One of the most powerful essential oils for enhancing self-confidence and feeling like the awesome, beautiful person you are is lemongrass. It’s a super-power oil that supports a healthy body while also helping you feel cool, calm, and collected. Plus, the fresh, herbal, citrus scent always brings a big smile to people’s faces when we spritz it around a room.
Not to be confused with lemon, lemongrass grows in stalks (yes, it’s actually grass) in tropical regions. It’s used in cooking, particularly in Thai and Vietnamese recipes, and its citrus flavor is what gives it its name. Although lemongrass has traditionally been used to treat digestive problems and high blood pressure, and to help combat bacteria, the essential oil has many other potential health benefits -- including mental and spiritual well-being.
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants that are the plant’s “essence”. Combined with carrier oils or diffused into a room for safe use, you can benefit from essential oils by rubbing them on your skin so they absorb transdermally, or by inhaling them so that they stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is the part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long-term memory. What’s interesting is that the limbic system is heavily involved in forming memories, which may explain why familiar smells can trigger memories or emotions. We’ve certainly experienced this sensation -- catching a scent and being transported to a childhood trip or an afternoon spent with our grandmothers!
Lemongrass super-powers for the body
Lemongrass is a super-power essential oil when it comes to your physical health:
- Anti-nausea: Lemongrass is used as a folk remedy for a number of digestive problems, ranging from stomachaches to gastric ulcers. Lemongrass is also a common ingredient in herbal teas and supplements for nausea. Although most herbal products use dried lemongrass leaves, using the essential oil for aromatherapy may provide similar benefits.
- Anti-inflammatory: Chronic inflammation is thought to cause many health problems. These include arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. Lemongrass contains citral, an anti-inflammatory compound.
- Anti-bacterial: A 2010 research study found that lemongrass was effective in fighting drug-resistant bacteria -- including staph -- that cause infections.
- Anti-fungal: A 1996 research study found that lemongrass at a minimum 2.5% concentration helps to fight 4 types of fungus -- one of which causes athlete’s foot.
How lemongrass refreshes your mind and replenishes your soul
Throughout history, various religious traditions have used aromatic botanicals as part of their sacred rituals. More than a dozen aromatic botanicals are referenced in the Old and New Testament books of the Bible, many of which are distilled into the essential oils we still use today: cinnamon, cypress, fir, frankincense, juniper, and sandalwood, just to name a few. Similarly, the ancient Chinese, Greeks, Indians, Persians, and Romans all used aromatic essences for a variety of purposes, including religious rituals. That’s a lot of history behind the science we have today about the benefits of lemongrass essential oil.
Today, in addition to using essential oils for physical health benefits, some of us use essential oils to enhance our mental well-being, replenish our souls, and invite inspiration.
Lemongrass has many super-powers for the mind and soul:
- Lowers blood pressure: High blood pressure is a common side effect of stress. Many studies have shown that aromatherapy, especially combined with massage, eases stress and anxiety. A 2015 study evaluated the effects of lemongrass and sweet almond oils during massage. Study participants who received a massage using the oil once a week for three weeks had lower diastolic blood pressure than those in the control group.
- Regulates anxiety: Lemongrass promotes GABA, a calming neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety.
- Promotes mindfulness: Lemongrass is a good oil for meditation as it clears the mind, aids concentration, and promotes a feeling of centeredness.
- Banishes negativity: Some believe that using lemongrass essential oil repels negativity from entering the home.
How to use lemongrass
- Keep it simple: Buy lemongrass essential oil and use it in your diffuser. Or buy or make an aromatherapy spray that you can use any time, anywhere.
- Make a special blend: Lemongrass combines nicely with lavender, cedarwood, tea tree jasmine and/or geranium. Make your own special blend for your diffuser. Or to create a mindfulness moment anywhere, put a few drops of your essential oil blend in a tissue or small towel, and breathe in and out at least five times, when you need clarity and calm.
- Combine it with yoga: For a real boost, try practicing yoga next in a lemongrass-scented environment!