Cymbopogon

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Cymbopogon
Lemon grass
YosriNov04Pokok Serai.JPG
Lemon grass plant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Tribe: Andropogoninae
Subtribe: Andropogoneae
Genus: Cymbopogon
Spreng.
Species

About 45, see text

Cymbopogon, commonly known as lemongrass (UK: /ˈlɛmənˌɡrɑːs/; US: /ˈlɛmənˌɡræs/) is a genus of about 45 species of grasses, (of which the type species is Cymbopogon citratus, a natural and soft tea anxiolytic[citation needed]) native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Common names include lemon grass, lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, cha de Dartigalongue, fever grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, or gavati chaha, amongst many others.

Uses[edit]

Lemongrass is native to Australia and tropical Asia. It is widely used as a herb in Asian cuisine. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for use with poultry, fish, beef, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries such as Togo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Latin American countries such as Mexico. Lemongrass oil is used as a pesticide and a preservative. Research shows that lemongrass oil has antifungal properties.[1] Despite its ability to repel insects, its oil is commonly used as a "lure" to attract honey bees. "Lemongrass works conveniently as well as the pheromone created by the honeybee's Nasonov gland, also known as attractant pheromones. Because of this, lemongrass oil can be used as a lure when trapping swarms or attempting to draw the attention of hived bees."[2]

C. citratus from the Philippines, where it is locally known as tanglad

Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grow to about 2 m (6.6 ft) and have magenta-colored base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent (especially mosquitoes)[3] in insect sprays and candles, and in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan Island, Indonesia, and the Philippines.[4] Therefore, its origin is assumed to be Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, as a flavoring.

Citronella is usually planted in home gardens to ward off insects such as whitefly adults. Its cultivation enables growing some vegetables (e.g. tomatoes and broccoli) without applying pesticides. Intercropping should include physical barriers, for citronella roots can take over the field.[5]

Lemongrass oil, used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts found in India as a preservative. It is used at the Oriental Research Institute Mysore, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage in Kerala, and many other manuscript collections in India. The oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves, and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so the text is not lost to decay due to humidity.

East Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin grass or Malabar grass (Malayalam: (inchippullu), is native to Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, while West Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime Southeast Asia. It is known as serai in Malaysia and Brunei, serai or sereh in Indonesia, and tanglad in the Philippines. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suitable for cooking. In India, C. citratus is used both as a medical herb and in perfumes. C. citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine,[6] but a study in humans found no effect.[7] The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case.[8]

Lemon grass is also known as gavati chaha (गवती चहा) in the Marathi language (gavat = grass; chaha = tea), and is used as an addition to tea, and in preparations such as kadha, which is a traditional herbal 'soup' used against coughs, colds, etc. It has medicinal properties and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.[9]

Images[edit]

Partial species list[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Shadab, Q., Hanif, M. & Chaudhary, F.M. (1992) Antifungal activity by lemongrass essential oils. Pak. J. Sci. Ind. Res. 35, 246-249.
  2. ^ "Beekeeping/Guide to Essential Oils". Wiki Books. Retrieved 7/8/12. 
  3. ^ Edmon Agron. "Lemon grass as mosquito repellent - WorldNgayon® | WorldNgayon®". Worldngayon.com. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  4. ^ Philippines
  5. ^ Takeguma, Massahiro. "Gowing Citronella". Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Blanco MM, Costa CA, Freire AO, Santos JG, Costa M (March 2009). "Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice". Phytomedicine 16 (2–3): 265–70. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.04.007. PMID 17561386. 
  7. ^ Leite JR, Seabra Mde L, Maluf E, et al. (July 1986). "Pharmacology of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf). III. Assessment of eventual toxic, hypnotic and anxiolytic effects on humans". J Ethnopharmacol 17 (1): 75–83. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(86)90074-7. PMID 2429120. 
  8. ^ Bleasel N, Tate B, Rademaker M (August 2002). "Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to essential oils". Australas. J. Dermatol. 43 (3): 211–3. doi:10.1046/j.1440-0960.2002.00598.x. PMID 12121401. 
  9. ^ "Lemongrass Health Benefits And Healing Properties | Ayurvedic Wellness & Lifestyle". Planetwell.com. 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2013-10-17.