I am fortunate to have known my grand-mother, who taught my mother most of what she knew about the powers of lemongrass. No doubt, my grand-mother got her knowledge of lemongrass from my great-grand-mother!
In the old days, lemongrass, popularly called "fever grass" in Jamaica, was used mainly to relieve the symptoms of colds and flus. The leaves of the grass were used by a making a tea or placed in a tub of hot water to make a "bush bath"! The combination of the tea and bush bath had the powerful effect of promoting sweating, which greatly helped in relieving the symptoms, particularly the fever which was the most stressful part of the cold/flu. It is for this reason that lemongrass is known as fever grass in Jamaica
My mother and fore-parents knew that lemongrass was "good for you" but they were not able to explain how and why.
In recent times, scientific studies have been able to explain how and why lemongrass is of such enormous benefit to our health. Lemongrass has been shown to possess powerful inflammation-fighting compounds, such as chlorogenic acid and isoorientin that decrease the incidence of inflammation in our body. This is important since inflammation is thought to be the cause of most ailments.
One of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of lemongrass is to drink the tea, hot or cold, regularly, for example, three times per day.
Some of the health benefits gained from regular consumption of lemongrass tea are as follows:
a) Relieving pain - The two compounds, myrcene and eugenol, present in lemongrass exerts analgesic properties. These compounds, therefore, behave like aspirin and aid in reducing pain associated with muscular spams, headache and migraine.
b) Reducing inflammatory - two of the main compounds, citral and geranial, present in lemongrass are believed to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties.
c) Preventing infection - the citral present in lemongrass has antimicrobial properties and may help to fight bacterial infections of the mouth and cavities when the tea is drunk. The tea may also be effective in treating fungal infections.
d) Diuretic effect - A diuretic is a substance that promotes urination, to rid the body of excess fluid and electrolytes, such as sodium, which also aid in weight loss. In alternative medicine, lemongrass is regarded as an effective diuretic.
e) Reduction of stress & anxiety - Lemongrass tea has both calming and uplifting properties. The tea has a soothing and relaxing effect on the mind. It may help to reduce tension; as well as reducing high blood pressure.
f) Relief of cold and flu symptoms - Perhaps the most popular use of lemon grass tea in the Caribbean is for the relief of the symptoms of the common cold and flu. The lemongrass leaves are packed with a combination of compounds that have antiviral, expectorant and fever-reducing properties that alleviate the major symptoms associated with the common cold and flu. One major upside is that there is rarely any adverse side effects when this natural tea is taken in moderation.
In summary, the many powerful bioactive compounds present in lemongrass can help to maintain, restore, and repair cells of the body. There are several other health benefits, apart from those listed above, to be gained from drinking lemongrass tea! Have you tried it yet? If not, go ahead and experience the joy of drinking lemongrass tea!