Lemon Grass: (herb) Available in fresh, dried and powdered forms, lemon grass comes from a strange long coarse grass like plant and is used extensively in Thai and Indonesian cooking. It adds a lemon like yet distinctive flavor. In a pinch, lemon zest can be substituted for lemon grass.
Cymbopogon citratus is abundant in the Philippines where it’s known as tanglad. Its fragrant leaves are traditionally used in cooking, particularly for lechon and roasted chicken
Cymbopogon citratus is often sold in stem form. While it can be grown in warmer temperate regions (such as UK) it is not hardy to frost.
In the folk medicine of Brazil it is believed to have anxiolytic, hypnotic and anticonvulsant properties, but at least one study has found no effect on humans.
Laboratory studies have shown cytoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties in vitro, as well as anti-fungal properties (though Cymbopogon martinii was found to be more effective in that study).
Citronellol, which is thought to possess antihypertensive properties, is an essential oil constituent from Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon winterianus, and Lippia alba. Citronellol has been shown lower blood pressure in rats by a direct effect on the vascular smooth muscle leading to vasodilation. In a small randomised controlled trial, an infusion made from Cymbopogon citratus was used as an inexpensive remedy for the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients.
Lemongrass contains 65-85% citral and active ingredients like myrcene, an antibacterial and pain reliever; citronella; citronellol; and geranilol. Hydro steam distillation, condensation and cooling were used to separate the oil from the water. Hydrosol or Hydrolat, as a by-product of the distillation process, is a pure natural water or plant water essence used for the production of skin care products such as lotions, creams, and facial cleansing toner in its pure form. The main products are organic unadulterated lemon grass oil (for industrial users), and “Negros Oil” (mixture of lemon grass oil with virgin coconut oil) used in aromatherapy.