Lemongrass tea is one of my favorite homemade teas. It also doesn’t hurt the tea has important effects on blood parameters (like red and white blood cell count). So, is it a surprise that lemongrass essential oil also has incredible health benefits?
What is Lemongrass Essential Oil?
Lemongrass oil is made by steam distilling the lemongrass plant.
Now, there are two types of lemongrass: an East Indian version, whose botanical name is Cymbopogon flexuosus and a West Indian one (botanical name: Cymbopogon citratus). You’ve seen the West Indian one in my garden.
The essential oil made from the East Indian version is much more common though. Most essential oil brands sell this one. It’s a pity though, the West Indian oil is far better researched and seems to be more potent.
Lemongrass oil has a lemon-like, citrus smell that is absolutely wonderful. The smell comes from the high levels of the chemical, citral, in the oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil Benefits
Here I’ll focus more on the essential oil benefits of the East Indian variety (Cymbopogon flexuosus) since it’s more common.
It is anti-inflammatory
Lab and animal studies have found lemongrass oil fights inflammation.
This 2017 study on human cells found the oil inhibited many biomarkers linked to inflammation. So, the researchers thought the oil could be good for treating inflammatory skin conditions.
It’s worth a try!
Lemongrass oil is antibacterial
Lemongrass tea has antibacterial benefits so it makes sense the oil has these benefits too.
This 2016 study found the oil inhibited and killed the bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii and its multi-drug resistant strains.
An earlier study from 2009 found the vapors of lemongrass and geranium oil:
“inhibited growth of antibiotic-sensitive and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in vitro and reduced surface and airborne levels of bacteria.”
That’s why the researchers here recommended the oil as a possible method of air disinfection.
It is antifungal
Lemongrass oil is not limited to killing bacteria; it also works on yeast, mold, and other fungi species.
A 2018 study tested 60 essential oils on Aspergillus niger and Candida albicans. According to the study, 10 oils had “remarkable” antifungal benefits. They were sandalwood (Indian, Australian and Hawaiian), lemon balm, lemongrass, cilantro, cassia, cinnamon, patchouli and vetiver.
Side note: like lemongrass tea, lemon balm tea is wonderful!
It is insecticidal
The oil was tested on the red flour beetle in this 2012 study. The results showed the oil was more effective than a common commercial repellent. But, the oil wasn’t the strongest – palmarosa oil was stronger against the beetle.
It kills spiders too
There are a couple articles too that show lemongrass oil can act against arachnids like spiders, dust mites, ticks, and more.
Get Lemongrass Oil:
Use Lemongrass Essential Oil
Although the oil can help with inflammatory skin conditions, talk to your doctor before using it on your skin. It’s important. I’m not a doctor and nothing here is medical advice! So, the safest way to use the oil for your condition is to talk to your doctor first.
After that, patch test it. Dilute a couple drops of the oil in a tablespoon of a carrier oil like coconut or avocado. Dab on the inside of your elbow and leave for a couple hours.
If you feel burning, wash the area immediately – you may be allergic. If this happens, don’t use the oil on your skin. But, if you don’t feel any tingling, then dilute the essential oil in the same way with the carrier oil and use wherever on your skin (always dilute!).
Also, if you are not sensitive to the oil, you can add it to your diffuser. A couple drops is fine; nothing too strong.
I sometimes make an air purifying spray with the oil. I fill a spray bottle with water, add a cap full of alcohol and a couple drops of the oil. A few times, I’ve added a couple drops of jojoba oil too. Shake and spray high up and allow the fine mist to settle down. P.S. I leave the room for a couple hours to let the mist settle.
Or try lemongrass tea
If you are sensitive to the essential oil or if you can get fresh lemongrass, boil the leaves instead. The vapors created will be a diluted version of the oil vapors and they should have similar air-purifying and antimicrobial benefits.
Oh and drink the tea too! See how to make it here: