Throughout the West Indies, and especially Jamaica, people use fever grass tea as an herbal remedy for colds, coughs and lowering fevers. Fever grass is the Jamaican name for lemongrass, and the tea is made from either fresh or dried “leaves” from the stalk of the plant; these are then cut into smaller pieces. Fever grass tea has natural anti-inflammatory properties and may also provide protection for your kidneys.
A 2010 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” found that an infusion of lemongrass leaf, meaning fever grass tea, helped reduce inflammation. The study found that the flavonoid content present in the tea -- from the essential oils of the plant that were leached into the fluid -- led to lower nitric oxide levels, which resulted in less inflammation. While the study was promising, more research needs to be done on fever grass as a potential treatment for inflammatory diseases.
Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Lemongrass contains essential oils with numerous health properties. These oils are transferred to tea when the leaves are exposed to boiling water. A 2011 publication of “Food and Chemical Toxicology” found that blood cholesterol levels were lowered after animal test subjects took an extract of lemongrass essential oil. Researchers also verified that lemongrass was safe for consumption at doses common in folk medicine and that the cholesterol-lowering effect of lemongrass would benefit from further study.
Provides Kidney Protection
An animal study published in the “Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences” found that lemongrass extract reduced the amount of kidney damage after a three-week study. Researchers gave rabbits varying amounts of lemongrass extract every day to their test subjects and resulted in regular urinary production and chemical composition in the urine, as well as healthy electrolyte and body weight levels. While researchers found that lemongrass showed significant kidney health benefits, more study is needed before recommending lemongrass as a treatment for maintaining kidney health.
Making Fever Grass Tea
Fever grass tea can be made from dried lemongrass that has already been precut. Both lemongrass and fever grass teas are available in loose “leaf” or tea bag form. But you can also make fever grass tea from fresh lemongrass. To do so, use the woodier portions of the stalks -- the parts not often used for cooking -- and trim to 1/2- or 1-inch lengths. Add the cut pieces to boiling water and boil for five minutes, letting it cool slightly before drinking as is. While people often drink fever grass tea hot, it can also be served cold or mixed with other herbs -- such as ginger -- and sweetened before drinking.