The Quick + Clever : Lemongrass


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A home surrounded by Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratum) is protected from snakes. Lemongrass clears the aura of harmful energy and changes bad luck to good, opening the way up to success and good opportunities. Add Lemongrass to blends to promote psychic vision and for the success of divination as the herb will also add clarity to the messages being received and given.

Lemongrass folks need to find their luck again. They may stumble over their words, feeling inadequate when it comes to articulate their feelings, ideas, and ambitions. Sometimes they resort to being dishonest, even when they are just little white lies, in an attempt to break through what can feel like a communication barrier. Lemongrass folks both struggle to communicate and to receive messages – sometimes they can be sharp going after the messenger and end up not paying attention to the actual message. Dampness and inflammation (the Damp/Stagnation tissue state) is a common complaint often materializing as sluggishness and a feeling of swelling. When Lemongrass folks are able to dry out and claim the beneficial qualities of their blocked Mercurial energies, their communication becomes unblocked, their become more flexible in mind and body, and are able to become messengers themselves.

Most folks are familiar with Lemongrass as a culinary ingredient that is found in many southeast Asian dishes like Tom Kha (yum!). While I’ll be discussing Lemongrass from a primarily Traditional Western Herbalism (TWH) perspective, I encourage you to explore the ancient and diverse cultures of southeast Asian herbal traditions that have long used Lemongrass as a standard herb in their Apothecary traditions including, but certainly not limited to, the Jamu healing traditions of Indonesia, Ramuan of Malaysian, and as well as Thai herbal healing traditions.

Lemongrass makes a wonderful tea and eases indigestion with its sweet lemony taste and delightful fragrance. The herb also has constituents that protect against blood platelet aggregation, protecting against clots. In TWH Lemongrass is typically classified as a cool and dry herb, so it would be helpful in addressing Hot and Damp tissue states. I have seen, however, Lemongrass categorized as hot and dry in Malaysian practice. For me, Lemongrass has less of a refrigerant quality as it is gently calming but has a taste that contains a fiery edge within it (like a combination of mild ginger and lemon). Depending on what herbs it is combined with you can pull out Lemongrass’ cooling or heating qualities. As a drying herb, soundly in the element of Air and under the guardianship of Mercury, there is a quality of cleverness and dry wit to Lemongrass that underlies its initial sweet taste and scent. Lemongrass is both one thing and then the other, which lends it to being a useful herb when transitions and initiations are occurring in your life and you are taking up new identities, especially when these identity shifts are accompanied by the change of physical appearance.

There are some very early studies that Lemongrass may induce apoptosis in some types of cancer which essentially means that the cancer cells destroy themselves. Some folks have begun to use the herb as a cancer preventative and I find that it is a great addition to your rotation of daily teas to keep your cells happy and healthy. The herb is used as well for common household complaints such as colds, the ‘flu, fevers, insomnia, and diarrhea (remember it is drying and an astringent). The flavor of Lemongrass helps “the medicine go down” so to speak, as its sweet flavor can alleviate some of the stronger tastes of other necessary medicinal herbs (another Mercurial quality of delivering what can feel like difficult and challenging, but very necessary, messages).

The essential oil is used as a disinfectant, containing antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Add a few drops to your countertop cleaners for a good scent and swift action against bacteria!

Topically, Lemongrass has many uses from reducing inflammation, treating boils, cuts, wounds, as well as helping swollen gums. The herb is used in prenatal massage blend oils as part of the Ramuan or Malaysian tradition of herbal healing as well as being used in postpartum baths to promote healing by reducing swelling and promoting blood circulation. I have made a gorgeous smelling herbal oil by infusing coconut oil with fresh Lemongrass and then adding drops of Lemongrass essential oil (check out my Herbal Oil Tutorial). I use it for conditions of inflamed tissue such as lower back strain, tendonitis, and assisting in repairing connective tissue tears. Lemongrass is also an insect repellant, so you can take care of your aching muscles after a long day outside without having to continuously swat away those biting bugs!

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4 Comments

  1. Emilie

     /  September 5, 2013

    Hi, I really adore your blog and shop! I have a question: you write about “rotation of daily teas”. This is something I have been concerned about, how one can drink herbal tea safely. Currently I drink a lot of (fresh) Spearmint tea, say three cups daily. I was doing it every day to combat some hormonal and digestive issues, until I read that drinking the same herbal tea for a long time is bad for you, then I started taking it 2-3 non-consecutive days a week instead. I also drink ginger/galangal/turmeric tea, and lemon balm for its calming properties, but I take these somewhat less regularly. I also just ordered your Steady blend (looks amazing btw!). Could you advise me how I can safely consume herbal teas to get the benefits I want, specifically the Spearmint, without overdosing or habituating to them? :)

    Reply
    • Hiya, Emilie!

      The herbal teas you have been taking are wonderful to drink every day for the long term. Many herbal teas that are commonly available (such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Rose) are not only fine to enjoy every day, but are more effective medicinally when they are.

      Specifically, my comment about “rotation of daily teas” is in reference to creating a cancer-preventative practice. Cancer often likes and thrives on regularity so when we switch up the medicinal herbs we are taking the idea is that we are creating an environment in which cancer is less likely to thrive. When you’re concerned about cancer, switching up medicinal herbs includes spices in your food, tinctures you’re taking, essential oils you’re smelling, as well as regularly enjoying nutritive and nervine herbs on a daily basis.

      To learn more about the teas you’re drinking, I would recommend purchasing a good materia medica. You can look at my LibraryThing page (http://www.librarything.com/catalog/wortsandcunning) to see some of the books I recommend.

      Thanks for stopping by the Apothecary!

      Reply
      • Emilie

         /  September 7, 2013

        Thank you so much for that very helpful answer, I’m glad to be reassured about my beloved Spearmint tea! I think it was helping me a lot so I am happy to go back to daily consumption. The lemon balm is great also, wonderful in making me feel more grounded… so I am looking forward to trying “Steady”! In fact, when reading a previous post of yours about plant allies, I thought of Lemon Balm as my ally, due to its calming effects (I’m a bit of a worrywart – ok, that is an understatement) as well as its affinity with the honeybee (I love bees and am hoping to get into beekeeping). Now I just need to work on keeping it alive for more than two days on my window sill…

        I will check out those books, I have a book about herbs that came highly recommended to me, and it does include information in the effects of different plants, but not much about how to actually prepare and take them so as to gain those effects. Your blog has been very helpful with this though! :)

        Thank you again <3

      • We are so glad you’ve found our writings useful and that you’ve discovered an ally in Lemon Balm. It is a tenacious herb when it comes to growing it and hopefully you’ll have greater success from here on out! Be well and stop back often!

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