If you're a fan of lemongrass, you probably do a lot of Asian cooking at home. This popular herb is favored for its distinct lemon flavor and can add extra depth and flavor to curry and stir fry dishes.
Native to Indonesia, India, Southeast Asia, and a number of other eastern countries, lemongrass is a type of perennial grass the grows in tall, thick clumps, usually around 3 inches in height. No matter where you're based in the world, it's relatively easy to get your hands on fresh lemongrass sticks and leaves, though you can also buy it dried and in a number of other forms, such as sliced and pickled lemongrass, lemongrass oil, lemongrass paste, and lemongrass tea.
Drinking lemongrass tea is one of the easiest ways to harness the benefits of lemongrass. It's unlikely that you're going to cook with lemongrass on a daily basis, which means you'll miss out on some of the healthful properties of the herb.
Whether you make your own lemongrass tea or you buy lemongrass tea bags or tea leaves, here are the benefits of ingesting this popular herb in tea form:
1. Lowers Cholesterol
According to recent research, lemongrass's anti-hypercholesterolemic and anti-hyperlipidemic properties make it useful in reducing high cholesterol levels. One study found that lemongrass tea, when consumed on a regular basis, can reduce LDL cholesterol, the bad type of cholesterol, and help to sustain a healthy level of triglycerides, which may increase the risk of heart disease if you have too many of them in your body.
Lemongrass tea may prevent lipids from accumulating in the arteries, and helps to promote healthy blood flow and prevent a whole host of cardiac ailments.
2. Anticancer Potential
A whole host of natural foods have been proven in emerging research to reduce the risks and side effects of cancer, and lemongrass tea may be one of them. Research has found that lemongrass tea may be able to prevent the production and multiplication of cancer cells without killing off any of the body's healthy cells. In particular, lemongrass tea shows promise in preventing skin cancer thanks to a compound called citral.
Citral has been found in studies to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent cells from multiplying any further. A new study suggests that the cancer-related health benefits of lemongrass tea may also extend to breast cancer, as citral has been found to effectively promote apoptosis (cell death) in breast cancer cells.
3. Treats Insomnia
Having a soothing cup of herbal tea in the evening is enough to make most people feel sleepy, but lemongrass does more than the majority of herbal teas. It's thought that lemongrass tea can promote the relaxation of nerves and muscles thanks to its hypnotic and sedative qualities, and may treat insomnia by promoting sleep and ensuring prolonged sleep throughout the night.
4. Detoxifies the Body
A study in the early 2000s noted that lemongrass tea may be one of the most effective detox ingredients we know of. This herbal tea can help to flush the body of harmful toxins, cleansing it from the inside out. Lemongrass leaves, when combined with hot water, have diuretic properties that stimulate the need to pee, thus encouraging the expulsion of toxins on a frequent basis.
There's a misconception that detoxing means following a liquid diet only for a period of days or weeks to flush away the bad stuff, but on a much simpler level, it simply ensures that the bad stuff from the food we eat can be removed while we live healthy diets and lifestyles.
The detoxifying effects of a daily cup of lemongrass tea will help to regulate the body's stomach and other organs, lowering uric acid levels and ensuring a high level of digestive health.
5. Supports Weight Loss
While we all wish there was a magic ingredient that would result in instant weight loss, there are only healthy diet and exercise practices that can help you to lose weight the safe and natural way. As we know, lemongrass contains citral, which has shown promise in studies to support weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Because citral prevents fat cells from accumulating and encourages stored energy to be used by the body, it can help to stave off weight gain as a result of fat consumption in the diet. Citral in lemongrass tea may also boost metabolism, according to some research, which should help you to burn more calories between periods of activity.
6. May Treat Stomach Disorders
Infections caused by bacteria and viruses are nasty to experience, especially when they affect the stomach. If you're sick with E.coli or H.plori, both of which can cause gastritis, drinking lemon grass tea may do the trick.
While studies have only been conducted relating to lemongrass essential oil so far, it stands to reason that ingesting lemongrass tea will have similar, if not identical, effects. It's thought that because lemongrass has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, it can fight infection and even prevent gastric ulcers in the stomach.
Lemongrass may also improve digestion and stimulate bowel movements. Because the herb is also anti-inflammatory, it may be effective in treating inflammatory digestive issues such as IBS and IBD.
7. Prevents Anemia
One of the big benefits of lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus) is that it has been proven to be safe when used by pregnant women. With its healthful properties, lemongrass is a great source of folate and iron, which are essential nutrients for pregnant women in particular.
Generally, whether you're pregnant or not, lemongrass can be used to prevent and cure anemia (which is caused by low iron levels). More research is needed for us to understand exactly how lemongrass tea provides health benefits related to anemia on a scientific basis. However, it's thought that lemongrass can maintain high levels of hemoglobin levels, thus preventing iron deficiency.
8. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Emerging studies show that lemongrass tea shows promise when it comes to treating high blood pressure. In a particularly interesting study, a group of volunteers were given either green tea or lemongrass tea to consume in a one-time situation. When blood pressure was measured afterward, those who had consumed the lemongrass tea had reduced systolic blood pressure and a slower heart rate.
