Do you know how to use lemongrass? Most people are familiar with lemongrass tea, but you can do more with this herb, especially if you have a lot of lemongrass within your reach.
So if you’re wondering what else to do with it besides making tea, this article is for you. There are numerous ways to utilize this delicious and healthy plant, including for body care, as a health enhancement supplement, for hair, and as a flavoring ingredient in cooking.
Keep reading to discover more.
What is Lemon Grass?
Lemon grass, also known as citronella, is a fragrant and aromatic herb with a lemony scent often used in tropical countries, especially Southeast Asian cuisines.
It’s native to Asia, Australia, and Africa and has traditionally been used to boost sleep, treat gastrointestinal issues, and for aromatherapy purposes.
Lemongrass is a good source of potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and iron.
It’s also a good source of antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as quercetin, luteolin, kaempferol, elemicin, and glycosides.
Benefits of Using Lemongrass
- Lemongrass can fight inflammation in the body, thus reducing your risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.
- Lemongrass can strengthen your immune system, which prevents you from getting sick easily.
- Citronella is rich in antifungal and antibacterial compounds that can help fight and prevent bacterial and fungal infections.
- It’s rich in antioxidants that can scavenge free radicals, thus preventing cell damage that may result in chronic conditions, including cancer.
- Lemongrass oil can prevent hair loss and dandruff.
- It may boost metabolism, which may lead to weight loss and prevent obesity.
- Lemongrass can maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
- It can be used as an effective antiseptic and as an insect repellant.
- It’s a potent diuretic and can help flush out toxins in urine.
- Lemongrass can prevent insomnia and boost good quality sleep.
- It can promote healthy skin
- It can enhance a healthy respiratory system
- It’s rich in citral, a compound that can soothe the digestive system and keep it healthy.
How to Use Lemon Grass
There are several ways to incorporate lemongrass into your daily lifestyle, including:
1. In Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing method that uses essential oils from plants for healing.
While the oils are often inhaled, they can also be applied topically by massaging them into the skin or taking a bath containing the oils.
When used in aromatherapy, lemongrass essential oil has been shown to be stimulating, uplifting, and energizing. This makes the therapy very effective in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Besides, the scent is very captivating and can help eliminate mental fatigue.
2. For skincare
The skin is the largest organ in the body and the first line of defense against external invaders.
It plays an important role in putting a barrier between the internal and external environment. This helps prevent the external invasion of pathogens and other disease-causing organisms into the body.
So taking good care of your skin is essential to strengthening the barrier. Citronella is one of the ingredients that can help you achieve healthy skin.
A few ways to use citronella for skin include:
Taking a soothing citronella bath soak
- Blend a cup of Epsom salt with some lemon grass stalks. Your aim is to expose the oils in the plant, so the blending doesn’t have to be perfect.
- Scoop the mixture into a cloth bag and steep in a hot tub.
Make lemongrass (water) hydrosol
Lemon grass hydrosol is the pure distilled water that remains after steaming fresh lemon grass or its essential oil.
This hydrosol is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal in nature and can be a great skin toner for oily and acne-prone skin as it reduces irritation and strengthens tissues.
Make a lemon grass body scrub
- Mix ¼ cup of your preferred carrier oil, like olive oil, with three stalks of lemon grass and blend.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve to separate the oil from the fibers.
- Add ½ a cup of sea salt into the resulting oil mixture and mix. Use this on your body, avoiding the skin.
Add it to your moisturizer
- Add a few drops of lemon grass essential oils into your regular lotion for everyday benefits.
Make a foot soak
- This can help treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections on your feet and deodorize them.
- Boil four stalks of lemon grass in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and let it steep for 15 more minutes.
- This will allow you to obtain a strong lemon grass tea with all the nutrients to get the job done.
- Add the tea into a large shallow bowl and pour in some extra warm water. You can add some Epsom salt and a few drops of itessential oil if you like.
- Sit on a comfortable chair and let your feet soak for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse off the feet with warm water, dry out the water with a towel, and apply your moisturizer
Make a face mask
- Mix lemon grass powder with yogurt and honey
- Apply on a clean face and let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse off with warm water, dry the face, and apply your moisturizer
- This mask can help relieve any skin irritation, lock in moisture, brighten the skin, offer UV protection, and treat inflammatory skin conditions
As a gentle facial exfoliator
Lemon grass powder can be used as a gentle exfoliator that will not cause harm to your skin. Mix the powder with some water and rub it on a clean face using circular motions. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing it with warm water.
3. For hair
- Lemon grass is a popular ingredient in hair care products such as shampoo and conditioner. It has been shown to reduce excessive oil production while increasing the luster and shine.
- To add it to your hair, mix a few drops of the essential oils with your favorite carrier oil and massage it into the hair and scalp. Leave it overnight and wash it off in the morning.
4. Make a lemon grass bug repellant
Lemon grass contains the compound citral and geranyl acetate, which have been shown to repel various insects.
Research shows that lemongrass is especially repellant to mosquitoes and house flies.
