Its zesty flavor makes it a popular ingredient in many Chinese and Thai recipes, but lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), or fever grass, is loaded with various medicinal properties, too. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, folic acid, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese. It also contains traces of B vitamins.

The antibacterial properties of lemongrass oil are useful in treating various infections of the upper respiratory tract, lungs, and stomach. A decoction prepared from the stalk can effectively fight intestinal parasites such as Entamoeba histolytica, which cause dysentery.(1,2) 

Lemongrass oil is active against fungal infections of the skin such as ringworm and food storage fungi.(3,4,5)  Animal studies show that the extract of the plant can also lower elevated cholesterol levels significantly.(6,7)

Citral, a chemical compound present in lemongrass that gives it a lemony aroma and taste,  exhibits anti-cancer activity.(8)

Lemongrass For Malaria
Malaria is a parasitic disease, which is caused by the genus Plasmodium. The disease is characterized by recurrent high fever, headache, vomiting, and fatigue and is commonly transmitted by mosquito bite.

The essential oils of lemongrass were found to produce 86.6 percent suppression in the growth of Plasmodium berghei when compared with the popularly used drug chloroquine.(9)

How To Use It

  • To make lemongrass tea, take two to three stalks of lemongrass and cut off the tough upper stem to find the tender inner flesh. Chop into one-inch pieces. Pour a cup of boiling water over them and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and drink twice daily to fight off malaria.
  • To buy lemongrass tea bags online, click here.

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For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read about other Natural Remedies here.

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References:
1. De Blasi V, Debrot S, Menoud PA, Gendre L, Schowing J. Amoebicidal effect of essential oils in vitro. J Toxicol Clin Exp. 1990 Oct;10(6):361-73. PubMed PMID: 2130180.

2. Tangpu V, Yadav TA. Some Important Folklore Medicinal Plants Used by Tangkhul Nagas of Ukhrul District, Manipur. TX, USA: Recent Progress in Medicinal Plants; 2006.

3. Kishore N, Mishra AK, Chansouria JP. Fungitoxicity of essential oils against dermatophytes. Mycoses. 1993 May-Jun;36(5-6):211-5. PubMed PMID: 8264720.

4. Abe S, Sato Y, Inoue S, Ishibashi H, Maruyama N, Takizawa T, Oshima H, Yamaguchi H. [Anti-Candida albicans activity of essential oils including Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) oil and its component, citral]. Nihon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi. 2003;44(4):285-91. Japanese. PubMed PMID: 14615795.

5. Mishra AK, Dubey NK. Evaluation of some essential oils for their toxicity against fungi causing deterioration of stored food commodities. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1994 Apr;60(4):1101-5. PubMed PMID: 8017906; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC201445.

6. Agbafor KN, Akubugwo EI. Hypocholesterolaemic effect of ethanolic extract of fresh leaves of Cymbopogon citratus(lemon grass) African J Biotechnol. 2007;6:596–8.

7. Adeneye AA, Agbaje EO. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of fresh leaf aqueous extract of Cymbopogon citratus Stapf. in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Jul 25;112(3):440-4. Epub 2007 Apr 8. PubMed PMID: 17513076.

8. Suaeyun R, Kinouchi T, Arimochi H, Vinitketkumnuen U, Ohnishi Y. Inhibitory effects of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf) on formation of azoxymethane-induced DNA adducts and aberrant crypt foci in the rat colon. Carcinogenesis. 1997 May;18(5):949-55. PubMed PMID: 9163680.

9. Tchoumbougnang F, Zollo PH, Dagne E, Mekonnen Y. In vivo antimalarial activity of essential oils from Cymbopogon citratus and Ocimum gratissimum on mice infected with Plasmodium berghei. Planta Med. 2005 Jan;71(1):20-3. PubMed PMID: 15678368.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.