Lemongrass is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family.Some species are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons. Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisines and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood.
Health benefits of lemongrass
- Lemongrass herb has numerous health benefiting essential oils, chemicals, minerals and vitamins that are known to have anti-oxidant and disease preventing properties.
- The herb carries 99 calories per 100 g but contains no cholesterol.
- The chief chemical component in lemongrass herb is citral or lemonal, an aldehyde responsible for its unique lemon odor. Citral also has strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
- Additionally, its herb parts also carry other essential oils such as myrcene, citronellol, methyl heptanone, di pentene, geraniol, limonene, geranyl acetate, nerol, etc. These compounds are known to have counter-irritant, rubefacient, insecticidal, antifungal and anti-septic properties.
- Its leaves and stems are very good in folate (100 g leaves and stem provide about 75 µg or 19% of RDA). Folates play a vital role in cell division and DNA synthesis. When given during the peri-conception period, they can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
- Its herb parts are also rich in many invaluable essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
- Furthermore, fresh herb contains small amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A.
- Lemon grass herb, whether fresh or dried, is a rich source of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.