Lemongrass, a tropical plant that can grow as high as 5 feet in dry soils, has uses that extend beyond its tangy role in Thai cuisine. Tea made from blades of lemongrass is a traditional Caribbean remedy for fevers, and Brazilians have a long history of using the herb for gastrointestinal and nervous disorders. Natives of the Amazon also hold that lemongrass is an effective contraceptive.
The results of a clinical study to pinpoint the herb's therapeutic properties suggest that myrcene, one of the active ingredients isolated in the essential oil of lemongrass, may serve as a site-specific painkiller, affecting particular parts of the body; herbalists differentiate this type from systemic painkillers such as aspirin. This analgesic action of myrcene may also explain the apparent sedative effect of lemongrass tea, a tart beverage long enjoyed in the Amazon region.
Some practitioners use the oil of lemongrass as a rub to treat circulatory problems and to enhance muscle tone by increasing the blood flow to the affected area.
Taken internally for:
Applied externally for:
Over the counter:
Available in dried bulk.
Tea: 1 to 2 tsp. fresh or dried blades used in 1 cup boiling water and steeped for 10 to 15 minutes.