Cymbopogon citratus can be used as a pain-reliever for muscle strains and cramps, an anti-inflammatory for bug and mosquito bites, and is used as an antibacterial and antifungal treatment for various skin disorders. The herb is also known to help regulate digestion, ease fevers and headaches, and relieve coughs Some say it even helps reduce symptoms of depression and can act as a mood-enhancer.
In layman’s terms, cymbopogon citratus is known as “lemon grass,” a tall, thin type of grass plant that grows abundantly in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines. The plant has a slight lemony smell when crushed or cooked, and is used as a cooking herb in Filipino, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines. Aside from Asian countries, countries in Africa and in Latin America such as Mexico also use lemon grass, but usually as a tea. Perhaps the usage of the lemon grass for spices and beverages has led scientists to analyze the plant’s properties. A 1996 research study showed that lemon grass can combat many types of bacteria and fungi and even prevent some bacteria strains from mutating and resisting antibacterial treatments.
As a topical medicine, the extract of the cymbopogon citratus can reduce pain where it is applied, especially in cases of rheumatism, neuralgia, and sprains. It can also increase blood flow when rubbed continuously on the skin, reducing inflammation, irritation, and even the appearance of cellulites. The herb’s antibacterial property also makes it an effective treatment for acne, rosacea, and mosquito bites.
Cymbopogon citratus can also be an antifungal treatment for other skin disorders such as ringworm and athlete’s foot. The extract of lemon grass can also be applied to fresh and open wounds, as the herb also acts as an antiseptic that prevents severe infection. It can even be used as a natural deodorant to prevent body odors caused by bacteria.
The fresh blades of the cymbopogon citratus can also be boiled in water, which can be ingested to ease discomforts in the digestive system such as flatulence, constipation, and diarrhea. Feverish patients may also drink some of the lemon grass tea to induce sweating and help the body to cool down. Other conditions that can be relieved by drinking lemon grass-infused water are colds, flu, vomiting, and hypertension. Lemon grass tea is also believed to help flush toxins out of the body. Cymbopogon citratus is also said to be an effective antidepressant, probably due to its bright citrus fragrance, making it a favorite essential oil in spas and massage salons.