If you love to cook, you’ve probably used lemongrass before. This natural herb is commonly used to add an aromatic kick to Asian dishes, and its cooking properties have been enjoyed for as long as records date back. As well as in Thai dishes, you may also find lemongrass as a flavouring in teas, meat dishes, seafood, and veggie dishes.
Depending on the level of effort you put into your cooking, you might simply cut lemongrass out of your recipes if you can’t find it at your local grocery store (or you simply don’t want to buy it). But if you omit lemongrass from your cooking, you’re not only missing out on adding extra depth to your dishes, but also the many health benefits of lemongrass. This herb, which grows in Africa, Australia and Asia, offers a broad range of nutrients and can help maintain overall health and wellbeing.
You’ve probably tried lemongrass before while eating out, even if you’ve never cooked with it yourself. It has a distinct lemony citrusy flavour, a little like the flavour you’ll get from lemon or lime juice. Taste aside, there are so many benefits of lemongrass that you’d be a little crazy not to include this herb in your daily diet! Here’s everything you need to know about the top 13 health benefits of lemongrass.
Top 13 Health Benefits of Lemongrass
1. Boosts immune system and aids in weight loss
Being low-calorie, lemongrass isn’t going to add any extra bulk or stodge to your diet if you’re on a weight-watching mission. Lemongrass tea, for instance, will fill you up and keep you satiated for longer, so you’re less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack or two between meals. Lemongrass is also a diuretic, which means it’ll help you to keep that water weight off.
Lemongrass contains polyphenols, which are compounds found in plant-derived foods that have been proven in studies to increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure. When these are combined together, they can help contribute to weight loss. Lemongrass may even boost metabolism, according to some studies.
2. Kills some cancer cells
While no ingredient alone can eliminate cancer, a recent study has found that lemongrass contains several important antioxidants that may fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals damage cells and cause them to unnaturally divide, which can lead to a whole host of health problems, including cancer.
Lemongrass has proved to be effective in both fighting these free radicals – resultantly inhibiting cancer, particularly in the liver – and inducing cell death in cancer patients. While more research is needing, early findings are promising, and indicate that lemongrass may be effective when used as a natural cancer treatment.
3. Promotes good digestion
If you spend far too much money on digestive remedies, you may want to look at lemongrass as a natural alternative. This herb works well to reduce stomach cramping, bloating and constipation, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties that settle the stomach and promote healthy digestion.
Lemongrass’ healthy digestion benefits are largely a result of a component called citral, which encourages fast digestion. For this reason, you may want to drink a cup of lemongrass tea after dinner to ward off indigestion and heartburn.
4. Treats stomach disorders
Following on from digestion, let’s take a look at how lemongrass can benefit the stomach in particular. Lemongrass has proved itself particularly effective in curing stomach disorders and treating gastric ulcers, and research even suggests that lemongrass can be used to fight stomach infections.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, lemongrass can reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal disorders, and can also reduce the pain and inflammation associated with stomach ache, diarrhea, ulcers, nausea, and colitis.
5. Treats coughs and cold
When the winter months bring their usual viral infections, there are a whole host of natural remedies you can turn to. But one of the most effective, if you’re looking for a remedy that’ll get to work straightaway, is lemongrass.
Being a natural immunity booster, lemongrass can prevent you from falling sick in the first place. But when you do find yourself with cough and cold symptoms, lemongrass’ antiviral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties will help to clear rubbish from your airways and relieve sore throat. Because lemongrass is also able to stimulate lymph drainage, using it should also help you to recover from a cold at a quicker rate.
6. Fights infections
Some infections an only be treated by medication, but others can be treated naturally – such as with lemongrass.
The herb has been proven in studies to effectively treat a broad range of common infections, from UTIs to athlete’s foot, ringworm to scabies. This is largely thanks to lemongrass’ anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Because lemongrass can inhibit the growth of pathogens that lead to these infections, you’re less likely to get them in the first place.
