Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lemon Grass Cultivation

Scientific classification
Kingdom           : Plantae
(unranked)        : Angiosperms
(unranked)        : Monocots
(unranked)        : Commelinids
Order               : Poales
Family              : Poaceae
Subfamily         : Panicoideae
Tribe                : Andropogoneae
Subtribe           : Andropogoninae
Genus              : Cymbopogon

Cymbopogon (lemongrass) is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, (of which the type species is Cymbopogon citratus [a natural and soft tea Anxiolytic]) native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass,cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa or gavati chaha amongst many others.


Lemongrass is native to India and tropical Asia. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh.

Lemongrass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico.

Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has anti-fungal properties.

Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly utilized as a "lure" to attract honey bees. "Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this lemon grass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees".

 Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grows to about 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) and has red base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent in insect sprays and candles, and also in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan Island, Indonesia. Therefore it's assumed that its origin is from Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, in tea and as a flavoring.

Lemon Grass Oil, used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts found in India as a preservative. It is used at the Oriental Research Institute Mysore, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage in Kerala and many other manuscript collections in India. The lemon grass oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so that the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

East-Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin Grass or Malabar Grass  is native to Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Burma,and Thailand while the West-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime Southeast Asia. It is known as serai in Malaysia, serai or sereh in Indonesia, and tanglad in the Philippines. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suited for cooking. In India C. citratus is used both as a medical herb and in perfumes. Cymbopogon citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine, but a study in humans found no effect. The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case.

Lemon grass is also known as Gavati Chaha  in the Marathi language  and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations like 'kadha,' which is a traditional herbal 'soup' used against coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.

Part used

leaves, steam distilled without pressure

Therapeutic Properties






Aromatherapy uses

Florame organic aromatherapy's organic lemongrass essential oil can be used in both air diffusion and in massage. When used in air diffusion the scent has a citral (lemony) and violet perfume making it a very popular essential oil amongst perfume makers. When diffused lemongrass organic essential oil
helps to relieve stress and creates a sense of wellbeing. Lemongrass organic essential oil also acts as a mosquito repellent when used in air diffusion. When used in massage lemongrass organic essential oil can help to relieve the symptoms of mycosis fungoides. To help treat this condition, blend two drops of lemongrass with 5 drops of tea tree organic essential oil and five drops of palmarosa organic essential oil and dilute in 10ml of hazelnut organic oil. Massage the affected area twice daily until a difference in the skin is noted. Lemongrass essential oil also has strong anti-spasmodic properties when used in massage and help to relieve tension in muscles and joints but must be diluted to at least 5%.

Blends well with Bergamot organic essential oil, bourbon geranium organic essential oil, fine lavender organic essential oil, myrrh essential oil, cineol rosemary organic essential oil, niaouli essential oil, patchouli organic essential oil, jasmine essential oil, ylang-ylang extra essential oil, palmarosa organic essential oil, tea tree organic essential oil


Keep out of reach of children.

Avoid contact with eyes.

Do not apply undiluted to the skin.

Pregnant women should seek medical advice before use.

The Benefits of Lemongrass Extract

Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is a tall, aromatic perennial grass native to tropical Asia. The freshly cut and dried leaves of the plant have been used traditionally as a flavoring agent. The volatile oils of the plants contain a chemical called citral, which gives it medicinal value. Lemongrass supplements are available as capsules, powders, liquid extracts and oils. The individual recommended dose varies depending on your age and overall health. Talk to a doctor before using lemongrass extract for medicinal purposes.


Lemongrass extracts can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in some cancer cell lines, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. However, these benefits have not been studied in actual patients and more research is needed before lemongrass extracts can be used in cancer treatment, says MSKCC. An animal study published in the journal “Carcinogenesis” also points out that lemongrass extracts can prevent DNA changes and thereby lower the risk of colon cancer in laboratory animals.

Antioxidant Activity

A 2005 study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” revealed that lemongrass extracts exhibit significant antioxidant activity and neutralize the unstable free radicals
formed as a result of various metabolic processes in the body. Unstable free radicals interact with the DNA and proteins of the cells in your body and can contribute to chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.


Lemongrass extracts also inhibit the growth of candida or yeast in the laboratory, according to an article in the February 2008 issue of the “Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases.” Although the study indicates that lemongrass may potentially treat fungal infections, actual clinical trials are needed to prove these benefits conclusively.

Heart Disease

A study published in the December 2002 issue of the "Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reveals that polyphenols of lemongrass extract help relax the walls of the blood vessels and dilate them. This may, in turn, reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases associated with it.


