From an antiseptic to insect repellent, lemongrass essential oil not only has many medicinal benefits, but can also be used in and around the home. Lemongrass is used in a variety of Chinese and Thai dishes as well as teas and tonics.
Lemongrass is a perennial herb native to India. The West Indian lemongrass is known as Cymbopogon citratus and the East Indian variety is known as Cymbopogon flexuosus. Lemongrass plants are clump-forming grasses that are also found in Guatemala, China, Indochina and Sri Lanka. In India, lemongrass is sometimes called "choomana poolu" and "Indian Verbena."
The oil made from lemongrass leaves by steam distillation results in a sweet, lemon-smelling compound due to the main aldehyde it contains, citral. Hence, the higher the citral content, the more potent the oil.
Lemongrass essential oil has a variety of medicinal properties. It can be used as a sedative, antidepressant, antimicrobial, fever-reducer, antiseptic, deodorant and astringent. Lemongrass oil can also be used to alleviate jet lag and relieve tension.
Essential oils made from lemongrass have also been used in perfumes, deodorants, detergents, soaps and creams. It is a beneficial massage oil, relieving sore, achy muscles and improving blood circulation. Oily skin, acne and athlete's foot are no match for lemongrass.
Because it contains citronellal, lemongrass oil is a beneficial insect repellent. It can even be used on pets to fight fleas and ticks. Used in an oil burner or vaporizer, lemongrass oil is a refreshing room deodorizer.
Lemongrass essential oil can irritate those with sensitive skin. Always use the oil sparingly and diluted.