Lemongrass is a fast growing aromatic grass native to tropical Asia it is cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the West Indies and Africa. Most of the oil is produced in Guatemala and India. The West Indian lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, is native to Sri Lanka and now cultivated mainly in the Wet Indies, Africa and tropical Asia. The East Indian lemongrass Cymbopogon flexuosus is native to eastern India now cultivated mainly in western India. A yellow essential oil is steam distilled from the fresh and partially dried grass. The yield is around 0.2 – 9.4%. The major chemical constituents of both oils is the aldehyde citral (around 80%). The aroma is strong, sweet and lemony and it blends well with bergamot, chamomile (Roman), clove, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, lavender, myrrh, palmarosa, patchouli, petitgrain and rosemary.
Lemongrass oil, is used extensively as a fragrance component in soaps and detergents. It is also used in creams, lotions and perfumes. Also used in most major categories of foods. The dried leaves are widely used as a ‘lemon’ flavor ingredient in herb teas and other formulations. West Indian lemongrass is used in Chinese medicine to treat colds, headaches, stomach ache, abdominal pain, rheumatic pain among others. Both lemongrass oils are used as starting materials for the synthesis of ionones and vitamin A as well as the production (isolation) of natural citral. The oil possesses biological activity against storage pests and has been used as a post-harvest pesticide for some food commodities.
Psychologically, it is useful for headaches, stress related conditions, nervous exhaustion, irritability and lack of concentration. On the physiological level it can be used for acne, athlete’s foot, skin parasites, bruises, excessive perspiration, enlarged pores, oily skin and oily hair.
Lemongrass brings light to the conscious mind. It stimulates the left brain by tempering concrete logical thoughts with spirituality. It can repair holes in the auric field and protect the energy field from the bombardment of electromagnetic energy of radio, TV, computers, and other appliances. Lemongrass can also help with discernment. Lemongrass can be used to clear and cleanse rooms. It dispels negative energy and stimulates psychic awareness. Useful in purification blends. It can help clear regrets or shame and help one to “forgive and forget”.
Contraindications: Generally considered non-toxic, possible dermal irritant so use with care with dermal applications. Avoid in pregnancy.
Leung and Foster Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000, 2001,2002, 2003, 2004,2006,2007, 2008, 2009