Lemongrass essential oil is a combination of several individual components that work together to give the oil its healing abilities. Alone, these components will not have the same effect as when they are combined in the oil. There are several different species of lemongrass but the ones that are used to make lemongrass essential oil are all similar in their chemical makeup. Lemongrass essential oil is mainly composed of myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol, geraniol, neral, limonene and citral. Here is an explanation of the more common components and how they give lemongrass oil its healing and aromatherapy characteristics.
Myrcene is a natural organic compound that is classified as a monoterpene. It is considered an analgesic, or a painkiller. Myrcene has been used to relieve pain, slow bacterial growth, help with the effects of diabetes, reduce inflammation, help with symptoms of insomnia, suppress muscle spasms and relieve symptoms of psychosis. Lemongrass oil is often used to treat sore muscles and sprains. It can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the painful areas. It may also be inhaled to treat depression or insomnia. It has also been scientifically proven to stop bacterial and fungal growth.
Citronellal is a monoterpenoid that is responsible for lemongrass oil’s recognizable lemon scent. It is a sedative and also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. While it can irritate the skin, incidents are rare. It is also the chemical component that makes lemongrass a great ingredient to use in bug repellents. The oil can be mixed with other ingredients to make a homemade bug spray or added to a candle. Another great way to keep bugs at bay is to plant lemongrass. The herb will still give off the same bug repellent properties.
A monoterpene, geranyl acetate is a colorless liquid that has a wonderful floral aroma. It is a component found in many essential oils, especially those used as a fragrance aid for body care products. Try adding lemongrass to household cleaners as an added scent enhancer.
Nerol is a monoterpene that has a rose-like aroma. It is often used in perfumes but it helps lemongrass leave behind pleasant scents when used in cleaners or added to diffusers. Diffusing lemongrass through a room can help to eliminate airborne bacteria while removing stale odors.
Geranio is a monoterpenoid and an alcohol that has a rose-like scent and is often added to perfume, aftershave lotions, bath products and lipsticks. It naturally found in lemongrass essential oil but when isolated or produced synthetically it is often added as a flavoring agent to different peach, raspberry, plum or watermelon flavored foods. It is capable of repelling mosquitoes but can actually attract bees. Lemongrass essential oil is sometimes used to move or trap bees because of this unique property. When consumed via lemongrass oil, geraniol has been shown to kill helminths, which are intestinal worms.
Neral is another chemical component that aids to lemongrass oil’s citrus scent. It has a very strong lemon odor but is on the sweeter side. Lemongrass is sometimes added to candles because of its pleasant aroma. The oil can also help with anxiety, mental fatigue and depression. The calming scent can help to refresh and rejuvenate the body, mind and soul.
This chemical component is classified as a terpene and smells quite a bit like oranges. It is a common ingredient in cosmetics. It is often added to cleaning products because of its refreshing scent. In medicine, limonene can relieve heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Lemongrass oil is thought to help with many digestive issues. One of the most painful stomach issues that it can help with is a stomach ulcer, or painful sores lining the stomach. Limonene is also thought to help treat cancer by slowing down the progress of tumors. It may also help to prevent cancer all together. It is often used as a weight loss aid and to treat bronchitis.
Citral is a chemical component found in abundance in lemongrass essential oil. It has an intense lemon odor and also adds a lemon flavor when used in cooking or added to beverages. Studies have shown that up to 1.7% of the population may be allergic to citral but it has no other known issues and is not considered a carcinogenic.
Research has actually shown that citral may be a holistic cancer treatment. While it will not cure cancer by itself it can be effective when combined with other types of treatment, such as juices and therapies. Citral will boost the effect of these other treatments. Lemongrass can be taken in a capsule form but the more popular way is to make a tea with it. Researches suggest that eight glasses of tea should be consumed throughout the day when a patient is receiving chemotherapy or radiation. There are certain cancer treatments where lemongrass should be strictly avoided so speak with your medical adviser before medicating with lemongrass. However, the future is bright for this type of treatment as studies continue and certain individuals rave of its results.
Citral is also an antioxidant that activates an important enzyme in the body. This enzyme can stop and prevent damage from an excess of free radials in the body.
Lemongrass is often added to culinary dishes. It is rich in potassium and is a great source of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Many of the oil’s benefits, such as anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, can be experienced through oral consumption of the plant just as efficiently as topical application. Here is a breakdown of the nutrition facts when added in an herb form.
One cup of raw lemongrass:
Total Carbohydrates: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 0.1 gm
Protein: 1 gm
Vitamin C: 1.7 mg
Niacin: 0.7 mg
Folate: 50.2 mcg
Potassium: 484 mg
Phosphorus: 67.7 mg
Calcium: 43.6 mg
Magnesium: 40.2 mg
Manganese: 3.5 mg
Iron: 5.5 mg