Lemongrass tea is a delicious and healthy drink made from the lemongrass plant. It has a refreshing citrusy flavor that brings about a cooling and soothing effect that can help alleviate pain and anxiety and fight depression.
It can also lower cholesterol, boost oral health, prevent infections, and relieve bloating.
In addition, the tea is a good source of antioxidants which can help fight certain cancers, among other benefits.
What is lemongrass?
Other names for lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) include:
- Barbed wire grass
- Fever grass
- Silky heads
- Cochin grass
- Malabar grass
- Citronella grass
It’s a tall, aromatic tropical grass with a lemon-like aroma and citrus flavor commonly used in cooking in southeast Asia. It’s especially used in Thai cuisine to flavor different dishes, including soups, curries, and grills.
Lemon grass can also be made into an essential oil that has been used as an air freshener and as an insect repellent. It has also been used in aromatherapy to boost mood and reduce stress levels.
What is lemongrass tea good for?
In terms of its health benefits, lemongrass is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. It also contains small amounts of vitamins A and C, niacin, and riboflavin.
Additionally, it’s a good source of antioxidants, including phenolic compounds and flavonoids, including quercetin, known for its ability to fight inflammation and neutralize free radicals.
While it’s commonly used to flavor foods, it has also been used as a flavor and a medicinal ingredient in various natural formulations, including herbal teas.
You can also make it into a standalone tea, which is the easiest way to enjoy this plant’s benefits without having to seek out a recipe or anything like that.
The tea is brewed using the leaves and stalks of the plant, whether fresh or dried, and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Lemongrass Tea Benefits
Now we’ll take a closer look at lemongrass tea and how it can heal your body, including how to make it and any side effects or drug interactions to watch out for.
Let’s get started!
1. Fights inflammation
Chronic inflammation is believed to be the power behind most chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.
This is because inflammation can damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs, often leading to damaged DNA in previously healthy cells, scarring of various organs, and tissue death. Ultimately this will provide a conducive environment for various diseases to find expression.
Lemongrass is rich in various anti-inflammatory compounds such as citral and geranial, and when taken regularly, the tea can help lower inflammation in the body.
As I mentioned above, lemongrass also contains quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.
2. Reduces anxiety
Anxiety refers to that feeling of worry and uneasiness that can sometimes be normal and a typical reaction to stress and a fear of what’s to come.
For example, if you’re going for a job interview or being summoned to the office and you’re not sure whether you’ll lose your job the next minute, you’ll instantly become anxious.
Or if your day-to-day work is so demanding, it can leave you stressed and drained at the end of the day.
In such situations, reaching out for a warm cup of lemongrass tea can help you calm your nerves and relax.
This benefit is due to the different agitation and anxiety-reducing compounds in lemon grass, including myrcene, citral, limonene, and nerol.
3. Lemongrass can lower cholesterol
While cholesterol is essential for building the structure of your cell membranes, making hormones, regulating metabolism, and producing bile acids, too much LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, can harm your health.
LDL cholesterol can form deposits on your arterial walls, which may increase your risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and peripheral artery disease.
However, taking lemongrass tea, in addition to other healthy lifestyle practices, can help bring your cholesterol down and lower the risk of these conditions.
One study found that lemongrass extract could lower cholesterol levels in animals, meaning it can do the same in humans.
In another study, mice given lemongrass essential oil showed improved cholesterol levels with the highest dosage given compared to a control group. There were also no reported side effects.
Although there are no direct studies on lemongrass tea on lowering cholesterol, these findings are promising, paving the way for more research.
4. May boost your weight loss efforts
Replacing sugar-sweetened drinks like soft drinks, soda, and commercial fruit juices with lemongrass tea can help promote weight loss.
This is due to its high polyphenol antioxidant levels. These antioxidants can help boost your metabolism and increase your digestion rate, both of which can cause you to burn more calories.
Also, lemon grass acts as a detoxifying agent, which further boosts your metabolism, causing even more weight loss.
That said, you may need more than lemongrass tea to get you to your desired weight loss goals. So ensure you eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink enough water, get enough sleep, and manage stressful situations effectively.
5. Lemongrass tea can protect against gastric ulcers
A gastric or stomach ulcer is an ulcer that develops on the lining of the stomach. A common symptom of gastric ulcer is pain around your belly button and sometimes anywhere on the abdomen between the chest and belly button.
They often occur due to helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) bacteria or too much use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Smoking may also increase the risk of gastric ulcer in people with H.pylori infection. All these factors can damage the protective gut lining, causing an ulcer to form.
Lemon grass, however, fights inflammation, relieves pain, and helps soothe the ulcer, thus promoting healing.
It can also resolve indigestion, often associated with gastric ulcers.
6. Lemongrass can fight against free radicals
Free radicals are oxygen-containing compounds with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number makes them unstable and easy to react with other molecules.
This reaction can lead to a large chain of chemical reactions that may eventually cause oxidation. Oxidation causes cell damage, and if not controlled, this damage can cause diseases to develop.
Lemongrass contains antioxidants that can pair with these unstable molecules, making them stable, thus preventing any reaction that may lead to cell damage and disease.
