India is the major producer of lemongrass oil, with nearly 80 percent of the total annual production of 600 metric tons. The main buyers are the United States, followed by Japan and Europe. As its use in medicine, food, fragrances, and cosmetics increases, cultivation of the species has expanded to Latin America and the tropical state of Florida in the United States.

The medicinal properties of lemongrass have been widely studied. It contains 65–85 percent citral and myrcene, which have antibacterial and analgesic properties. It also has restorative, digestive, antitussive, antiviral, analgesic, antiemetic, anticardiopathic, anti-inflammatory (in urinary ducts), diuretic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, and anti-allergic effects (Negrelle and Gomes, 2007)

The essential oil is used extensively in the food industry for its fragrance and its positive impact on the digestive system. It helps reduce flatulence, colic, and stomach cramps and be carminative and astringent. The herb is also a traditional Brazilian medicine and is believed to help calm the mind and to treat muscular spasms, cramps, and fatigue.

The essential oils of Cymbopogon species are used in beverages, foodstuffs, fragrances, household products, personal care products, pharmaceuticals, and tobacco. Lemongrass is extensively used to flavor soups, salads, and curries in South-eastern Asia, China, and the Caribbean. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a preferred ingredient in Thai food. It is used to spice pickles and marinades and is often paired with garlic, ginger, and cilantro. In Brazil, a tea infused with Citronella citratus extract is prepared from fresh or dry leaves.

Additional reading:

  1. Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants
  2. Asian herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties

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