Lemon grass grows in warmer temperatures and is native South East Asia. It has long been staple of Indian and traditional Asian medicines. Most researchers attribute the potential health benefits of lemon grass to the citral, geranial and cholorogenic acid present in its stalks and leaves. The herb can be used in its fresh, dried and powdered form. Although fresh lemon grass is preferred over dried one to give a better mix of bright and complex flavours. The dried version has more of a woodsy flavour.
There are many health benefits of lemon grass. They include:
Aids digestion: Lemon grass is a good digestive aid since it works as a natural diuretic. Drinking its concoction may help lessen the symptoms of gastric upset including nausea and stomach pain.
A rich source of antioxidants: Being loaded with antioxidants, lemon grass helps eliminate free radicals that cause oxidative stress in the body and have been linked to premature aging, cancer and other serious health issues.
Heart friendly: Lemon grass helps protect heart health and prevent serious heart problems such as heart attack and blood clot. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce inflammation of blood vessels and arteries. This lowers the risk of formation of blood clots. Lemon grass intake also lowers overall cholesterol levels including LDL cholesterol that has long been responsible for heart illnesses. Thus it may boast heart health.
Lowers blood pressure: By reducing inflammation and relaxation, lemon grass consumptions may lower blood pressure.
Helps in reducing weight: Regular intake of lemon grass boosts metabolism and thus helps in reducing weight. Replace sugary and calorie-laden beverages with lemon grass drinks and follow a healthy diet and workout plan to be fit.
Antifungal and antibacterial: Lemon grass helps in preventing infection because it boasts antibacterial and antifungal properties. The presence of polyphenols and antioxidants provide a protective effect.
Strengthens immune system: This herb is fully laden by vitamins and minerals which help boost immunity. It soothes a sore throat and irritation in the lining of the throat.
If you are allergic to lemon grass, do not consume it at all in any form. If you find symptoms including difficulty in breathing, swelling in throat and rashes on skin after consuming lemon grass, stop using it immediately.
Pregnant and breast feeding women should not consume it.
Always consult your doctor before using lemon grass. Consuming too much of the herb can also have negative effect on your health. Consuming small amounts in considered healthy.
Lemon grass can be used in soups, stir fries and long-simmered dishes. It imparts a flavour of lemon with hints of ginger. Fresh lemon grass can have floral and minty notes as well. The herb has the same essential oil as lemons.
Look for fresh lemon grass in good grocery stores or you can check the freezer section for lemon grass stalks sold in frozen packets.