Lemon grass has a number of other names - lemongrass, citronella, lemon sorghum, cymbopogon, shuttleberry, lemon grass. The general message of all the names is clear - this is a plant with a lemon flavor. Citrus taste and smell make it a universal product that is used everywhere - in cooking, medicine, cosmetology, in the production of insecticides, and simply as a decoration of the garden. What is lemon grass and where exactly can it be used?
What is lemongrass
The appearance of citronella as a plant is not noticeable, except perhaps the height that it can reach - from 80 to 180 centimeters. The leaves are narrow, light green in color and grow in a bunch. The plant has a branched root system that helps it to gain a foothold in the sandy soil, which is the native substrate of lemongrass in its homeland.
Lemon grass belongs to the family of cereal or bluegrass plants and has about 55 varieties. Some of them are more suitable for use in cooking, others are used in cosmetology.
Gardeners love zimbopogon for its attractive appearance and for the fact that it dutifully grows where it was planted, without encroaching on the territory of other plants. There is still a drawback - lemongrass depletes the soil, sucking out all the nutrients from it.
If, after reading the article, you have a desire to plant this perennial cereal for yourself, keep in mind that it has its own requirements for the place of planting. Firstly, the soil should be sandy or peaty, friable and light. Secondly, citronella is afraid of continuous shade and frost. It is better to choose a sunny place for her, acceptable with a slight shadow. Moreover, in open ground, it can grow only in the summer, and in the cold season it is better to keep lemon grass in pots on window sills on the south side.
Important! Many people mistakenly believe that lemongrass is the same as lemongrass. This is not true. The main difference between these plants is that lemon sorghum is grass, and Chinese magnolia vine belongs to the flowering family. Only a light citrus aroma combines them.
Features of Lemon Grass
Lemon grass is a unique spice that many culinary experts know by other names:
- lemon sorghum
- Malabar or Kokhinkhinskaya grass,
The seasoning is unique in its strikingly fresh and piquant aroma, in which there are exquisite almond notes. To taste, citronella is very similar to lemon zest. It is not surprising that lemongrass is often used in the preparation of various dishes of world cuisine.
Malabar grass is widely used in dried form. No less often, cooks add it to dishes in powder format. If fresh lemongrass is used, then it is either finely chopped or ground to a paste.
Citronella is able to give an unforgettable taste to dishes prepared on the basis of beef, chicken, pork. It is added to curries, stews and soups.
Tip. Lemon grass will add original notes to seafood and soft drinks.
The benefits of citronella are very high. The thing is that in the chemical composition of the plant there is a large amount of essential oils. Lemon grass is enriched with:
- ascorbic acid
Valuable properties of lemongrass
It is not surprising that the plant is a powerful natural antiseptic. Malabar grass has an anti-inflammatory and disinfecting effect. Spice remarkably refreshes, tones, relieves muscle pain. Citronella helps with nausea, dizziness, weakness, and depression. Lemon grass helps treat diseases of the respiratory system and skin. The plant normalizes blood circulation and metabolism, among other things eliminating acne, cellulite, excess sweat.
Astringent, antifungal, sedative, tonic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antioxidant, healing, deodorizing, carminative, analgesic effect makes lemongrass a very valuable product in folk medicine.
The tool is widely used for stress and insomnia, runny nose, sinusitis, sinusitis, hypotension, colitis, acne, skin diseases, pediculosis, increased sweating. Lemon grass allows you to cope with muscle pain, gastroenteritis, lowering blood cholesterol, removing toxins from body tissues, cleansing the intestines, kidneys, liver and pancreas. Lemongrass helps to lower the temperature during infectious diseases and normalize blood circulation. Citronella is used for lymphatic drainage, activating the digestive process, normalizing lactation, and preventing varicose veins.