These study results are certainly promising if you have high systolic blood pressure, but make sure not to drink too much lemongrass tea, as your heart rate may dip too low.
9. Treats Infections
Lemongrass tea is considered a natural antiseptic, and has proved effective in reducing or treating a number of infections, from UTIs to ringworm, athlete's foot to scabies. One study found that using high-quality lemongrass oil may heal yeast infections by inhibiting pathogen growth.
In another study, it was noted that fresh lemongrass was more effective than herbs like patchouli, cedarwood and thyme in treating a number of infections, including vaginal and oral candidiasis.
10. Reduces Aches And Pains
Lemongrass essential oil is well-known for its ability to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with headaches, and is even commonly used for treating migraines, thanks to its analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. Packed full of phytonutrients, lemongrass can promote blood circulation, helping to relieve pressure.
For this reason, lemongrass helps reduce muscle aches and pains, too, and the essential oil has proven effective in treating bruises and dislocations. Drinking lemongrass tea may not be quite as effective as using lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus) oil, it should help you to heal from the inside out.
11. Nervous System Tonic
Nervines are medicines that calm the nerves, and lemongrass is considered one of the best all-natural nervines available. Research has discovered that lemongrass has positive effects on the mind, and can reduce a whole host of nervous system-related ailments, from vertigo to neuronal disorders and nervousness.
Drinking lemongrass tea can work well when it comes to nervous system benefits. You could also use lemongrass oil in a warm bath to calm your nerves, with this herbal remedy being particularly helpful if you suffer from anxiety and stress.
12. Respiratory Disorders
Trying to get rid of a cough or cold? The lemongrass plant has long been used to treat common side-effects of a viral infection thanks to its ability to improve respiratory health.
Lemongrass is a great source of vitamin C - and vitamin C has been found to support lung health and function, clear the airways, and protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This makes the lemongrass plant highly effective in treating colds, flu, and even long-term respiratory health issues such as asthma.
13. Reduces Fever
You probably didn't know that a nickname for lemongrass is "fever grass", thanks to its ability to reduce fever. Known as a febrifuge - a medicine that can reduce fever - the lemongrass plant has diaphoretic effects, meaning it can stimulate sweating and literally help patients to sweat the fever out of them.
It's not wise to use lemongrass tea to treat a serious fever, obviously, but it may be effective in reducing fever related to a bad cold or flu.
14. Boosts Immunity
Speaking of fever, you won't be surprised to know by this point that you can use the lemongrass plant to boost overall immunity. Everything from respiration to excretion, the nervous system and digestion can be aided by a cup of lemongrass tea. A stronger immune system doesn't only ward off illness and disease - it also promotes better absorption of the nutrients we need to survive.
Because lemongrass leaves are anti-inflammatory and have been found to reduce the inflammatory actions of cytokines, drinking lemongrass tea helps to ensure that your immune system is only responding to threats when necessary, which reduces the risk of chronic inflammation.
15. Skin Care
One particularly popular health effect of lemongrass relates to its skincare benefits. Many people use lemongrass as a cleanser, and it has proved effective in treating acne and the overproduction of sebum.
It helps to reduce pain associated with skin conditions, and can reduce pore size, preventing further acne from forming. Just make sure to take care if you're planning to use lemongrass for acne, as it may cause irritation and pain, especially if you have sensitive skin. It's to try the herb on a small area before applying it all over your face.
16. Boosts Cell Health
The antioxidant qualities of lemongrass tea can help to protect the body from free radicals at a cellular level. Free radicals can cause a whole host of side effects, from cancer to early aging, and lemongrass can prevent these free radicals from accumulating and wreaking havoc.
Research also suggests that lemongrass helps support the thymus glands in their role in producing white blood cells, helping them to regenerate.
Check the back of commercial deodorant packages, and you'll usually find lemongrass essential oils as an ingredient. Lemongrass is commonly used in deodorant because it has antibacterial properties that can prevent the growth of bacteria - which causes the unpleasant sweat odor - on the skin.
It can also prevent bacterial and fungal infection, and can be used in footbaths to restore sweaty, smelly feet back to clean, fresh condition.
Making Your Own Lemongrass Tea
While you can buy pre-made dried lemongrass tea from grocery stores and online, it couldn't be easier to make your own with fresh, high-quality ingredients. You just need 1 stalk of lemongrass and 3 cups of boiling water.
After washing the lemongrass and removing its outer layer of skin, fold the grass and add it to the boiling water on a medium heat. Boil for up to 15 minutes. You can add a piece of ginger for extra benefits if you like, or add honey for sweetness. Serve either hot or cold for a tasty, refreshing morning treat!
If you didn't know much about the health benefits of lemongrass, hopefully you now consider yourself an expert on the subject! Drinking lemongrass tea can help with a whole host of physical and mental ailments, and it's so easy to make, too.
If you're looking to swap your morning cup of coffee with something a little healthier, lemongrass tea is one of the tastiest and most healthful herbal teas to take advantage of. As always, remember to seek medical advice if you're unsure whether you should consume the lemongrass plant in the form of a tea for health purposes.