Health Benefits of Lemongrass

lemongrassor lemongrass is a species of grass native to Asia that is used both as a culinary herb and to make a caffeine-free herbal tea. Lemongrass is widely used in Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Thai cuisines, and is also commonly used as an ingredient in herbal teas and other concoctions.

Is it important that it smells like lemon?

Although unrelated to lemons, lemongrass has a distinctive lemon flavor as it contains a number of chemical compounds in its essential oil, including citral, citronellol, and geraniol. A number of other herbs, also unrelated, have similar lemony flavors because they share different concentrations of the same chemicals; These herbs include lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon myrtle. Intriguingly, many of these “lemony” chemicals are responsible for the medicinal properties of these plants.

Lemongrass Health Benefits:

A growing body of evidence points to lemongrass’s antiviral and antifungal activity, as well as the potential to prevent or treat cancer. However, most of these properties were only observed under the controlled conditions of in vitro (Lab culture/test tube/petri dish) experiments and it is not clear to what extent these benefits would actually be available to people drinking lemongrass tea.

  • Cancer Treatment and Prevention – There is some preliminary evidence that lemongrass may be used to prevent or treat cancer. Citral has been found in laboratory experiments to activate the cell death program of cancer cells. Various anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic chemicals have been isolated and identified from lemongrass, and there is some evidence of cancer-preventive properties from studies in rats, but controlled human studies clearly demonstrating any effects in humans are lacking.
  • Analgesic (pain-relieving) properties – There is some evidence that lemongrass has analgesic properties due to the presence of the chemical myrcene. This chemical is believed to work through a different mechanism than aspirin-like pain relievers. These benefits have been shown in animal studies to be accessible by drinking lemongrass tea.
  • Antiviral Properties – Laboratory experiments have shown that lemongrass essential oil has antiviral properties, against both plant viruses and human viruses, including Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), the virus that causes cold sores.
  • Antifungal Properties – In vitro studies have shown that lemongrass has antifungal activity, particularly against Candida yeasts, a common cause of infection in humans.

Lemongrass has other uses in traditional medicine, but some of these other uses have not been validated by science. An older study failed to show any anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effects, although lemongrass is used for this purpose in Brazil.

Other lemon herbs share a number of active ingredients with lemongrass. It’s likely that the health and medicinal properties of lemongrass overlap to some degree with these other plants.

Thanks to Alex Zorach | #Health #Benefits #Lemongrass

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