The benefits and harms of malabar grass
The product increases human endurance, strengthens muscles and ligaments. Malabar grass allows you to lose weight and increase physical activity on the body. It helps to get rid of headaches, avoid overwork, restore strength, improve memory and concentrate in situations requiring increased attention. This is also a wonderful aphrodisiac.
Lemongrass is actively used in cosmetology. He perfectly cares for oily and normal skin. The plant effectively tightens it and narrows the pores. It allows you to even out the tone of the skin and lighten it somewhat.
Lemongrass is often called the “Buddha grass”, endowing it with mystical features. Some people believe that the plant reliably protects the house from the evil eye.
For all its benefits, lemon grass can be harmful. In some cases, it causes irritation, redness, and itching on the skin. Also, the plant can lead to a reduction in the vocal cords, a slight hoarseness and a slight, short sore throat.
It is not recommended to use Malabar grass for people with increased irritability and hypertension.
The subtleties of growing lemon grass
The homeland of lemongrass is considered to be either India or Malaysia. However, following a number of recommendations, it will not be difficult to grow lemon grass in your own greenhouse or in pots. Some gardeners even cultivate it in the open ground. However, for the winter, the plant will have to be transplanted into containers and brought into the house.
The main requirements for productive cultivation of lemongrass is a combination of:
When growing lemon grass in pots, you need to take care of quality drainage. Otherwise, moisture will stagnate in the pots or containers, which invariably leads to rotting of the root system.
Special attention should be given to the soil for citronella. It should be light. It is good if the substrate contains a large amount of sand. To preserve moisture, perlite and humus must be present in the soil. In the summer, the plant needs to be provided with regular watering.
If lemon grass is grown at home, then it is recommended to install pots with it on window sills facing the south side. When it is planned to transplant the plant into the open ground, from the spring months, they begin to accustom citronella to direct ultraviolet rays.
Malabar grass is afraid of a sharp cooling, drafts and frosts. In any case, when planting on the site, the plant is quenched for at least 2 weeks. To do this, lemongrass pots are placed on the balcony in warm weather. However, it must first be shaded from the direct sun.
If lemon grass is grown for medicinal purposes or culinary experiments, it is recommended to plant it under a film, in a greenhouse or in a greenhouse. This will allow you to get good stems faster. For the winter, the plant is dug up and transplanted into pots, which provide good illumination at home, and since February - also feeding. As a rule, with the onset of spring, lemongrass comes to life, gives new stems and full greens.
Lemongrass: cooking use:
In fact, lemongrass is a fairly common spice in the traditional cuisine of almost all Asian countries. Add this herb, which has a very pleasant delicate aroma of ginger and lime, to dishes of almost all directions: first courses, main courses and desserts.
I must say that lemongrass is not only very fragrant, but also a useful herb, since such a plant contains in large quantities various essential oils, as well as all kinds of trace elements, such as copper, iron, sodium, selenium, magnesium and zinc, and also some vitamins of group B.
Such grass, as a rule, is not eaten, but only used to flavor any dishes, such as soups or thick sauces. Lemongrass is a fairly tough herb, so it is added during cooking, and after the dish is completely cooked, this spice is thrown away.
Use such a fragrant spice, which is also called lemon grass, for cooking marinades, Chinese noodles, Indian curry, sauces for meat dishes, as well as for the famous Thai soup called.
Lemon grass goes well with any seafood, it is recommended to add this aromatic spice also to spicy dishes of poultry or any meat.
Lemongrass or lemon grass is not included in the State Pharmacopoeia of the Russian Federation and is not used in official medicine of our country. It is used in Ayurvedic medical practice as a remedy for herpes and other skin diseases and is sold in the form of alcohol tincture or essential oil. Also used in traditional Asian medicine.
Contraindications and side effects
Lemon grass, whose use in cooking and world culture is invaluable, is not recommended for people with severe hypertension, with increased irritability, pregnant and lactating women.
