Lemongrass, what color and smell it is. Photos, as well as useful properties and how to use them in cooking.

Lemongrass

What is lemongrass, where does it grow and what does it look like?

Most often we hear this name in culinary recipes or see it in cosmetics. And we still don’t know what lemongrass means in translation. In fact, when translated into Russian, lemongrass means lemon grass.

The smell of lemongrass is clearly distinguished by its freshness, so in the kitchen it is used as a seasoning if they want to add a touch of piquancy or add some spiciness. Tea, carbonated drinks and sweet desserts with lemongrass flavor are much easier to perceive.

Features of lemongrass, plant characteristics:

  • In everyday life, the plant is known as lemon grass.
  • Tropical perennial crop from a type of cereal.
  • It grows in hot climates, more precisely in: India, China, Africa, Sri Lanka and South America.
  • There are about 55 varieties of cymbopogon nardus (another name for lemongrass) that grow in the wild and that are cultivated (harvested and processed in agriculture).
How does lemongrass grow in Thailand?
How does lemongrass grow in Thailand?

In appearance, nardus cymbopogon is an unremarkable green bush, consisting of many narrow stems that turn into leaves at the top. When cutting the stems at the very root, the plant will resemble regular celery. Lemon grass can grow up to 1 m in height.

The leaves themselves are hard, tending upward and have a fresh, bright green color. And if this bunch has its external shortcomings, they are more than compensated for by the pleasant aroma of lemon.

In general, lemongrass has a citrus scent. The scent trail is clearly outlined and immediately catches the attention of the olfactory organs. In addition, it has its own notes of spice.

Fresh on the one hand, spicy on the other, in its combination it perfectly identifies the “ginger + lemon” aroma combination.

There are quite a lot of legends about the benefits of lemongrass, since it simultaneously serves as a raw material for the production of several essential oils:

  1. Mirrenzen.
  2. Lemon.
  3. Citral.
  4. Nerol.
  5. Citronellol.

Varieties of lemongrass (lemongrass)

Citronella and Palmarosa

In Asian countries, lemongrass is used exclusively in the kitchen. Residents of Malaysia, Thailand, India and Cambodia are especially fond of it. The second method of processing lemongrass here is to produce essential oils.

  • Citronella or cymbopogon is one of the varieties of lemongrass that can reach a height of up to 2 m. The stems of the plant are endowed with a red tint. Most often, this variety is used to create eau de toilette, as an additive to cosmetics and hygiene products. The aroma of this sorghum also successfully repels annoying insects, which is why repellents are produced based on citronella.
  • Palmarosa – Has the same citrus scent, but smells like something sweeter. It is used exclusively in perfumery, and in appearance it differs from its counterparts in having narrower and elongated leaves.

Chemical properties and calorie content

Lemongrass acquired its special and beneficial properties due to the fact that the green part of the plant (stem and leaves) consists of 80% essential oils.

The most pronounced carriers of citrus aroma and beneficial properties are geraniol and central. But the beneficial composition of lemongrass does not end there! You can also find vitamin B and ascorbic acid in it.

Although this plant could not do without microelements – a whole list of substances: zinc, iron, sodium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium). The acids it contains are: nicotinic and fatty acids. Lemon grass is also endowed with antiseptic properties and is considered a natural antioxidant.

Having all these characteristics, it was impossible to assume that lemon grass has a significant calorie content, or more precisely, that 100 grams of it contain as many as 100 kilocalories.

Beneficial properties of lemongrass

The healing properties of lemon grass are based on its composition. Having such a rich set of acids, trace elements and essential oils, lemongrass is widely used in pharmacy in China, India, Africa and Asian countries.

If you create a list of actions that this plant has, you will get a whole list:

  • Regenerating.
  • Astringent.
  • Antioxidant.
  • Bactericidal.
  • Painkiller.
  • Fungicidal.
  • Insecticidal.
  • Sedative.
  • Tonic.
  • Deodorizing.

Active particles of lemongrass have a healing effect on the body in teas or when used externally: when the essential oil is applied to the affected skin or mucous membranes.

Impact on women and men

What is useful for lemongrass and what effects can it have on the human body? Undoubtedly, there are many of these effects and they have an equally beneficial effect on both men and women.

  • Help in overcoming stress.
  • Tone of the whole body.
  • Strengthening the immune system.
  • Strengthening the ability to resist viruses and infections.
  • Reduced pain.
  • Replenishing the body’s strength after heavy physical and mental stress.
  • Acceleration of metabolism.
  • Improving the functioning of the blood supply system.
  • Resistance to the proliferation of bacteria and other pathogenic organisms.
  • Stimulation of the thyroid gland.
  • Activation of the lymphatic system.
  • Relieving spasms.
  • Help in the fight against viruses, infections and fungi.

