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.
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.
Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol):
Early research has not shown any effect of lemongrass on serum cholesterol. However, more research is warranted in this area.
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.
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.
Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose of lemongrass for children.
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.
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.
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.
Lemongrass may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other drugs that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect the heart as this combination may alter the effects of the drug or cause unwanted side effects.
Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Lemongrass may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be altered in the blood, and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Individuals using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Lemongrass may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other herbs and supplements that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that affect the heart as this combination may alter the effects of the herb or cause unwanted side effects.
Lemongrass may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Ashley Brigham, PharmD (Northeastern University); J. Kathryn Bryan, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); James Ceurvels, PharmD (Northeastern University); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine DeFranco Kirkwood, MPH, CCCJS-MAC (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Audrey Nealon, PharmD (Northeastern University); Erica Seamon, PharmD (Nova Southeastern University); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.