- To prepare your recipe, clean and finely chop one lemon grass stalk
- Pulse it in the blender to expose raw surfaces
- Add 25 drops of lemon grass essential oil and 50 ml of boiled water.
- Mix, and sieve the liquid into a spray bottle ready for use.
5. Lemon grass for fertility
Research shows that taking 100mg/kg of lemon grass extract per body weight can increase male fertility by increasing testosterone levels, sperm characteristics, and epididymal and testicular weight.
6. Lemon grass for cooking
This is the most common use of lemon grass. Let’s look at some of the best ways to add it to your meals.
To flavor dishes
- This can include soups, stews, or curries
- Simply pound the tough stalks of lemongrass and add to the meal as it cooks.
- When ready, take out the lemon grass and continue serving.
- You can also make lemon grass-infused rice or grain dishes. Similar to the soups and stews, add a stalk of lemon grass into the pot and cover it to continue cooking.
Make a homemade herbal tea
- Steep dried or fresh citronella for at least 5 minutes
- Strain the tea and serve
- You can add some ice cubes for a lemongrass iced tea. This can be incredibly refreshing for a hot summer day.
- You can also mix in some coconut milk to make some ice pops.
As a flavoring in desserts
Use smashed stalks of lemongrass to infuse sorbet, custards, and ice cream.
You can also grind lemon grass in a food processor and use it in different recipes, including cakes, cookies, and muffins.
Add it to smoothies
You can use either the dried and powdered form of lemon grass or fresh stalks.
To use fresh lemon grass, remove the tough outer leaves to obtain the slightly softer core.
Cut into small pieces, and you’re ready to go. You can add this to almost any smoothie recipe of choice.
One of my favorites includes lemon grass, a cup of coconut milk, a banana, strawberries, and a tablespoon of lime juice.
Blend everything together, pour it into a big glass and enjoy.
How to select and store this Herb
How do you select the best lemon grass stalk, and how do you store it to ensure it remains fresh and retains its flavor?
Here are some tips
- Look for firm stalks that are green without any yellowing or blemishes. Avoid any stalks with wilted leaves or those that are limp.
- To properly store your lemongrass, trim off the bottom of the stalks and place them in a glass containing water, then cover the top with a plastic bag. This can stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
- If you have too much that might go bad, chop them into small pieces and freeze for up to 6 months.
How to Prepare Lemon Grass for Cooking
Preparing lemon grass for cooking may seem like too much work, but it’s quite easy. Here’s what to do:
- After you’ve obtained the best fresh stalks from the market, trim off the root ends.
- Peel off the tough outer layer until you get to the slightly softer core.
- For use in recipes, slice them into thin slices with a sharp knife, starting from the bottom and stop when the leaves begin to get tough. This remaining part may be hard to cook, but you can pound it and use it in tea or body care recipes, such as making scrubs or bath soaks.
Tips and Tricks for Cooking with Lemon Grass
- When cutting the lemongrass, use a sharper knife and slice it thinly.
- If using dried lemon grass, soak it in water for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
- To increase the aroma and flavor released into your food, slightly bruise the slices with the back of the knife. You can also pound them with a mallet or any other kitchen item that can get the job done.
- You can add lemongrass to various recipes, including soups, marinades, stews, baked goods, etc., so be creative and don’t limit yourself to one recipe. Check out more recipe ideas below.
Lemon Grass Recipe Ideas
- Lemongrass tofu: This dish can make a fragrant, flavorful, and healthy protein source for your main course.
- Citronella rice noodles: if you want something refreshing with a zesty flavor, these noodles are a must try
- Thai Lemon grass soup: This is a hearty and comforting soup with a bold lemongrass flavor.
- Lemon grass coconut curry: This rich and flavorful curry is made with lemongrass, coconut milk, and vegetables.
- Citronella chili: This is a spicy and flavorful chili made with lemon grass, beans, and vegetables.
- Lemon grass stir-fry: This quick and easy recipe is made with lemongrass, garlic, vegetables, and your protein of choice, like tofu.
- Lemon grass tempeh: This recipe uses lemon grass and spices and can be part of a healthy vegan main course.
- Lemongrass lentil soup: This hearty and nutritious soup is made with lemongrass, lentils, and veggies.
- Thai Salad: A light and refreshing salad made with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, peanuts, and lemon grass.
- 11 Benefits of Lemongrass Tea
- Substitutes for Lemongrass
- Top 7 Herbs for Liver Health
- Best Herbs for Skin
Lemon grass is an incredibly versatile herb that can find a place in almost any recipe you can imagine. From body scrubs to face masks, aromatherapies to hair care, and even cooking, it can enhance your life in every way possible.
Lemongrass is rich in several minerals and antioxidants and can help boost your health, including lowering cholesterol, fighting inflammation, preventing disease, boosting metabolism, preventing infections, improving skin health, and even repelling mosquitoes and other insects.
So in case you had no idea how to use lemongrass, I hope this article has given you some tips to get you started.
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