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Lemongrass: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more


Lemongrass, also called Cymbopogon citratus, is aplant that belongs to the family Gramineae or Poaceae. In Greek, ‘Cymbopogon’ means boat-beard. It is a fragrant, long-living plant that is native to Sri Lanka and South India. Today, it widely grows throughout Asia and tropical America. Freshly cut and slightly dried lemongrass leaves are used to extract essential oils that are further used for medicinal purposes.1

lemongrass benefits

The common names of lemongrass are Sera, Verveine in Hindi; Citronella, Squinant in English; Cimbopogone in Italian; Citongrass in Swedish; Sereh in Indonesian; Zacate Limon in Mexican; Sakumau in Malaysia; Tej-sar in Ethiopia; Capim-cidrao, Capim-Santo in Brazil; Citronella in the USA; Limon out in Turkish; Ta-khrai in Thailand.1

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Lemongrass:

The nutritional found in lemongrass are:

NutrientAmount/100 g
Carbohydrates25.3 g
Proteins1.82 g
Fats0.49 g
Energy99 kcal
Iron8.17 mg
Calcium65 mg
Sodium6 mg
Potassium723 mg
Phosphorus101 mg
Magnesium60 mg
Manganese5.22 mg
Copper0.266 mg
Zinc2.23 mg
Selenium0.7  µg
Vitamin A6 IU
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.065 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.135 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.1 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.05 mg
Vitamin B60.08 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)75  µg
Vitamin C2.6 mg
Table depicting the nutritional value of lemongrass2

Also Read: Wheatgrass: Uses, Benefits, Side effects & More!

Properties Uses of Lemongrass:

The many properties of lemongrass are as follows:

  • It may show anti-inflammatory property
  • It may sow antioxidant property
  • It may show antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) property
  • It may show anti-obesity property
  • It may show anti-bacterial property (kills bacteria)
  • It may show anti-fungal property (kills fungi)
  • It may show analgesic property (pain killer)3
  • It may show anti-diarrhoeal property   
  • It may   help with malaria4
  • It may help lower skin damage)
  • It may show anti-helmintic property (kills parasitic worms)
  • It may show caricidal property (kills ticks and mites)1
  • It may show anticancer property5

Based on my experience, I have observed that fresh leaves of lemongrass might have activity against Setaria digitata, a filarial parasite. Lemongrass may possess antifilarial properties, which could help in combating filarial infections.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Mehendi: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Potential Uses of Lemongrass:

Lemongrass has many properties, because of which it shows potential uses in many disease conditions.

Potential Uses of lemongrass for infection

  • Anti-bacterial property: Lemongrass exhibited anti-bacterial properties in a lab study. Some compounds in lemongrass were identified to show anti-bacterial properties against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.
  • Anti-fungal property: Lemongrass was found to have anti-fungal properties. It could inhibit the growth of fungi that secretes mycotoxins (a toxic substance produced by fungus) in food products and grains.3

The antimicrobial potential of lemongrass has been observed in lab-scale studies. However, more large-scale trials are needed to support the use of lemongrass for infections in humans. Therefore, you are advised to follow the advice of a doctor in case of infectious diseases.

Potential uses of lemongrass for heart and obesity

Several studies have tested lemongrass as a hypoglycaemic (lowering blood sugar level) and hypolipidemic (lowering lipid in the blood) agent to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.3 It was found to lower high cholesterol levels in humans, thus showing heart-protecting activity. It was also found to help lose excess weight in overweight patients.5 However, if you experience any heart problems or want to lose weight, contact your healthcare provider and follow the doctor’s advice.

Potential uses of lemongrass for inflammation

Tissue inflammation is considered one of the leading causes of serious health problems. It is found to be linked with diseases like diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, cardiovascular (related to heart and blood vessels) disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. Several researchers reported that lemongrass contains polyphenols that may show anti-inflammatory properties and reduce inflammation.3 However, before using lemongrass or other herbal remedies for health benefits, you should talk to a doctor or healthcare provider.

Potential uses of lemongrass for anxiety

Many researchers have studied the anti-anxiety effects of lemongrass tea. An experiment found that the lemongrass decoction (concentrated solution) and lemongrass tea could show anti-anxiety effects when given to animals during a trial.3 However, if you struggle with anxiety, talk to a psychiatrist about your symptoms.  

Potential uses of lemongrass for stomach

The boiled and concentrated solution of lemongrass leaf stalk may be used to manage diarrhoea.4 Lemongrass tea might be used to manage indigestion, stomach pain, and gastric ulcers by protecting the linings of the stomach.5 If you experience stomach problems, consult your healthcare provider before using lemongrass to aid your symptoms. Using herbal remedies without a doctor’s consultation can worsen the situation.

Potential uses of lemongrass for the liver

The leaf extract of lemongrass was tested for its liver activity. It was found to be helpful for managing disorders or diseases of the liver.4 However, if you are suffering from liver diseases, using any herb without consulting a doctor can damage the liver. Therefore, talk to your healthcare provider before using lemongrass.

Though there are studies showing the benefits of lemongrass in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of lemongrass on human health. 

In my experience, lemongrass essential oil may have promising antinociceptive effects, meaning it may help reduce pain sensation. While it appears to work both locally and internally through the central nervous system, it’s important to note that individual responses may differ in each person.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Majuphal: Uses, Benefits, Precautions & More!