It is known that lemongrass in cooking is a real find. Since ancient times, lemon grass has been a part of many dishes of Asian cuisine, giving them a subtle smell of lemon peel and delicate notes of almonds. The lower part of cymbopogon is of culinary value, but the leaves are not suitable for these purposes. The stalk, except for its soft core, is very hard, which also does not allow it to be eaten. But it can be finely chopped and added to a particular dish. From lemon grass make spices that are added to stews and soups.
Afikan cuisine knows the recipe for a traditional tea drink made from lemongrass. This drink has a pleasant citrus aroma, perfectly invigorates, refreshes. The lemon-ginger flavor of cymbopogon beyond recognition can change the taste of familiar dishes. Grass is added to sauces, pasta, seafood, poultry, vegetables and even fish. Coconut desserts and other sweets, in addition to adding nuts and milk to them, go well with lemon grass, which also gives them a refreshing and invigorating taste.
In other areas
Lemon grass essential oil can be used as an insecticide in candles, lamps and sprays designed to repel insects. It is curious that such an application of this plant was reflected in the world archives, which store the oldest chronicles and manuscripts written on palm leaves. But that is not all! Oil not only repels insects, but also prevents palm leaves from collapsing.
Lemon grass oil is widely used in aromatherapy, providing a psycho-emotional, healing, magical effect. It is widely used in perfumery and cosmetology as a perfume. Lemongrass oil is an excellent hair care product, it helps to reduce the greasy and greasy hair and scalp.
Lemon grass, or lemongrass, or cymbopogon (lat. Cymbopogon) is a genus of plants belonging to the family Cereal, or Bluegrass (lat. Poaceae). In the world there are about 55 species of lemon grass. The most famous of them are East Indian lemongrass (Latin Cymbopogone flexuosus), West Indian lemon grass (Latin Cymbopogon citratus), citronella (Latin Cymbopogon nardus) and palmarosis (Latin Cymbopogon martinii).
Lemongrass is a plant that can be found in the wild both in the tropical and subtropical zones of the globe. Its height in the tropics can reach up to 1.9 m, but in regions with a cool climate, zimbopogon grows no higher than 1 m. All representatives of the genus love sunlight, but they also tolerate small shades. However, all varieties of herbs of this genus are afraid of cold weather, since they are very thermophilic.
Lemon grass has such a powerful fibrous root system that the soil in which representatives of this genus grow is depleted very quickly. Shoots are cylindrical, jointed. Rigid lemongrass leaves have a long, elongated shape. They are ribbed, regular, painted in a pale green color. From leaves and stems comes a delicate citrus aroma. Paniculate inflorescence, formed by spikelets. All varieties of this kind grow in bunches. Flowering of lemon grass depends entirely on the place of its growth. For example, in Russia, lemongrass does not bloom at all. The formula of the cymbopogon flower is ↑ O2 + (2) T3P1.
The genus Lemongrass, or lemon grass, includes about 55 species. All of them grow quite quickly and have similar properties. For example, West Indian lemon grass is grown in Malaysia, and East Indian (or Cochin) lemon grass in Thailand and Sri Lanka. Both varieties of this herb are interchangeable, however, the West Indian variety is more used in cooking, in perfumery. Another type of lemongrass is citronella (Latin Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus). It is similar to the previous varieties, but reaches a height of 2 meters and has red petioles. All these types are widely used in one or another industrial field, in particular, in culinary and perfumery.
In perfumery, another type of cymbopogon is used - palmorosis (Latin Cymbopogon martinii). This variety of perennial grass grows with turf, reaches a height of 1.5 m. It has thin leaves and petioles, which are smaller in comparison with the above types of lemon grass. Lemongrass leaves of the palmarosis type and its tops contain oil, which is used in the production of geraniol - an alcoholic liquid with the smell of a rose.
As a genus of lemongrass, or lemon grass includes about 55 species. They are mainly found on the island of Sri Lanka and in India. Also, plants of this genus can be found in America, China and Africa. Due to the strong love of moisture, lemon sorghum grows in marshy places. Lemon grass is a cultivated plant. It is grown in pots, in greenhouses, in the garden. In Russia, this is done for the most part because of the decorativeness of cymbopogon.
