Everything You Need To Know About The Lemongrass Plant
This tall and fragrant grass makes for one of the zestiest essential oils
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LEMONGRASS PLANT
Lemongrass essential oil, latin name Cymbopogon citratus, comes to us from the bushy clumps of tall grass known as the lemongrass plant. What characterizes this fragrant plant are the long and narrow, pale green colored leaves and their razor-sharp edges. When distilled as lemongrass essential oil, the plant produces a strong, sharp, lemony-herbal aroma that many people enjoy aromatically as it is freshening as well as deodorizing.
Lemongrass is, not surprisingly, a member of the grass family called Poaceae and is native to Asia, Africa, Australia and tropical islands. It is a perennial plant (meaning that it lives for many years) that grows in dense clumps of stiff, upright stalks, and tightly packed grey-green leaves. Lemongrass grows from a rhizome, or bulb, but it doesn’t tend to spread as much as some rhizomes can. Each clump of lemongrass can be up to 1.8 metres (6 feet) high, and 1.2 metres (4 feet) wide. The individual stalks look a bit like spring onions, but they are much woodier.
Lemongrass requires bright sunlight for most of the day, as well as damp soil and excellent drainage. It’s a true tropical plant, and needs to be planted in USDA hardiness zone 10 and above, meaning areas that never freeze over winter. In cooler areas, it can be grown indoors and in greenhouses, as long as it gets lots of sun.
TRADITIONAL USES FOR THE LEMONGRASS PLANT
The traditional uses for the lemongrass plant are many and they are varied. Lemongrass is a staple in Southeast Asian cuisine, often used in a variety of dishes including curries, soups, salads and curry paste. In her book “Essential Oils: A Comprehensive Handbook For Aromatic Therapy” author Jennifer Peace Rhind shares many of the well-known Indigenous uses of the plant including as a tea or tincture used to soothe sore throats, as an analgesic used to treat pain and numb sore, achy muscles, as a relaxant for the nervous system and quite commonly as an enjoyable fragrance.
Let’s look at some of the products we offer at Saje that include the lemongrass plant and how it can be added to your daily wellness routines. Additionally, head over to our Ingredient Garden for an in-depth look at what makes the lemongrass plant valuable to so many.
HOW THE LEMONGRASS PLANT CAN REFRESH AND REVIVE YOUR HOME
Because it’s known for its fresh, uplifting yet soothing and cleansing aroma, lemongrass essential oil is a welcome addition to diffuser blends that are both bright and inviting as well as balancing and pleasant to fragrance the air in your home. A few of our favorites include:
After The Rain diffuser blend: for a lively, exhilarating and renewing scent experience that rivals the freshness of the air after a rain shower, this blend combines woody and earthy notes of balsam fir, vetiver and pine needle with sweet, citrusy notes of bergamot, grapefruit and spearmint tied together beautifully with the zesty freshness of lemongrass. Try diffusing this blend to simulate the smell of dew on the lawn after a spring sun shower.
Elevate diffuser blend: for the person who loves their home to smell of juicy citruses bursting with freshness, reach for the enlivening and energizing notes of lemongrass, mandarin, orange and yuzu that make up our well-loved diffuser blend called Elevate. Smells like sipping freshly squeezed juice while swaying leisurely on your porch swing in the summertime.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SOAP USING THE LEMONGRASS PLANT
We offer two very different 100% natural soap options containing the lemongrass plant, one for your body in the bath or shower and one for your kitchen sink and doing your dishes. Let’s explore them a little more:
Liquid Sunshine bar soap: our well-loved Community favorite line of products, Liquid Sunshine, was joined most recently by this rich, frothy and foamy bar soap made from 100% nature-derived ingredients alongside fresh and sweet essential oils of lemongrass and tangerine. The base of all of our bar soaps is made without any artificial fragrances, known to cause respiratory problems and skin sensitivity, as well as without alcohol which can be drying and stripping to the skin. Instead, we use skin-friendly and soothing saponified palm, coconut and olive oil to richly moisturize your skin and promote renewal.
Dish Wish Zesty: the next soap we’re sharing about today is not for your body, it’s for washing your dishes at the kitchen sink! When this innovative, entirely plant-derived product joined our core collection at the beginning of 2018 we couldn’t have been more excited to step into the wellness space in a different way than we had previously. Being able to offer home cleaning products that are good for you and good for the environment was at the heart of this product launch, and we love how many homes we’ve been able to share this hardworking product with. Gentle on your hands and powerful on grease, this zesty citrus dish soap cleans your pots, pans and glassware with a brightening blend of lemon, grapefruit, and orange essential oils. The hero ingredient in the base of Dish Wish is a mouthful - it’s called sodium laurylglucosides hydroxypropylsulfonate. This fancy word is used to describe an ingredient that is a sugar compound derived from fruits and vegetables and is known for being extremely safe and gentle on the skin while it acts as a natural cleansing agent.
HOW TO USE THE LEMONGRASS PLANT'S SINGLE NOTE ESSENTIAL OIL
Lastly, we offer pure lemongrass essential oil as a single note bottle, for those who want the invigorating, fresh and cleansing aroma of lemongrass on its own. Whether you’re diffusing a couple of drops at home to help your space feel refreshed and deodorized or you’re looking to feel at ease and release stressful thoughts, lemongrass is an excellent addition to any at-home aromatherapy tool kit. You can try adding a few drops to a bowl of steaming water for a facial and to enjoy deep breathing, or try a very small amount with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil for use in body massage.
LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR INCORPORATING THE LEMONGRASS PLANT INTO YOUR WELLNESS ROUTINE
The fresh and light notes of the lemongrass plant are typically described as top to medium; in aromatherapy this means that even though they are detected by the nose quickly, they tend to dissipate easily. Lemongrass is unique in that it has more staying power than other zesty or citrusy essential oils like lemon or orange, but it has many of the same benefits and properties like its uplifting and boosting effect. Here are three unique ways you can use the lemongrass plant and lemongrass essential oil as part of your wellness routine:
- Try it dried or fresh. Both dry or fresh lemongrass can be used to make what is commonly known as a tisane, or an herbal tea. The lemongrass plant has a lemony, herbaceous and slightly floral note, which many people describe as having similar properties to ginger and use in some similar ways, such as for sore throats or to soothe the stomach. Fresh or dried lemongrass can be steeped or boiled and also pairs nicely with a touch of honey.
- Choose carefully. Fresh lemongrass is commonly available at most Asian food and grocery stores, located among the other fresh produce. When buying fresh lemongrass, you want to carefully select stalks that are fragrant and bright yellow-green from the bulb to the tip of the stalk. If a stalk is browning, loose or crumbling, it’s likely that it’s old and will have lost much of its flavor and nutritional value.
- Relieve stress naturally. Adding 1-3 drops of lemongrass essential oil to a smooth and easily absorbed carrier oil like coconut or jojoba is one of our favorite ways to indulge in massage. Work the blend into tight areas of the body like the shoulders and upper back, breathing in the calming and renewing fresh scent to feel at ease.
The lemongrass plant is used for an impressive array of properties - and, as we shall see, the essential oil shares many of these.
—Jennifer Peace Rhind