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Lemongrass

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf. Andropogon citratus DC, A. schoenathus. C. flexuosus, A.flexuosus.
Family: Poaceae (Gramineae), Grass.

COMMON NAME(S): Lemongrass. C. citratus, is known as Guatemala, West Indian, or Madagascar lemongrass. C. flexuosus, is known as cochin lemongrass, British Indian lemongrass, East Indian lemongrass, or French Indian verbena.

Lemon grass ( Cymbopogon citratus ), a native of India, is widely used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.  Lemon grass is a perennial, which means once you plant it, the grass comes back year after year.  Depending on the area you live in the plant will go dormant in the winter.  In harsh climates the plant will need to be potted and wintered indoors. This aromatic herb is used in Caribbean and many types of Asian cooking and has become very popular in the United States.

History

Lemongrass is one of the most widely used traditional plants in South American folk medicine. It is used as an antispasmodic, analgesic, for the management of nervous and gastrointestinal disorders, to treat fevers, and as an antiemetic. In India, it is commonly used as an antitussive, antirheumatic, and antiseptic. It is usually taken by ingesting an infusion made by pouring boiling water on fresh or dried leaves. Lemongrass is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisine, especially in Thai food and has been used in flavoring. In Chinese medicine, lemongrass is used in the treatment for headaches, stomachaches, abdominal pain, and rheumatic pain.

Botany :- Cymbopogon is a tall, aromatic perennial grass that is native to tropical Asia. C. citratus is cultivated in the West Indies, Central and South America, and tropical regions. The linear leaves can grow up to 90 cm in height and 5 mm wide. Freshly cut and partially dried leaves are used medicinally and are the source of the essential oil.

Uses of Lemongrass

Lemongrass is used as a fragrance and flavoring, and in folk medicine as an antispasmodic, hypotensive, anticonvulsant, analgesic, antiemetic, antitussive, antirheumatic, antiseptic, and treatment for nervous and GI disorders and fevers. Because there is little human evidence to support its effectiveness in an oral dosage, lemongrass may be considered a placebo.

Culinary Uses

Lemon grass features in Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and Indian cooking and is widely used in savoury dishes and meat, poultry, seafood and vegetable curries. It harmonizes well with coconut milk, especially with chicken or seafood, and there are countless Thai and Sri Lankan recipes exploiting this combination. The stems are also used in teas or used in pickles and in flavouring marinades.

Drug Interactions: Constituent beta-myrcene was found to interfere with cytochrome P450 liver enzymes, suggesting possible toxicities.

Side Effects of Lemongrass

Lemongrass is considered to be of low toxicity. Lemongrass should not be used in pregnancy because of uterine and menstrual flow stimulation.

Dosage

Lemongrass can be taken as a tea with the recommended dosage of a warm cup of tea taken one to four times a day between or after meals, or as required. The infusion of coarsely cut or powdered grass is made using 2g of herb material to one cup of boiling water. The boiling water is poured over the herb material and extracted for 5-10 minutes and then strained. For hyperglycemia, dry extracts are recommended with the dosage of 80mg daily, taken in combination with other botanical extracts to support proper blood glucose levels.

Toxicology

Lemongrass is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in the US.

Topical application of lemongrass has rarely led to an allergic reaction. Two cases of toxic alveolitis have been reported from inhalation of the oil.No laboratory test abnormalities were noted after ingestion of lemongrass tea. Achara, an herbal tea made from dried lemongrass leaves, was found to be atoxic. Aqueous extracts of the plant used as an insecticide led to some mitotic abnormalities in Allium cepa root tips grown these extracts, which may have implications in humans. In addition, constituent beta-myrcene was found in reports to interfere with cytochrome liver enzymes, suggesting possible toxicities.

Lemongrass should not be used in pregnancy because of uterine and menstrual flow stimulation.

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