Lemongrass

lem1Lemongrass, (Cymbopogon citratus) is a herb which belongs to the grass family of Poaceae.

It is well-known and utilized for its distinct lemon flavor and citrusy aroma. Lemongrass is a tall, perennial grass which is native to India and tropical regions of Asia.

In addition to its culinary usage, lemongrass offers a wide array of medicinal benefits and is in extensive demand due to its antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties across Southeast Asia, as well as the African and American continents.

Lemongrass contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds such as luteolin, glycosides, quercetin, kaempferol, elimicin, catecol, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which help in providing an impressive range of medicinal aids.

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The main component of lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which has anti-fungal and antimicrobial qualities, while also providing a distinct lemony smell.

The health benefits of lemongrass include relief from stomach disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections, rheumatism and edema.

The defensive antioxidant activity of the lemongrass herb protects against antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and helps in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels, cellular health, nervous system, healthy skin and immune system.

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Lemongrass is also effective in treating type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity, while also aiding in detoxification. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and helps to combat fatigue, anxiety and body odor.

Although considered safe, the topical use of lemongrass oil or the ingestion of herbal tea made of lemongrass can result in allergic reactions in some people.

In the event of any allergic symptoms, it is always advisable to discontinue the use of lemongrass oil and seek immediate medical attention.

The bulb or bottom part of each stalk is used for most cooking purposes, but the rest of the leaves can be used as well. Teas are usually brewed with the leaves.

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Lemongrass is used in many Thai recipes and adds just the right amount of unique flavor.

The white part of the stem came be cut, diced, bruised and even made in to a paste to extract the flavorful oil.

When using parts of the stem in cooking, most times the stem is removed as it can be very woody.

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Lemongrass combined with the right spices impart such delight.

It is used in cooking chicken and meats, soups, broths, and teas. It also flavors many drinks and desserts.

Growing

Lemongrass grows year-round in tropical climates with warm temperatures.

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Mature plants can be as short as two feet and may reach as high as four feet tall.

The plant usually grows wild and is easily promulgated.Lemon grass does not usually produce seeds.

It is reproduced with portions of the stalk as it will root when you place it in water, if it  is fresh.

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Once your stalk has roots at least an inch long, you can either plant it in a container for indoor growing or take it right out into the garden.

Lemongrass can survive in outdoor or indoor environments, provided that there is adequate sunlight, the soil is adequately nourished and it is given plenty water.

Lemongrass will need a lot of nitrogen, so you should fertilize at least monthly with either a standard or high-nitrogen formula.

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Water your plant regularly and don’t let it completely dry out, especially when the weather is very hot.

Once your plant gets to 3 feet or so in height, you may want to keep the tops of the leaves cut down even more than what you are taking for an actual harvest. This can help keep the size of the plant down.

Lemongrass has a citrus-like (lemon) smell. It is a natural mosquito repellent.

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