Harvesting raw materials
For folk medical and Ayurvedic purposes, the aerial part of lemon grass is used. It contains essential oil. This oil is obtained using the so-called steam distillation of dried leaves. The output is a yellow-red or red-brown liquid with a fresh, delicate citrus flavor.
To lemongrass remained fresh for several days, it should be thoroughly washed in cool water, then dried and put in a container with a tight-fitting lid. The stems of lemon grass can be frozen, which will allow the beneficial properties in its composition to remain for 4 months. The same amount of time can be stored dried and chopped stems and leaves of the plant. But it will be better if they are poured into a glass jar and closed with a sealed lid. The container with raw materials should be kept in a dark, not stuffy place, protected from moisture and sunlight.
The chemical composition of lemon grass includes various fats: citral, limonene, myrcene, methylheptenol. The following vitamins, macro- and microelements were also found in grass: chromium, aluminum, calcium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, silicon, potassium, sodium, vitamin C, protein. It is known that lemon grass essential oil contains citral (the main component of the plant) and geraniol (alcohol).
The healing properties of lemongrass are due to the presence of useful substances in its chemical composition. It is believed that the plant has analgesic, astringent, carminative, bactericidal, healing, insecticidal, sedative and anti-inflammatory effects, and as a dietary supplement, lemon grass supposedly speeds up metabolism and activates digestion. It is worth noting that official studies confirming the benefits of this plant for the human body have not been conducted. Therefore, all the benefits that are mentioned above are nothing more than an axiom.
Application in traditional medicine
Lemongrass, whose beneficial properties are not officially confirmed, is widely used in traditional medicine. For example, Asian folk healers have long used lemongrass grass as an aphrodisiac for making love potions that cause sex drive. Also, folk oriental medicine uses cymbopogon as a component for the treatment of skin areas affected by a fungus, for example, with dermatitis. Некоторые лекари применяют траву при целлюлите, ведь считается, что лимонное сорго стимулирует кровообращение и отток лимфы.Sri Lanka Narodnik doctors use cymbopogon for muscle pain, weakness and dizziness, for a runny nose, sinusitis, etc.
If all these complex names are empty for you, then you will be interested to learn about the beneficial properties of citronella. For health, the remarkable effect of lemongrass is remarkable:
And now even more specifically. In the presence of what diseases is it worth looking at this fragrant grass? With its help, you can treat:
- disorders of the nervous system - hypotension, dizziness, insomnia, weakness, headache,
- gastrointestinal tract disorders - flatulence, colitis, gastroenteritis, nausea, poisoning,
- vascular problems - circulatory disorders, thrombosis, atherosclerosis (an excess of cholesterol in the blood),
- diseases of the upper respiratory tract - rhinitis (except allergic), sinusitis, sinusitis,
- hyperhidrosis - a tendency to profuse sweating,
- lymphatic congestion, impaired lymph outflow,
- hyperthermia in respiratory diseases,
- skin lesions - acne, increased oily skin, hyperpigmentation, eczema, furunculosis,
- hypogalactia - insufficient milk production during lactation,
- decreased sex drive,
- muscle cramps, pain, dystrophy,
- metabolic disorder, obesity, cellulite.
It is also known that, due to the anticancerogenic property of lemon cereal, it is used as an adjuvant in oncological diseases. But here initiative is inappropriate, therefore it is better to consult a doctor before use.
How to apply lemongrass
Most often, lemon grass is used when brewing tea, both independently and as part of the fees. The drink is drunk cold or slightly warm. To do this, cut the leaves and stalks of citronella pour boiling water and insist, like ordinary tea. Thais add ice, sometimes milk, to such a drink.