The essential oils of lemongrass also exhibit significant anti-anxiety activity by regulating certain neuroreceptors in the brain, as per a study in the September 2011 issue of the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology.” These results were demonstrated in laboratory animals; consult a doctor before using lemongrass extracts to treat anxiety.

How To Extract the Oil From Lemongrass

Extracting oils from plant material can be done in several ways. Two popular methods, tincturing and hot infusion, result in a medicinal oil to be taken orally in hot tea or straight onto the tongue or as therapeutic, topical oil. Lemongrass is said to act as a fungicide when applied topically or to aid in digestion when taken as a tea. It can be purchased in certain markets or stores that cater to an Asian clientele, as it is used primarily as an ingredient in Thai cuisine.

1 . Break fresh lemongrass stalks and fill the canning jar halfway with them. Breaking the stalks allows the natural oils to be released from the plant and strengthen the tincture.

2 . Fill the jar half with alcohol and half with cold water. Vodka or brandy are the most common alcohols for making tinctures, but gin is used as well. Purchase the best quality liquor you can. If for whatever reason you cannot use alcohol, a half-and-half solution of white or apple cider vinegar and water is a suitable substitution. The potency of the medicine will be only slightly lessened by using vinegar and it will make the tincture safe for people who may have adverse reactions to alcohol.

3. Cover the lid and gently shake the herbs and alcohol solution. Allow the herbs to settle and look to see that all the plant material is covered by liquid. Even a small bit peeking out could mold during the tincturing process, ruining your tincture. Add more liquid if need be.

4. Place the medicine in a cool, dark room and wait three days. Then, pour the solution into a blender and blend the plant material. This will allow greater absorption between plant material and the liquid, particularly because lemongrass is such a woody plant. Put the blended liquid back into the jar and store for at least three weeks.

5. Strain the liquid from the plant material. Put a colander over a pot and lay a cheesecloth over the colander. Dump the tincture in and make a bundle with the plant material and cheesecloth. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the lemongrass.

6 . Pour the tincture into a clean glass jar and store until ready to use. Tinctures are commonly taken directly on the tongue but adding the medicine to a cup of warm tea or water may be a more palatable solution.
Making a Hot Oil Infusion

7. Pour 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil into the top pan of a double boiler. Do not cover the pot.

8. Crush half a stalk of lemongrass, chopping if necessary, and place it in the oil. Do not let any water get into the oil or it will ruin the infusion. Don't wash the lemongrass before you put it in the pot. If it is still wet from the market, let it dry before placing it in the oil.

9 . Heat the double boiler until the water on the bottom begins to steam. Turn it down to a gentle simmer. Infuse the lemongrass in the oil for at least an hour, but the longer the better. Be sure to check on the water in the bottom pan to make sure it hasn't all evaporated.

10. Cool the oil down and strain the herbs through a mesh strainer. Use the oil as a topical ointment or as a soothing massage oil.

How to Extract Myrcene From Lemongrass

Extract the myrcene from lemongrass to add to your homemade perfumes.

Myrcene is obtained from essential oils. It can be found in several plant species including bay, Ylang-Ylang, hops, wild thyme and lemongrass. Once the essential oil has been extracted from the plant, myrcene acts as the main ingredient in perfumes. There are several ways in which essential oils can be extracted from the lemongrass plant, including one which utilizes items you will have at home. You can extract your own oil from lemongrass and use it as an ingredient in homemade products.


1 Wash the lemongrass stalks and cut into small pieces. Cutting the grass will help to release the oils.

2 Place the lemongrass into the wide-mouth jar. Fill the jar with oil. You can choose from several kinds of        oil. Choose an oil that has a light color and little odor. Good options include olive oil, sesame oil, safflower    oil or almond oil.

3 Put the lid on tightly and place in a sunny windowsill for 48 hours. Shake the jar every 12 hours.

4 Remove the lid and place the muslin cloth over the top of the jar. Drain the oil into the mixing bowl.                Squeeze oil from the lemongrass in the muslin cloth.

5  Refill the jar halfway with fresh, chopped lemongrass. Pour the oil back in and place the closed jar in the       windowsill for another 48 hours. Repeat this process until the oil contains enough myrcene to have the           scent   you desire. This process is known as enfleurage.

6  Expedite the process by placing the jar into a pot of cold water every day. Heat the oil until the water is         warm to the touch. Leave the jar in the pot for 10 minutes. This process is known as maceration.

7  Mix the myrcene with other ingredients to make perfume.


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