The Health Benefits Of Lemongrass Tea

Utilizing the medicinal properties of plants is a tradition as old as mankind. Just like animals instinctively know what to seek out in nature when their bodies are in need of something, so too did ancient humans use this intrinsic gift (per Pharmacognosy Review). Stemming from that innate knowledge, extensive medicinal systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) created, documented, and passed down herbal remedies that have been healing our ancestors for generations.

In modern society plant, medicine is often written off as silly hippy stuff. Instead, we tend to put our trust in prescription medications. But according to Scientific American, nearly half of the pharmaceuticals we use are derived from plants that have long been used to treat the same ailments. Determined to prove the legitimacy of certain claims made by herbal practitioners, researchers have begun diving deeper into the world of herbal medicine, examining the benefits of different herbs through scientific studies.

Lemongrass has become the focus of some of these scientific studies in recent years. While more research is needed for it to be totally backed by modern science, current research corresponds with many of its traditional uses. Let's take a closer look.

Historical uses of lemongrass

Native to India and Southeast Asia, lemongrass has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes in these regions for thousands of years (per Encyclopedia). Referred to as "fever grass" in some cultures, it has long been used as a fever reducer in many parts of the world, according to New Directions Aromatics. However, don't let the nickname fool you — that's just one of the many traditional uses of lemongrass. It is also commonly used to treat stomach issues and diarrhea, promote digestion, boost immunity, fight infection, reduce blood pressure, alleviate pain, ease stress, and improve menstrual irregularities.

Despite its extended use in traditional medicine, knowledge of its healing powers didn't become widespread until 1905 when Sri Lankan researcher J.F. Jovit began investigating the herb and sharing his findings. By 1947, lemongrass was being produced commercially in Florida and Haiti. Today, it is among the most popular essential oils on the market and the tea or dried herb can be found in most natural food stores. 

What has science discovered about lemongrass's medicinal properties?

As researchers examine the healing properties of lemongrass, they've discovered that many of its traditional uses hold up. A 1996 study published in Microbios found that lemongrass was effective against 22 strands of bacteria and twelve fungi (including those that cause thrush, ringworm, and athlete's foot), proving its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Further backing this, a 2010 study reported that lemongrass was effective against multiple drug-resistant strains of bacteria responsible for skin, blood, and intestinal infections. 

A 2014 animal study published in the Libyan Journal of Medicine showed that, when ingested or applied topically, lemongrass had an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing swelling in the paws and ears of mice with edema. Another 2017 study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research showed lemongrass could, in fact, reduce pain when taken by participants with rheumatoid arthritis. To reap these benefits you can enjoy a cup of lemongrass tea, or apply a wet tea bag locally.

According to Healthline, lemongrass is a common addition to herbal teas designed to relieve nausea and aid in digestion and has even proven effective in treating stomach ulcers. A 2006 study published in Pharmacologyonline also found lemongrass to be as effective as antidiarrheal drugs in mice with diarrhea. It has also been shown to lower cholesterol in animals, according to a 2007 study.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine suggests that the scent of lemongrass can also relieve symptoms of stress and tension. So what are you waiting for? Brew up a cup of lemongrass tea — Mother Nature's orders!