Lemongrass tea tones, refreshes, gives vitality and vitality, and in the warm version activates the immune system, kills viruses and bacteria. In addition to drinking, lemon grass infusion is used for gargling with sore throat, as well as for inhalation in diseases of the upper respiratory tract.
With chronic fatigue, loss of strength, decreased immunity, a drink of lemon grass with ginger is very useful. Prepare it like this:
- Take 1 tablespoon of lemon grass (fresh or dried), a small ginger root, 1-2 teaspoons of plain tea without additives.
- Pour boiling water 95 degrees.
- Insist 5-7 minutes.
The drink is ready to drink. It is important to consider that due to the invigorating effect, such tea can be drunk in a couple of cups in the morning. Also, the duration of tea should not exceed 154 days, then it is recommended to take a week break and then you can drink again.
It is good to combine lemon grass with mint and lemon balm, as well as honey.
With hyperhidrosis, dandruff, acne and other skin diseases, it is recommended to wipe the affected areas in the morning and evening with lemongrass infusion. You can also use freshly squeezed plant juice to treat skin. To do this, finely chop the stems and leaves of the cereal, and then squeeze the juice out of them. Or, as an option, prepare an alcohol tincture: fill in the herbal raw materials with vodka and infuse for 7-10 days, then strain and use to rub the problem skin.
This simple way of eating lemon sorghum is used in most cases. No special processes are required to get the most out of it. Drink lemongrass tea 2 times a day and you will feel how your condition will be relieved in any of the above diseases.
How else can you use lemon grass
Citronella is a little-known plant in our area. Some have never heard of him. Others know, but do not have the opportunity to grow or acquire. In these cases, you can use lemongrass essential oil, which is sold everywhere in pharmacies and cosmetic stores.
Oil can be added a couple of drops to your favorite skin care creams and shampoos. It is also good to use it for aromatherapy for stressful conditions, neurosis, during the season of rising incidence of acute respiratory viral infections. In the composition of base oils, lemongrass ether is used for sports and therapeutic massages.
The fungicidal effect of lemon grass essential oil is interesting and noteworthy for our area. In a constantly changing climate, immunity falls not only in humans, but also in plants. They begin to get sick with fungal diseases and reduce productivity or do not bear fruit at all. If you treat the seeds with lemongrass infusion or its essential oil diluted in water, you can kill the fungal spores still in the bud. Spraying with such a tool can be carried out on adult plants.
It is widely known that the smell of lemon grass does not like all kinds of creeping and flying creatures. In tropical countries, it is specially planted near houses to protect from the invasion of snakes, rodents and insects. If you are tortured by mosquitoes and flies, place containers with several drops of citronella essential oil in several places around the apartment and you will see that these bastards even forget the way to your house.
In cooking, zimbopogon is very much appreciated. It goes well with ginger, cilantro, red pepper. It is used in the preparation of dishes of meat, fish and vegetables, soups and stews, as well as for flavoring drinks and desserts.
In Thailand, where this herb is especially appreciated, it is included in many dishes as a spice. For example, the traditional Thai soup Tom Yam, which has many variations, but is always cooked with lemon grass. It is simply added there by several stems, and when served, they are pulled out and placed next to it in the form of decoration.
Lemongrass itself is not eaten, its leaves are very hard. But finely chopped stems can be added to dishes without the need for further extraction.
Lemon cereal is not for everyone
Most useful plants still have contraindications. There are few of them, but still it is worth remembering caution. Lemon grass is contraindicated in the following cases:
- increased nervous irritability,
- chronic hypertension
- age up to 7 years
- gastritis and stomach ulcer.
Essential lemongrass oil can cause skin irritation with hypersensitivity. The effect of citronella on the vocal cords is noticed - hoarseness and perspiration appear. For this reason, its use is not recommended for laryngitis, tracheitis and pharyngitis, as well as for those who need a voice for work.
In nature, there are many useful plants that treat and feed. Lemon grass rightfully deserves a place of honor among them. Try it, maybe you will like this simple, but very valuable herb.