Once you grew up in the Caribbean, or with Caribbean parents, you should know that ‘bush tea’ is the cure for Everything!
“Mommy my tummy hurts!” “Drink some tea!”
“Mom I have a bad headache.” “Mek likkle bush tea and drink”
“Mom I think I have ebola!” “Yuh drink de bush tea yet?”
Yeah, we all know it! And one of the most popular of these ‘cure all’ bush teas is the Cymbopogon citratus, more affectionately known as Lemon Grass.
The Lemongrass herb, which is native to Africa and Asia, is a plant with grasslike leaves and a strong, refreshing lemony fragrance. The plant which can be used as culinary flavoring and in perfumes, also has great medicinal properties.
Here in the Caribbean, it is traditionally used to make tea, which is believed to cure many different ailments. Modern research suggests that it may have significant health benefits. Seems like your grandma may have been right all along.
So lets explore some of the health benefits of Lemongrass!
1. Heals Colds and Flu
Lemongrass’ antibacterial and antifungal properties help your body handle coughs, fever and other cold and flu symptoms. Plus, it is loaded with vitamin C that boosts your immune system to fight the infection.
You can use lemongrass oil to relieve pain in muscles and joints, as well as headaches resulting from a cold or the flu.
Plus, lemongrass can be effective in breaking down mucus and phlegm buildup, which can alleviate problems with breathing. This is mainly beneficial when suffering from bronchitis or asthma.
Lemongrass aids in calming the muscles and nerves which helps induce deep sleep. Research has shown that lemongrass tea has sedative and hypnotic properties which help in increasing the duration and quality of sleep. The citronella in lemongrass is also known to have a calming effect on the body and mind.
3. Fight Depression
Lemongrass has properties that can help treat depression. The herb activates the release of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that combats depression. Lemongrass can help to relieves anxiety and uplift one’s spirits.
4. Helps Control Cholesterol Levels
Lemongrass possesses anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that support healthy cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that the regular consumption of lemongrass has shown significant results in sustaining healthy levels of triglycerides and reducing the LDL cholesterol in the body. This helps in preventing the accumulation of lipids in the blood vessels and promotes the unobstructed flow of blood in the arteries and prevents various cardiac disorders such as atherosclerosis.
The anti-cholesterol and anti-atherosclerosis action of lemongrass helps reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine. Plus, it helps in the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, which in turn helps prevent atherosclerotic plaque buildup.
The high potassium content in lemongrass also helps lower and regulate blood pressure.
5. Cleanses and Detoxifies
Regular consumption of lemongrass tea can help to flush and detoxify the body from harmful toxic waste. The diuretic component in lemongrass helps remove toxins, uric acid and bad cholesterol from the body by increasing the frequency and quantity of urination. This also helps clean out the kidneys, liver, blander an pancreas. It also plays a key role in increasing blood circulation, which is important for overall health.
6. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, lemongrass helps treat arthritis, rheumatism, osteoarthritis, gout and other types of joint pain. Plus, lemongrass helps to alleviate muscle spasms or sprains by relaxing the muscles, which results in pain relief.
7. Helps Digestion
Lemongrass promotes healthy digestion. It has antiseptic compounds that effectively kill bad bacteria and parasites in the digestive tract and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the colon.
This assists in the treatment of digestive health issues such as indigestion, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, stomach spasms, vomiting and cramps. Plus, lemongrass has antimicrobial properties that help relieve gastroenteritis.
8. Helps Promote Healthy Skin
Lemongrass is also great for your skin! Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties, lemongrass helps to prohibit bacterial or microbial growth on the skin. This will help keep your skin free of infections as well as decrease issues caused by bacterial or fungal infections.
Further, Lemongrass acts as an astringent, and can help minimize pores, control oily skin and make the skin firm.
9. Helps Combat Body Ordor
Lemongrass oil in a diluted form can work as an effective deodorant. As a matter of fact, many natural health care and beauty experts find lemongrass oil more effective than many of the synthetic deodorants available in the market. The citral in lemongrass is aromatic, which produces that refreshing scent.
It’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties help control excessive sweating and destroy the micro-organisms that cause body odour.
10. Treatment for Cancer
Lemongrass is effective in treating various types of cancers without affecting the healthy normal cells of the body. Research conducted to prove the anti-cancerous activity of lemongrass has shown promising outcomes in the prevention of skin cancer. Studies have shown that the component citral, which is present in lemongrass, helps in inhibiting the growth of hepatic cancer cells during the initial phases and prevents any further production of cancerous cells. Another study has provided supporting evidence regarding the anti-proliferative effect of citral in impeding the growth of human breast cancer cells and the induction of apoptosis.