How to Use Lemongrass?

Lemongrass can be used:3

  • As lemongrass tea
  • As lemongrass oil
  • In water (aromatic drink)
  • In food

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking lemongrass or any herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Over the years, I have observed that the fresh leaf of lemongrass essential oil may have larvicidal activity, which means it can potentially kill mosquito larvae. This activity could be beneficial in controlling mosquito populations and reducing the risk of mosquito-borne diseases.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Lemongrass:

Usually, lemongrass is considered safe for cooking, but if consumed in an excessive amount can cause side effects like

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Allergic reactions like rash and itching.5

Before using lemongrass or other herbs for its health benefits, talk to your healthcare provider about the possible side effects. This will help you make well-informed choices.

Also Read: Palash Tree – Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Precautions to Take With Lemongrass:

Lemongrass should be avoided during pregnancy, as there are chances that it may start menstrual flow.5 Also, an animal study was found to affect the embryo. Therefore, lemongrass should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding.6

Also, before taking lemongrass against any disease conditions, consult your healthcare provider about the possible precautions and limitations of using lemongrass.

Also Read: Genmaicha Tea: Discovering Its Benefits and Unique Flavor

Interactions With Other Drugs:

There is no sufficient information available. However, if you are taking medicines for a health condition, talk to your doctor about the possible interactions of the drug with other medications and herbs. It will help you avoid unwanted herb-drug interactions.

Also Read: Gulvel: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More!

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Is lemongrass helpful for diarrhoea?

The boiled and concentrated solution of lemongrass leaf stalk may be used to relieve diarrhoea.4 However, you should consult a doctor before using herbal remedies like lemongrass.

2) Can lemongrass cure dandruff?

Lemongrass oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and is used in hair tonics to reduce dandruff. It might block the growth of fungi M. furfur, which is linked to dandruff.5

3) Is lemongrass good for the stomach?

Lemongrass tea may protect the stomach lining and is known to manage gastric ulcers, stomach discomforts, and indigestion.5 However, consult a doctor before using lemongrass or any herbal remedy to remedy stomach problems.

4) Does lemongrass cure malaria?

In an animal study, lemongrass was found to show anti-malarial effects.4 However, its anti-malarial effect in humans is yet unknown. Therefore, stick to the doctor’s advice and treatment to manage malaria. Do not use herbal remedies to cure malaria unless a doctor recommends it.

5) How to use lemongrass?

Lemongrass is used as lemongrass tea, oil, aromatic drink, and in food for its lemon flavour.3 However, talk to a healthcare provider about using lemongrass for its health benefits.

6) Is lemongrass helpful for obesity?

During a trial, lemongrass was beneficial in reducing excess weight in obese (overweight) patients.5 If you want to lose or manage weight, talk to a dietician as they can guide you better about the benefits and limitations of each diet.

7) Can I use lemongrass during pregnancy?

No, lemongrass should not be used in pregnancy. There are chances that it can cause menstrual flow.5

8) Is it safer to use lemongrass during breastfeeding?

No, lemongrass should be avoided during breastfeeding.6

9) Are there any side effects of lemongrass?

Lemongrass should be used in moderation. Consuming in excess may cause side effects like dry mouth, tiredness, dizziness, frequent urination, increased appetite, and allergic reactions like rash and itching.5 Therefore, you are advised to consult a healthcare provider before using lemongrass for its health benefits.

10) Is lemongrass good for cholesterol?

Lemongrass was beneficial for managing cholesterol levels in lab studies. The lemongrass extract was found to lower high cholesterol levels in human trials.5 However, more studies are required to support the use of lemongrass in high blood cholesterol in humans. If you have high cholesterol, you need to follow the doctor’s advice on treatment.  


1. Magotra S, Singh AP, Singh AP. A review on pharmacological activities of cymbopogon citratus. Int J Pharm Drug Anal. 2021;151–7. Available at: https://ijpda.com/index.php/journal/article/view/475

2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lemon grass (citronella), raw [Internet]. 2019. p. 1–3. Available at: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168573/nutrients

3. Olorunnisola SK, Asiyanbi -H. T., Hammed, A. M., Simsek S. Mini Review Biological properties of lemongrass : An overview. Int Food Res J. 2014;21(2):455–62. Available at: http://www.ifrj.upm.edu.my/21%20(02)%202014/4%20IFRJ%2021%20(02)%202014%20043.pdf

4. Karkala Manvitha BB. Plants Profile for Cymbopogon nardus (citronella grass). Int J Herb Med. 2010;1(6):5–7. Available at: https://www.florajournal.com/archives/2014/vol1issue6/PartA/3.1.1.pdf

5. Nida Tabassum K. Therapeutic benefits of lemongrass and tea tree. Ann Civ Environ Eng. 2020;4(1):027–9. Available at: https://www.heighpubs.org/hjcee/acee-aid1022.php

6. Ekpenyong CE, Akpan EE, Daniel NE. Phytochemical Constituents, Therapeutic Applications and Toxicological Profile of Cymbopogon citratus Stapf (DC) Leaf Extract. J Pharmacogn Phytochem. 2014;3(1):133–41. Available at: https://www.phytojournal.com/vol3Issue1/Issue_may_2014/32.1.pdf

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