During pregnancy and lactation

During pregnancy, eating sorghum is not prohibited, but it is better if it is consumed in the form of dried grass.

Is it possible for children

As with pregnant women, there are no contraindications, but individual tolerance must be taken into account. Lemongrass can be prescribed even to infants, provided that the plant does not cause allergic reactions.

If even minor manifestations of adverse reactions are noticeable, then use of the herb should be stopped immediately.

Lemongrass contraindications

Every medicinal plant has beneficial properties and contraindications at the same time, and lemongrass is no exception! But if you do not exceed the average consumption of this herb per day (5 – 10 grams), then side effects are unlikely to appear.

The only exceptions may be cases of individual intolerance to sorghum. It is also not recommended to use lemongrass for gastritis or pancreatitis.

People suffering from hypoglycemia should especially pay attention to taking lemongrass in any form, since sorghum sharply reduces sugar levels. If such a disease exists, then taking lemon grass or seasoning can dramatically worsen the condition.

If the average daily consumption of the plant is exceeded, the side effect may manifest itself in the form of nausea or abdominal pain.

After prolonged use of the plant, hoarseness in the voice is noticed, so if your activity is directly related to the activity of the vocal cords, then it is better to stop using lemon grass.

Application

  1. Lemongrass, fresh or dried, is used as a seasoning. It is added to both first and second courses, and even to desserts.
  2. Sorghum essential oils are used in perfumery. They are ideal for spring and summer scents and allow you to add a hint of citrus to the main scent. These scents are recommended for blondes and brown-haired women with fair skin.
  3. In the magic of African countries, a magic potion called “wan-wan oil” is made from this plant. The product prepared by shamans, in their opinion, is capable of summoning spirits from the other world. And in the home, the presence of such oil brings comfort, peace and prosperity. It is used to cleanse your home of any negativity.
  4. Lemongrass sachets are an excellent deodorant for linen closets or car interiors. An aroma lamp with lemongrass oil is suitable for aromatizing a home or other room. Pleasant citrus aromatherapy will help get rid of harmful insects.

Lemongrass in cooking

Tom Yum soup
Tom Yum soup

Lemongrass seasoning is better known in Asia and Africa. In India, Thailand and Vietnam, it is considered a traditional spice, so you can find sorghum in any dish: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, drinks, sweet desserts and even vegetable stews.

The spice is added for canning, soups or marinades. Lemongrass is an essential and main ingredient in a popular soup in Thailand called Tom Yum.

It is more appropriate to add fresh leaves of the plant to the first and second courses, but if this is not possible, dried lemongrass will demonstrate its aromatic abilities in a good way.

When preparing soups, sorghum stalks are cut coarsely and added to a boiling dish, but before the end of cooking, the plant is pulled out.

For main courses, fresh salads or vegetable stews, use fresh lemongrass. To do this, it is cut into thin rings and mixed with the main ingredients.

In folk medicine

Lemon grass is a component of well-known herbal remedies used to treat colds, cholecystitis or gastritis. The use of this collection is also recommended for absolutely healthy people, since as a result of use, headaches disappear and mental clarity appears.

Another unique property of lemon grass is that in the form of a tincture it can fight parasites, that is, have an anthelmintic effect.

In case of skin problems, lemongrass can also have a positive effect: it suppresses itching, inflammation, irritation, and helps in the treatment of dermatitis and eczema.

To achieve the desired effect, treat the skin with an infusion of herbs. By using the oil on your face you can get rid of herpes rashes.

In cosmetology

In this area, only oil is used, because it can relieve inflammatory processes and act as an antiseptic. Therefore, in the beauty industry, lemongrass oil is used for:

  • Improved skin tone.
  • Regeneration of hair and nails.
  • Fight acne.
  • Getting rid of blackheads.
  • Reducing pores.

What are the uses of lemongrass oil in cosmetology?

  1. Face masks are great for combating signs of fatigue and removing dark circles under the eyes. To get the necessary remedy, sorghum oil (literally a couple of drops) is added to warm olive oil. And then apply to cleansed facial skin. After 15 minutes, this mask can be easily removed with a napkin.
  2. Aroma combing is a beneficial procedure for hair. To do this, apply a few drops of oil to the comb. The combing process should take place along the entire length of the hair: from roots to ends.
  3. Nail compresses are an excellent option for restoring nail plates. To create this solution, squeeze a couple of drops of lemon juice and a few drops of lemongrass oil into warm olive or sunflower oil. Then the mixture is simply rubbed into the nail without further rinsing.

