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Lemongrass (generic name)

treats Sedation and Hypercholesterolemia
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Average Ratings

Alternate Title

Cymbopogon spp.

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Abafado (Portuguese), alpha-citral, alpha-terpineole, Andropogon citratus, Andropogon nardus, bai mak nao (Lao), beta-citral (neral), beta-myrcene, bhustrina (Indian), British Indian lemongrass, capim-cidrao, Ceylon citronella grass, citral, Cochin lemongrass, Cymbopogon ambiguus, Cymbopogon citrates, Cymbopogon citratus DC, Cymbopogon excavatus, Cymbopogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon goeringii, Cymbopogon martinii, Cymbopogon nardus, Cymbopogon proximus, Cymbopogon schoenanthus L., Cymbopogon winterianus, East Indian lemongrass, erba di limone (Italian), essência de capim-limão (Portuguese), farnesol, fever grass, geraniol, geranium grass, geranyl acetate, Graminaeae (family), Guatemala lemongrass, Halfa barr, herbe de citron (French), hierba de limon (Spanish), java citronella, lemon grass, lemon grass extract (LGE), lemongrass oil, lemongrass stalk, lemon herbs, Madagascar lemongrass, Melissa grass, myrcene, palmarosa, pinene, piperitone, Poaceae (family), proximadiol, Santalum acuminatum, sera (Indian, Sinhalese), serai (Malay), sere (Indonesian), sereh (Indonesian), Sudanese flora, takrai (Thai), terpene beta-myrcene, West Indian lemongrass, Zitronengras (German).

Note: This review does not include citronella oil or stone root.

Background

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citrates) is used in Cuban folk medicine to lower high blood pressure and as an anti-inflammatory. In India, lemongrass is used as a medicinal herb and in perfumes. It is also used in Brazilian folk medicine in a tea called "abafado" as a sedative, for gastrointestinal problems, and for fever. Lemongrass oil is a yellow/brown oil with a tinge of red. It has a fresh, strong, lemon-like and pungent odor with herbal and leaf aspects. Lemongrass oil is an essential oil used in deodorants, herbal teas, skin care products, fragrances, insect repellents, and for aromatherapy.

Currently, there is very little scientific evidence investigating the use of lemongrass in humans and more evidence is needed to make strong recommendations for its use as a sedative or for lowering high cholesterol. Lemongrass is not approved by the German Commission E, but does have generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status in the United States.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol): Early research has not shown any effect of lemongrass on serum cholesterol. However, more research is warranted in this area.
Grade: C

Sedation: Lemongrass is used in Brazilian folklore for nervous disturbances; however, early study of lemongrass has not confirmed this use. More research is warranted in this area.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abdominal pain, acne, analgesic (pain relieving), antibacterial, anticoagulant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antineoplastic (antitumor), antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive (relieving cough), appetite stimulant, aromatherapy, arthritis, astringent, athlete's foot, bee stings, body fat reducer (cellulite), body odor, bruises, cancer, cardiovascular health (cardiac rate), cholera, circulation, colitis, common cold, connective tissue disorder (strengthening and detoxifying), convulsions, cough, cramps, detoxification, diabetes, digestion, diuretic, emmenagogue (promotes menstruation), exhaustion, excessive perspiration, fatigue, fever, flavoring, food additive, fragrance, gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach), gastrointestinal disorders, genetic damage, halitosis (bad breath), headache, hypertension (high blood pressure), infections, intestinal parasites, insecticide, insect repellant, irritability, jet lag, lactation stimulation, laryngitis, lymph flow enhancement, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia (nerve pain), pain, parasites (skin), radiation protection, rheumatism, ringworm, SARS, scabies, skin conditions (enlarged pores), skin toner, sleep, sore throat, stimulant, stomach spasms, stress, immunomodulator (T-lymphocyte activator), tonic, vasodilator, vomiting.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose of lemongrass for adults. However, 1-2 teaspoons of lemongrass in 6 ounces of boiling water as a tea has been used. Also, 2 grams of lemongrass herb, cut and powdered into one cup of boiling water, have been used. For hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), 140 milligrams of lemongrass oil in a capsule once a day for 90 days has been used for hypercholesterolemia with no significant benefit.

Children (under 18 years old)

Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose of lemongrass for children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid lemongrass in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lemongrass. Lemongrass and other essential oils, both applied on the skin and taken as a tea, may cause allergic contact skin reactions.

Side Effects and Warnings

Lemongrass has generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status in the United States. There is no proven safe or effective dose for children, adults, or during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

In general, a common side effect of lemongrass oil is rash. Lemongrass may also cause irritation and burning if not properly diluted when used on the skin. There are very few reported side effects; however, this may be due to the lack of scientific evidence.

Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.

Lemongrass may cause slight increases in liver function tests, particularly bilirubin, or an increase in pancreatic tests, particularly amylase. Patient with liver conditions should use lemongrass with caution.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to lack of sufficient human data. Early scientific evidence is conflicting and some chemical compounds found in lemongrass (beta-myrcene) may cause decreased birth weight, increased perinatal mortality, and delay in development when taken at high doses. However, an infusion of lemongrass leaves did not show any toxic or harmful effects. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.

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