7. Lemongrass can lower blood pressure
Elevated blood pressure levels can put you at risk of serious complications, including heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack.
Since ancient times, lemongrass has been used as a remedy for high blood pressure, and it’s only recently that researchers have started to uncover why this is so.
Lemongrass contains potassium, which is an important nutrient in lowering blood pressure levels. Potassium works by relaxing blood vessel walls which relieves tension, causing the pressure within to drop.
Also, potassium regulates sodium levels in the blood, which, if too high, can cause your blood pressure to go up.
We hope to see future studies to clarify the use and benefit of lemongrass tea in lowering blood pressure.
8. Lemongrass may help prevent cancer
Cancer often develops when free radical damage on the cells causes mutations leading to DNA damage and uncontrolled cell proliferation.
The antioxidants in lemongrass tea can, however, prevent this damage and thus lower your risk of developing cancer.
Citral, for example, is a compound in lemongrass that has been shown to cause apoptosis or programmed cell death in cancer cells.
In one study, it was shown to lower breast cancer cell renewal capacity, making it a potential agent in eliminating drug-resistant breast cancer cells.
Some researchers even believe that lemon grass extract could be the best non-toxic treatment alternative to common toxic cancer treatments.
For example, chemotherapy treatments for metastatic colon cancer have shown limited success and can be extremely toxic. However, natural treatments like lemongrass extract have shown some potential.
One study found that it induced colon cancer cell death without harming healthy cells. It also enhanced the anti-cancer effects of cancer medication FOLFOX, while inhibiting FOLFOX-induced weight loss.
This research shows some potential for lemongrass extract supplementation in colorectal cancer treatment.
9. Lemongrass tea can help control diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that affects how the body regulates blood sugar levels. Taking lemon grass may help regulate blood sugar levels and bring them under control.
However, if on diabetes medication, you need to be extra careful as using the medications and lemon grass simultaneously may drop your glucose levels too low.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, seek advice from your doctor to know how best to incorporate it into your lifestyle without risking your life.
10. Lemongrass tea can treat respiratory disorders
In Ayurvedic medicine, lemonggrass tea was used to treat respiratory conditions such as cough and the common cold.
This is because lemongrass contains some vitamin C, which has been shown to boost the immune system and protect against the common cold and flu.
The oils in lemon grass can also help dry excess mucus, loosen phlegm in the lungs, and clear the entire respiratory system, including nasal passage, thus improving your breathing.
11. Lemongrass can promote liver detoxification
Lemongrass tea is rich in citric acid, which can aid liver detoxification and purification. This helps lessen the burden on the liver, thus promoting its functions.
Side Effects, Precaution, and Drug Interactions
I. Side effects
For most people, lemon grass tea is that day-to-day beverage you can enjoy without a problem. However, taking too much of it may cause nausea, increased hunger, and dizziness in some individuals.
Allergic reactions may also occur in sensitive individuals, although rare. These will often present as a rash, itchy skin, rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
ii. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Lemon grass has been shown to trigger menstrual flow, so there are concerns that taking it during pregnancy might cause a miscarriage.
Likewise, there are no conclusive results on its use in breastfeeding. So breastfeeding mothers should avoid it.
iii. Drug interactions
Lemon grass may interact with some medications, including sedative drugs like phenobarbital. This is because lemon grass might cause sleepiness, and using it with sedatives may increase feelings of sleepiness and cause labored breathing.
Lemon grass can also interact with those medications metabolized in the liver. Always ask your doctor whether the drug you’re taking is broken down in the liver so that you can avoid the tea.
Lemongrass tea recipe:
- 2 fresh/frozen lemongrass stalks or 2 tablespoons dried lemongrass
- 2 cups water
- Natural sweetener to taste
- Optional: additional herbs, such as peppermint or ginger
How to make lemongrass tea?
- In a medium saucepan, add water and bring to a boil.
- Add your lemon grass, cover, and let it boil for about 5 minutes.
- If you further want to enrich the flavor of your tea, add in some crushed ginger or fresh mint.
- Turn off the heat and let it steep for another 5 minutes or so.
- Strain the lemongrass out of your tea.
- You can sweeten it with a natural sweetener if you like, however, I love this tea as is.
- Serve it warm or cold.
- If you like it cold, let it cool to room temperature, then chill it in the refrigerator. To serve, pour on ice cubes and enjoy!
Lemongrass tea is a healthy and nutritious beverage rich in minerals, antioxidants, and some vitamins. It can help strengthen immunity, lower cholesterol, promote weight loss, regulate blood sugar levels, and prevent cancer.
Lemongrass tea is safe for most people, but too much can cause side effects in sensitive individuals.
It may also interact with certain medications like sedatives and those metabolized in the liver.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should also avoid it.
Other than that, the tea is very easy to prepare. Just steep the lemongrass stalks in boiling water until your water changes color. Stain and enjoy.
More healthy herbal teas:
- Mint Tea
- Ginger Tea
- Rooibos Tea
- Mullein Tea
- Cerasee Tea
- Rosehip Tea
- Chaga Tea
- Moringa Tea
- Saffron Tea
- Immunity Booster Tea
- Pineapple Peel Tea
- Fennel Tea
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