For weight loss

People who want to get rid of extra pounds simply need to consume lemongrass in their diet, as it is one of the components that allows them to smoothly and harmlessly lose the unwanted weight.

The plant has no fat-burning effects, but it perfectly activates metabolic processes in the body. Therefore, the kilograms will fall off naturally, gradually and steadily.

And if you make it a rule to drink tea with the addition of lemon grass, you can significantly reduce the portion of your food intake. It is recommended to drink this tea between meals.

In order to lose weight, you can also brew tea, which contains not only lemongrass, but also ginger, mint, and lemon. To prepare it, take a pinch of chopped ginger and the same pinch of lemongrass (proportions per glass).

Next, the mixture is poured with boiling water and should sit for at least 5 minutes. Afterwards, squeeze a teaspoon of lemon juice into the almost prepared weight loss tea and add a mint branch. The drink is drunk warm and 3 times a day.

Recipes for use

Lemongrass tea

The tonic and antibacterial effect of lemongrass was noticed in ancient times. Therefore, even now, residents of Southeast Asia simply chew the stems of the plant to get rid of infections and improve the condition of their gums and teeth.

Frequent use of sorghum infusion gives a feeling of freshness and cleanliness in the mouth. On a scientific basis, this effect has already been confirmed: lemongrass extract is the strongest inhibitor of the spread of bacteria and their growth. That is why the plant allows you to minimize the growth of caries in the oral cavity.

Regular consumption of drinks with lemongrass increases the growth of red cells in the blood and is considered a powerful helper in increasing hemoglobin.

In 2014, scientific research found that lemongrass causes the kidneys to secrete more fluid than usual, so drinking lemongrass tea helps remove excess water from the body.

But if anyone thinks that you can treat yourself to such an exotic drink only in Thailand or India, then he is very mistaken.

Lemongrass tea (in the classic composition or with additional additives) can be ordered to any address and enjoy not only a pleasant citrus aroma, but also receive the healing effect of sorghum.

Tea recipe:

You will need 2 main ingredients (water and lemongrass) and, if desired, any sweetener.

  1. We cut fresh stems into rings 1-5 mm thick and pour them into the teapot. If there is no fresh herb, already dried lemongrass (1 teaspoon) will do.
  2. Fill with boiling water.
  3. Let the drink steep for 5 to 15 minutes.

The resulting tea will be filled with a delicate citrus, refreshing and slightly sweet smell and taste. The drink can also be consumed cold: this will not cause it to lose its abilities.

Adding ginger to tea will provide a warming effect.

With a fungus

Since lemongrass is a natural source of essential oils, its use has a beneficial effect on the skin and a healing effect on nails if they suffer from fungal diseases and microbial infections.

The antibacterial effect can be noticed even when exposed to strong rotting processes (skin lesions): microbial eczema, boils or acne.

The healing process of all putrefactive lesions with lemongrass also occurs much faster due to its ability to quickly restore the affected epithelium.

For rinsing

Treating the mouth with oil helps relieve the symptoms of colds. Gargling with lemongrass tincture makes it possible to overcome diseases of the respiratory system.

As well as emphysema, manifestations of herpes, as well as fungal and microbial lesions of the oral cavity.

For inhalations

Lemongrass is also good for inhalation. For a glass of warm water, add 2 drops of oil and 4–6 minutes of the procedure itself.

Pillow for headaches

Lemongrass herb helps relieve headaches, so a small pillow with dried herb next to the main pillow will not only eliminate migraines, but also help relieve fatigue.

For bloating

Lemon grass in the form of tea has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Generally speaking, it normalizes metabolic processes and relieves bloating or nausea.

From fatigue

Thai herbal tea strengthens the immune system and overall tone of the body, and the citrus aroma helps fight stress and depression.

This tea with a calming effect is recommended for both children and adults. The plant protects nerve cells, and the citrus aroma gives strength for the next tests.

For arthritis

The herb contains many polyphenols, so tea and tinctures strengthen the walls of blood vessels and prevent the development of atherosclerosis. At the same time, cholesterol levels decrease. Regular intake of lemongrass can protect yourself from arthritis.

For hair

Lemongrass essential oils are always beneficial for hair. You can use them to comb your hair or simply rub it into the ends. But even regular consumption of tea will have a positive effect on the appearance of your hair.

How to Process Lemongrass

Lemongrass

Typically, lemon grass is used in finely chopped pieces from 2.5 to 5 cm long. But even before cutting, the plant is washed and cleaned. After which only the stems should remain. They are very soft and tender. Only then can the stem be cut.

