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An aromatic herb, lemongrass is a tall tropical grass with large striped leaves having a rough and uneven edge. The fresh stalks have a lemony odor because they contain an essential oil that is present in the lemon peel too. It has a sweet, smoky, lemony aroma and is used for preparing soups, tea and curries. The long thick grass has leaves on the top and a solid portion at the root end.


Thai lemon grass is used in aromatic Southeast Asian cooking. It can be substituted with lemongrass powder. Lemongrass oil offers a host of benefits. Read more to find out how you can grow lemon grass.


Thai lemon grass

Fresh lemon grass is used as a fresh spice or is dried and powdered and used accordingly. Lemon grass is available in various forms:


  • Dry powder

  • Cut and sifted

  • Chopped slices

  • Oil


Lemongrass can be stored fresh in the refrigerator by wrapping it in a paper bag. It stays fresh for about 2-3 weeks. The stems can be frozen and used for several months. Lemongrass has the property of imparting flavor to other food items, so care should be taken that it is stored separately.


Lemongrass oil has anti-fungal properties and is used as a pesticide and preservative too. The herb has anti-inflammatory and sedative properties and is also a natural mosquito repellent. Lemongrass enhances digestion and is used as a natural appetite stimulant. It is also used as a mood enhancer because of its vasodilative property.


Buying lemongrass


  • Choose stalks that are lemony-green in color near the lower end of the stalk and turning green near the end of the stalk, tight and fragrant.

  • Do not buy stalks that are coming apart and those that are loose.

Cooking with lemongrass

Add zest and aroma to your cooking with Thai lemon grass. Though lemon powder and dried lemongrass is often substituted, the tangy lemony scent of fresh lemongrass stalks cannot be replicated. The lower thicker portion of the lemongrass stalk is often sliced and used in salads. It can be crushed with a pestle and boiled in soups and stews. In fact, the characteristic flavor of Tom Yum soup is derived from the lemon grass used in it.

If you use lemongrass powder, a teaspoon of dry powder would equal one stalk of fresh lemon grass. With dries slices, remember to soak them in water before use.


Medicinal properties of lemongrass

Apart from being used as an aromatic spice, lemongrass oil also has many medicinal properties. Lemongrass is widely used as:


  • An analgesic

  • Anti-depressant

  • Anti microbial

  • Antiseptic

  • Antipyretic

  • Astringent

  • Bactericidal

  • Deodorizing agent

  • It is also used to treat fungal infection of the feet

  • As foot bath to treat smelly feet


Growing lemongrass

Lemongrass can be grown at homes and in kitchen gardens. Lemongrass can be grown from lemongrass seeds but they take a longer time to grow.


  • Select the best stock of lemon grass. Pick fresh lemon grass with bulbs and roots still attached.

  • Trim the lemon grass. Trim the dry leaves and the top off of the bulb.

  • Place the lemongrass in water, preferably in a jar of water. Place this jar in a sunny window until the roots grow up to an inch or two.

  • Transplant the lemon grass into a pot with soil. Place it in warm place with lots of sun. Keep the pot moist and remember not to over water.

  • Watch the temperatures. Planting the lemon grass outside near a water source produces large plants.

While growing lemongrass take care of these essentials:

Soil: The plant grows best in well drained sandy soils. The soil should be free of weeds and soil borne pathogens like fusarium and verticillium.

Climatic requirements: Temperatures ranging from 64-84 F and high humidity (80-100%) are best suited for cultivating lemongrass.

Light: Lemongrass utilizes sunlight very effectively; therefore it should be planted in such a way that it is exposed to the sun. Protect it from wind


Lemon grass oil

Lemongrass, when not used fresh or in the dried form can be used as oil. Lemongrass oil is extracted from the fresh or partly dried leaves by steam distillation. Lemongrass oil has a lemony, sweet smell and is dark yellow to amber and reddish in color. Lemongrass oil has watery viscosity. Lemongrass oil can cause irritation to sensitive skin, so care should be taken while using it. It should be avoided during pregnancy, because it could be a possible skin irritant.


Lemongrass oil benefits


  • Lemongrass oil revitalizes the body

  • Relieves the symptoms of jetlag

  • Relieves headaches

  • Tackles nervous exhaustion and stress-related conditions

  • Overall tonic for the body

  • Boosts parasympathetic nervous system, which is a boon when recovering from illness

  • Stimulates glandular secretions

  • It is useful in respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever and helps prevent spreading of infectious diseases.

  • Lemongrass oil is helpful with colitis, indigestion and gastro-enteritis.

  • Lemongrass oil helps tone the muscles and tissue.

  • Relieves muscle pains by making the muscle supple.

  • It also is used for clearing up oily skin and acne, as well as athlete's foot as it lessens excessive perspiration.

  • Excellent natural mosquito repellent

  • Used in aromatherapy as it is a natural stimulant, analgesic, antidepressant and refreshes the mind

  • Keeps bugs away

Lemongrass oil can also be used as:

Vaporizers: In vapor therapy, Lemongrass oil is used to relieve nervousness and as an insect repellant. It revives the mind and energizes it while relieving fatigue.

Cream or lotion: When used in a lotion or a cream, it clears cellulite and tones the skin. It opens blocked pores and helps reduce acne. The antiseptic properties are useful in treating athlete's foot and other fungal infections.

Massage oil or in the bath: Lemongrass oil can be blended with other oils and used as massage oil or can be diluted in the bath. This helps in curing cellulite, digestive disorders, over-exerted ligaments, etc.


Lemon grass seeds

Mature lemongrass produces seed heads. Allow them to dry and store them in plastic bags for easy collection. Seal the plastic bag as soon as you collect the lemongrass seeds. Lemongrass seeds are available in nursery centers and horticulture supply stores too.

Flowering in the lemongrass is based on the climate, soil and growth of the lemongrass. Seeds also appear when the lemongrass flowers, the entire flowering portion of the plant is cut and the seeds are collected from that. The seeds are dried and the stored. From a normal healthy lemongrass plant, we can collect about 100-200 grams of seeds. To grow plants, the seeds are sprouted and then planted in suitable soil conditions.

An aromatic herb, lemongrass is a tall tropical grass with large striped leaves having a rough and uneven edge. The fresh stalks have a lemony odor because they contain an essential oil that is present in the lemon peel too. It has a sweet, smoky, lemony aroma and is used for preparing soups, tea and curries. The long thick grass has leaves on the top and a solid portion at the root end.

Thai lemon grass is used in aromatic Southeast Asian cooking. It can be substituted with lemongrass powder. Lemongrass oil offers a host of benefits. Read more to find out how you can grow lemon grass.


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