Lemongrass

What other names is Lemongrass known by?

Andropogon citratus, Andropogon flexuosus, British Indian Lemongrass, Capim-Cidrao, Ceylon Citronella Grass, Citronella, Citronnelle, Citronnelle de Ceylan, Citronnelle des Indes, Citronnelle de Java, Citronnelle de Madagascar, Cochin Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon nardis, East Indian Lemongrass, Fever Grass, Guatemala Lemongrass, Herbe Citron, Hierba de Limón, Jonc Odorant, Lemon Grass, Madagascar Lemongrass, Verveine Indienne, West Indian Lemongrass.

What is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a plant. The leaves and the oil are used to make medicine.

Lemongrass is used for treating digestive tract spasms, stomachache, high blood pressure, convulsions, pain, vomiting, cough, achy joints (rheumatism), fever, the common cold, and exhaustion. It is also used to kill germs and as a mild astringent.

Some people apply lemongrass and its essential oil directly to the skin for headache, stomachache, abdominal pain, and muscle pain.

By inhalation, the essential oil of lemongrass is used as aromatherapy for muscle pain.

In food and beverages, lemongrass is used as a flavoring. For example, lemongrass leaves are commonly used as "lemon" flavoring in herbal teas.

In manufacturing, lemongrass is used as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Lemongrass is also used in making vitamin A and natural citral.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lemongrass for these uses.

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How does Lemongrass work?

Lemongrass might help prevent the growth of some bacteria and yeast. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain, reduce fever, stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow, and have antioxidant properties.

Are there safety concerns?

Lemongrass is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food amounts. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or applied to the skin short-term for medicinal purposes. However, there have been some toxic side effects, such as lung problems after inhaling lemongrass and a fatal poisoning after a child swallowed a lemongrass oil-based insect repellent.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take lemongrass by mouth during pregnancy. Lemongrass seems to be able to start menstrual flow, so there is a concern that it might cause a miscarriage.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking lemongrass if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Lemongrass.

The appropriate dose of lemongrass depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for lemongrass. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011