Lemongrass, or cymbopogon citratus, can be crushed into powder, chopped or shaved to add flavor in Asian cuisine, or steeped in hot water to make herbal tea. Lemongrass is also used to make citronella oil, which is a natural insect repellent. Lemongrass tea can be a soothing drink, with mild sedative effects. While you may enjoy a nice hot cup of lemongrass tea as a tasty herbal beverage, you will be pleased to know that you may also be reaping several health benefits as you sip.
One of the most exciting potential benefits of lemongrass tea is revealed within a growing body of research on its cancer-fighting properties. In Israel, a research team was led by Dr. Rivka Ofir and Prof. Yakov Weinstein, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, to study whether lemongrass may have cancer-fighting potential. According to the Alternative Remedies website, these researchers from Ben Gurion University discovered in 2006 that the component that produces the lemon aroma in herbs like lemongrass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. The study found that citral, the aromatic substance found in lemongrass, causes cancer cells to essentially commit suicide using a mechanism called programmed cell death. The researchers noted that a drink with as little as one gram of lemongrass appears to have the necessary amount of citral needed to prompt the cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube. More research on the cancer-fighting potential of lemon grass continues, but these findings suggest that adding lemongrass tea to your diet could offer life-saving benefits.
A possible link between lemongrass and cholesterol was investigated by researchers from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, and the findings were published in "Journal of Lipids" in 1989. According to the Dean Coleman website, after three months, cholesterol levels among the responders had decreased by a significant 38 points. When the participants of the study stopped taking lemongrass, cholesterol levels returned to their previous levels. The potential for lemongrass tea to be used as a natural alternative to prescription drugs offers new hope, and researchers continue to investigate this possible link.
Vitamins and Minerals
Lemongrass tea contains a wide array of beneficial vitamins and minerals. The list of vitamins includes a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin A and several of the B vitamins, including folate, or B9. Folate is an essential B vitamin that has been shown to prevent birth defects and is also beneficial to the health of cells in your body. Minerals in lemongrass tea include manganese, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. Because lemongrass tea contains so many nutrients, it is often utilized as a home health remedy to aid with digestive problems, fight off infection and improve overall symptoms of the common cold.