7. Boosts skin health
With the skin being the biggest organ in the body, don’t be surprised if even the smallest change in your diet or daily lifestyle throws it into chaos. Our skin health is a good reflection of our overall health, and if something isn’t right, we know where we’ll see it first.
Skin health works the other way, too – when you give your body the right treatment, your skin will thank you for it. Lemongrass has astringent and antiseptic properties, which means it can boost the health of your skin by adding natural radiance and acting as a natural toner.
Looking again at lemongrass’ anti-cancer properties, emerging studies are even showing that this herb may prevent some skin cancers. You can enjoy the best skincare benefits when you apply lemongrass oil topically.
8. Helps control blood glucose levels
More research is needed on this subject, but initial findings show that lemongrass is effective in lowering blood sugar levels – which suggests it may be useful in helping to manage type 2 diabetes. We don’t know exactly how lemongrass can affect glucose levels, except that it can encourage cells to consume glucose.
We’ll be keeping an eye out on how lemongrass may be used in blood sugar management in the future.
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9. Reduces body odour
Body odour isn’t pleasant, and many of us rely on deodorants to keep us smelling fresh throughout a busy day. If you’ve ever wondered which ingredients are used to keep deodorants working for hours on end, the answer isn’t always chemical-related. Lemongrass is often used as a natural deodorant ingredient, thanks to its cleansing and antibacterial properties.
Not only does lemongrass stop us from smelling funky, but it can also prevent the build-up of bacteria, preventing infections.
10. Treats headaches
If you’re prone to frequent headaches, you probably don’t want to reach for over-the-counter medication every time a headache strikes. You may want to use lemongrass instead, which, according to one study, is as effective in treating a headache as aspirin.
Research suggests that human blood platelets clump to form headaches, and lemongrass can prevent this from happening. This means that lemongrass can prevent the formation of headaches in the first place when taken regularly in a person’s daily diet.
Lemongrass’ headache-relieving properties are thought to be a result of eugenol, an extract derived from the herb.
11. Reduces stress and anxiety
In today’s busy world, there’s always something to plan for, something to dread, and something to keep your mind occupied for hours. Lemongrass offers a calming, soothing scent, which is why it’s so often used in diffusers, candles and soaps.
In one study, lemongrass’ scent was found to be a helpful calming agent in people with anxiety. You only have to look online to see the blog posts written by people who consider lemongrass a natural anxiety and stress cure, though more research is needed to prove this.
12. Detoxes the body
If you’re looking for a natural detox, it’s best to avoid “detox diets” and focus on lemongrass instead. Because lemongrass can cleanse the body, flushing out harmful toxic wastes, it can help to support the healthy function of our organs and lower levels of uric acid, thus preventing gout.
As mentioned earlier, lemongrass is a diuretic, which means it encourages the body to urinate more. As a result, toxins leave the body at a faster and a more frequent rate, improving overall day-to-day health.
13. Offers insomnia relief
Lemongrass’ stress-relieving properties are also tied to its ability to help us sleep. Because lemongrass is considered calming, for both the brain and the muscles, it can prevent insomnia and help promote a deep and restful sleep.
Many people take lemongrass tea before bed because of its numerous hypnotic and sedative properties, which are thought to improve the quality of sleep and prevent disturbances.
It has so many remedial benefits, so it’s hardly surprising that lemongrass has been a popular aromatherapy ingredient since ancient times. Even today, this herb is used to make a number of natural medicines, so it really is worth including in your diet if you don’t already.
When it comes to consuming lemongrass, your options are far from limited. If you enjoy cooking, try adding lemongrass to your Thai, fish or chicken dishes. You could also swap your usual cup of coffee for a soothing glass of lemongrass tea, which you can buy online or from the majority of health stores. Even simpler, you can just add lemongrass stalks and honey to hot water to make your own lemongrass beverage.
There are so many nutritional advantages of lemongrass that if you’re not taking it already, you’re seriously missing out. It’s something that everyone should have in their kitchen cupboards – so stock up!