etc so when I have bad bouts of it I have to get blood drawn from me to keep it under control. Through knowing how it all works I have managed to keep it under control just by changing my diet. It may sound ridiculous as someone who farms Beef but I actually cant really eat it or some of my favourite vegetables just to keep it under control.

Lemon Grass according to this study is shown to help increase red cell production in those who are anaemic which makes for a tasty way to combat the illness due to its iron content.



Pain Relief and Relief from Arthritis

Due to its Citral content and ability to relieve inflammation this leads to a reduction in pain caused from it. This study on people with Rheumatoid Arthritis showed a 30% reduction in pain caused from their condition after taking Lemon Grass.



Insect Repellent & Antiseptic

Do you ever get sick of flies buzzing around your house in Summer? Did you know that Lemon Grass can help you with this? Lemon Grass Essential Oil in a burner will deter them from the area according to this study.

And due to its antibacterial and antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties applying it diluted to a bite will also help remove the itching and irritation caused by bites.



Lowering Blood Pressure

In this study 72 participants were given Lemon Grass Tea to drink and found a moderate decrease in systolic blood pressure and a mild increase in diastolic blood pressure. It also lowered their heart rate. If you are already on medication for your blood pressure though you should talk to your GP before consuming Lemon Grass for the reasons outlined below in who should not take it.



Anti-Inflammatory

Lemon Grass contains high amounts of Citral and Geranial which are believed to be what gives it the anti-inflammatory effect by producing proinflammatory cytokines that help stop the release of certain inflammation causing markers according to this study



Antibacterial

Inhaling the oils of Lemon Grass works as an effective treatment for bacteria, flu and colds so even inhaling that cup of tea as it steeps is good for you. In fact using it as an oil is even said to be able to be used as a herbicide and insecticide because of its antimicrobial effects according to this study It also helps that it contains Vitamins A, C beneficial for supporting the immune system.



Digestion

If you have an upset stomach, cramping or any digestive issues Lemon Grass Tea should be one of the first things you try. In fact this study shows that Lemon Grass will help protect the lining of your stomach which in turn also helps prevent gastric ulcers so if you are going to have to take medications which are known to cause them such as aspirin drinking this tea ahead of time will help prevent any potential issues.

It is also good for bloating and reducing gas due to its antibacterial properties, which eliminate bad bacteria allowing the good bacteria to flourish and promote good gut health and sooth the digestive tract leading to healthy bowel movements.



Lymphatic Drainage

The Lymphatic system is made up of vessels, glands and even includes organs such as your spleen and tonsils. As your blood runs through your body it leaks a liquid into the body tissues which covers them and absorbs and toxins contained within them, this fluid then drains back into the lymph vessels where it is moved into the Lymph glands, the glands then filter the lymph fluid with their white blood cells which remove the toxins. It is then passed onto an organ at the base of your neck called the Thoracic Duct and its role is to pass the filtered lymph back into the blood supply for circulation. If any of your glands or vessels are blocked it can cause a build up of fluid which results in swelling.

This is an excellent video showing how it all works and this study shows that Lemon Grass is effective at preventing and treating both the Lymphatic System and our Blood.



Who shouldn't consume Lemon Grass?

If you are pregnant, stay away from Lemon Grass because it is known to bring on menstrual bleeding which could induce a miscarriage.

If you are breastfeeding I would also recommend avoiding it, not because it is known to do any harm but because there isn't enough evidence to show that it is safe either.


The body breaks down any thing remaining from our digestive system through the liver and this includes the medications we take.

Taking Lemon Grass might slow down the rate the Liver breaks down the medication and therefore increase the effects and side effects of that medication so it is really just best to avoid it if you are taking anything else.



What do I use it in?

Bloating & Digestion Tea - A cleansing blend of herbs that may aid digestion and soothe the stomach. Beautiful sweet flavours of aniseed and mint with highlights from lemon and cardamom.


Cold & Flu Tea - You don't need to wait until you get sick to sip away at this tasty tea. A large part of what I believe and practice is prevention ahead of everything else. Come winter and cold and flu season drinking a cup of this tea a day will help boost your immune system and prevent your chances of picking up a cold or flu.

If you still manage to catch one, bump the dose up to 3 cups a day and this will lessen the severity of your symptoms.


Colon Cleanse Tea - Blended from a range of organic herbs that may promote digestion, effectively eliminate impurities from the body and act as a gentle laxative. A relaxing evening tea to wind down with at day's end. Sweet, minty flavours with brightness from aniseed and cardamom


Detox Tea - Our Detox Tea blend combines a range of organic herbs which may help with cleansing and detoxifying. A smooth, sweet honey-like infusion that almost tastes too good to be good for you!






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