I fastened my pace as the clouds began to gather in the sky. The beautiful blue hue was pushed aside by the dark grey shadow. I got the first splatter of rain while I was starting my bike. The rainfall increased whizzing from the sky soaking me from head to toe.
It was a typical monsoon day of June. I entered home to the aroma of Indian Chai tea with citrusy lemongrass and freshly grated ginger. Without even a sip my whole body felt rejuvenated as the refreshing aroma poured into my nose….
Lemon grass is commonly available during the rainy season in India. It is a common practice to drink lemongrass infused tea during these months, probably to fight against colds, sore throats, coughs and the flu.
Lemongrass, as the name suggests belongs to the grass family. It is a tall stalky grass like plant, with sharp edges. It is native to Southeast Asia and cultivated in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, the Caribbean, Australia, and Florida. Lemongrass has lemony, ginger-like taste and fresh lemony smell with earthy traces. Lemongrass can be used in fresh or dried form. The dried lemongrass is further found in whole, shredded, or ground form. Recreate the dried one by dipping it in warm water before using.
Lemongrass is a vital part of Asian cuisine. The lemongrass oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, bath salts, perfumes, hair products, a cleaning agent, furniture polish and as an effective, non-toxic insect repellent.
Lemongrass oil is sometimes mistaken as citronella oil, the most common used in scented candle and as mosquito repellent. But bug-fighting citronella oil is different variety of lemongrass that’s inedible. This is not the lemongrass we are exploring today.
Lemongrass in the kitchen
1. Lemongrass perfectly complements meat, fish and seafood dishes.
2. It can be used in soups, marinades and sauces.
3. Tie the leaves in a knot and let them simmer in a curry and enjoy the magic of lemongrass.
4. Lemongrass is used to flavor spice pastes and blends throughout Southeast Asia.
5. Immerse whole stalks like a stirrer to add a touch of lemongrass in drinks or to flavor lemonade.
6. Put stalks in foil when you bake or barbecue fish.
7. Make your own spice rub by adding 2 stalks of lemongrass pieces, a garlic clove, 1 tbsp coriander, 1 tbsp brown sugar in a spice grinder. Combine them and add and ¼ c Asian fish sauce and use as a rub.
1. Lemongrass may help reduce your cancer risk
Lemongrass has citral, an antioxidant which is believed to have powerful anticancer abilities against some cancer cells. The researchers who studied “the anti-cancer ability” of citral, found out that the amount of citral in a regular cup of lemongrass tea is enough to kill human cancer cells. Lemongrass can directly kill cancer cells or it can boost your immune system so much so that your body gets strong enough to fight-off cancer on its own.
According to the researchers in the journal Chemical and Biological Interactions “lemongrass oil has a promising anticancer activity and causes loss in tumor cell viability,”. Occasionally, the lemongrass tea is prescribed as supportive therapy during chemotherapy and radiation (after consulting with oncologist).
2. Lemongrass is excellent for Digestion
Lemongrass has been a traditional Indian and Asian remedy for digestive issues. It has carminative and diuretic properties which helps to soothe the stomach. Also, it has citral which helps in digestion. It is a practice to drink lemongrass tea after dinner in traditional Asian homes. Lemongrass tea is believed to be very effective on any stomach problems including bloating, constipation, stomach pain or indigestion.
3. Lemongrass is excellent for immune system
Lemongrass is versatile and is exceptional in boosting immune system. Lemongrass oil is equipped with analgesic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal, antiseptic and astringent properties. It is also considered as anti-depressant; lemongrass tea is used to relieve tension and aid sleep.
1. Make traditional lemon grass tea for all the above and many more health benefits. Add 1 tsp of fresh or dried lemon grass to 2 cups of boiling water. Let it boil for 5 mins and steep for 5 more mins. Add raw honey or any other natural sweetener. Enjoy warm or let it chill, add ice and enjoy as iced tea.
2. Boil water and add lemon grass leaves, basil leaves, cardamom and dried ginger. Let it steep for few mins and enjoy while warm. This is an excellent remedy for cough, cold and digestive issues.
3. Add few drops of lemongrass oil to bath water, feel refreshed, stress free and enjoy rejuvenated skin.