For so long, my knowledge of lemongrass only came from my Vietnamese heritage where it's used in many dishes. This long-stemmed grass herb adds a slightly sweet citrusy, lemony flavor to the hearty pho soups or pork chop rice dishes, dressed with the traditional fish sauce.
However, did you know lemongrass has a multitude of uses and benefits? It isn't just an ingredient to toss on a plate anymore. Bright in color or a pale yellow, the consistency of this oil is thin with a lemon scent and can be added to many existing products to maximize benefits.
Let's break down the key benefits of lemongrass oil and the many uses as explained by holistic nutritionist and wellness expert Elissa Goodman. Plus, we've included some of our favorite lemongrass finds below, too.
1. It's an Anti-Fungal Agent
Because lemongrass oil is a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial agent, many brands love to utilize it in beauty products and soaps. For a DIY version, Goodman says you can add it to your body wash to reap the antiseptic benefits.
2. Relieves Muscle Pain
To reduce muscle aches, you can rub lemongrass oil topically on the areas of concern—make sure to dilute with a carrier oil first to avoid any skin irritation. Some examples of carrier oils include sweet almond, coconut, and jojoba.
3. Soothes Digestive Issues
To alleviate any digestive problems, opt for a lemongrass tea in the morning. "It is a great detoxifying agent, acting as a natural diuretic to flush out toxins in the body," explains Goodman.
It's important to note that essential oils are potent and not regulated by the FDA (so some might not be 100% pure) and can be toxic if ingested. It would be safer to get lemongrass tea blends instead of adding the oil to your tea.
4. Maintains Hair Health
Goodman shares that this oil can be widely beneficial for people who realize that they are experiencing hair loss. If you are experiencing thinning hair or an itchy scalp, you can massage a few drops of it onto the areas of concern as a targeted solution. Again, be sure to dilute with a carrier oil first.
5. It Has Skin Healing Properties
Use this topically (mixed with a carrier oil) on your skin as a detoxifying agent as an alternative astringent. In addition, this can help tighten skin and minimize your pores. If you don't want to DIY, there are other beauty products out there with lemongrass as an ingredient.
6. Provides Stress Relief
Create an at-home spa experience with lemongrass oil. When used for aromatherapy, it has a wonderful scent and calming properties.
7. For the Home
Ditch the conventional home scent sprays and use lemongrass oil around the home for a natural, clean, and delicious scent. Some believe it can also act as a disinfectant. For Goodman, it doubles up as a mood lifter!
8. Wards Off Insects
It comes in handy for those summer barbecues—lemongrass oil acts as a natural alternative to keep those pesky insects away. Dilute it as a spray, or buy a natural blend that includes lemongrass.
This story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.