The method of beating lemongrass is also used. In this cooking method you can get the most unique aroma. How to do it:

  1. We wash the grass under running water.
  2. Remove the green part and the bottom edge (about 3 cm). cut off tough leaves.
  3. Use a meat mallet (or the back of a knife) to beat off the stem.
  4. Cut into pieces up to 5 cm or as indicated in your cooking recipe.
  5. Add lemongrass to the dish at the end of cooking.
  6. If a recipe calls for finely chopped sorghum, then call a food processor to the rescue.
  7. When using dried lemongrass (herb or spice), it is pre-soaked in water.

What goes with it?

In cooking, lemongrass is added when cooking poultry, fish, meat and seafood. When preparing barbecue, pieces of meat can simply be strung on lemongrass stems. The hammered plant is used to coat any food before frying or baking.

Alcoholic drinks also could not do without this spice, because it has a powerful refreshing effect! Therefore, lemongrass is found in many cocktails even in our regions.

As a spice, lemongrass is added to sweet desserts and simply to individual products, for example: coconut, vegetables, fruits, dough, noodles, eggs, nuts, milk, etc. The spice is used as a component of the famous Curry spices.

If we consider lemongrass from the perspective of essential oil, then here too you will find many “partners”: geranium, basil, neroli, jasmine, lavender, rosemary, tea tree, bergamot, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, cedar, patchouli, pine, fir, juniper.

What to replace

It turns out that everything is possible in cooking and replacing lemongrass with other products is quite possible. Of course, you shouldn’t expect such healing properties, but the guests at the table won’t notice the catch!

So what you need to know:

1 tsp lemongrass powder replaces 1 fresh stalk.

It is quite difficult to find a similar aroma by smell, but lemon is considered to be the most common option. That’s why:

1 lemon zest replaces 2 lemongrass stalks.

In addition to the generally accepted equalities, you can experiment. For example, you can enhance the reality of the smell of lemongrass by adding arugula to lemon:

1 tsp lemon zest and 1 arugula leaf replace 1 lemongrass stalk.

Where to buy and how to choose

If you love to travel, then you have the opportunity to even buy fresh lemongrass in Asia.

  • You will find the herb in the form of tea in shops and souvenir counters in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Lemongrass can be purchased fresh or dried in India and Sri Lanka.
  • In our country, it may well be sold in hypermarkets.

If you need to buy lemongrass essential oil, then do not trust the usual market ones. It is better to make a purchase in a specialized store or order online from a seller with a good reputation.

In the Russian Federation, tea with lemongrass is not particularly popular, so it is easiest to find it in online stores. When buying fresh lemongrass, pay attention to its appearance.

The plant must have dense and hard leaves, white-green color and always without spots! The long leaves in the fresh product will be smooth and green.

If the color of the grass has changed to yellow or brown, then this lemongrass is not fresh and it is better to refuse to buy it.

How to grow and store

Lemongrass in a pot

You can store fresh and peeled lemongrass simply in a bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. When frozen, the herb can remain for several months, while the medicinal properties will remain, but only the smell will disappear. Sorghum is frozen only in its pure and dry form.

To store dry lemongrass, you will need to find a dry, clean, and ventilated space. Even when purchasing, even dry lemon grass should have no foreign odors and a valid expiration date.

Dried lemongrass is most often stored in kitchen jars with a tight lid in a cabinet where there is little sunlight. Such conditions are considered the most favorable. Storage period for dry lemongrass: 6 – 12 months.

You can grow lemongrass yourself in garden beds or in a pot on the windowsill. The approximate height of the shoots in such conditions does not exceed 70 cm. The plant is planted with seeds or shoots.

If you decide to grow lemongrass from start to finish, you should start with seeds. In the second half of March, the seeds are sown and soaked in warm water for 24 hours. Then each seed is planted in separate pots or cups.

Laying the soil occurs in the same way as for ordinary flowers: expanded clay is placed on the bottom, soil for flowers is placed in the sun. After 4 days it will be possible to see shoots. Afterwards, the grass can continue to grow in the pot or move to open ground.

When growing in a pot, do not forget to loosen the soil and feed the soil with citrus mixtures every 2 months. Every 6 months the soil in the pot should be changed. To plant in open soil, the temperature outside must be at least 10°C for all 24 hours.

On the soil for lemongrass, you should find a well-lit place, and mix the soil itself with sand and humus. The distance between bushes when planting should be at least 2 m.

Water the plant as the soil dries with settled and warm water. Once a year, lemongrass can be fed with wood ash or infused mullein.

Homemade harvest can be harvested 365 days a year, which means you can constantly delight your body with healing elements, and your home with a pleasant aroma.

Have you tried lemongrass?

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