Lemongrass: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the world of lemongrass, its health benefits, and culinary uses in our ultimate guide, and learn how to incorporate this aromatic powerhouse into your meals.

What is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a tropical herb native to Southeast Asia, known for its distinct lemony scent and flavor. It is widely used in Asian cuisines, particularly in Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes. The long, slender stalks are the most commonly used part of the plant, adding a fresh, citrusy note to soups, curries, and stir-fries.

Is Lemongrass Healthy?

Lemongrass is not only a flavorful addition to your meals but also a nutritional powerhouse. It is low in calories and contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Additionally, it is a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which contribute to its numerous health benefits.

7 Health Benefits of Lemongrass

1. Boosts digestion: Lemongrass has natural diuretic properties that have been traditionally used to improve digestion and reduce bloating.

2. Supports immune health: Rich in antioxidants, lemongrass can help strengthen your immune system and protect against common colds and flu.

3. Reduces inflammation: The anti-inflammatory compounds in lemongrass may help relieve pain and inflammation in conditions like arthritis.

4. Promotes relaxation: The calming scent of lemongrass is known to reduce stress and anxiety, making it a popular ingredient in aromatherapy.

5. Supports heart health: Lemongrass may help lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood pressure, contributing to better cardiovascular health.

6. Fights infections: The antimicrobial properties of lemongrass can help prevent and treat bacterial and fungal infections.

7. Improves skin health: Topical application of lemongrass oil has been shown to reduce acne and improve the overall appearance of the skin.

History and Background of Lemongrass

Lemongrass has a long history of use in Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal properties for centuries. It was later introduced to other parts of the world, including Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, where it has become a staple ingredient in various regional cuisines.

What is the Best Way to Store Lemongrass?

To preserve the freshness and quality of lemongrass, store it in the refrigerator, wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in a sealed plastic bag. It can last for up to two weeks when stored properly. Alternatively, you can freeze lemongrass stalks for longer-term storage.

Different Types of Lemongrass

There are two main varieties of lemongrass: Cymbopogon citratus, which is most commonly used in cooking, and Cymbopogon flexuosus, which is primarily used for its essential oil in aromatherapy and cosmetics.

What IS The Best Substitute for Lemongrass if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have lemongrass on hand, you can substitute it with lemon zest, lemon juice, or lemon verbena for a similar citrusy flavor in your recipes.

Cuisines That Use Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a popular ingredient in Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Malaysian cuisines, where it is used to flavor soups, curries, stir-fries, and marinades.

Health Benefits of Lemongrass Tea

Lemongrass tea, made by steeping lemongrass leaves or stalks in hot water, offers many of the same health benefits as the herb itself. It can aid digestion, boost immune health, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation.

How is Lemongrass Used in Traditional Medicine?

In traditional medicine, lemongrass has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory problems, fever, and infections. It has also been used topically to treat skin conditions and as a natural insect repellent.

Unique Ways to Use Lemongrass in Cooking

Beyond its traditional uses in soups, curries, and stir-fries, lemongrass can be incorporated into a variety of dishes for a unique flavor twist. Try adding it to salad dressings, marinades, or even desserts like sorbet and ice cream. You can also use pureed  lemongrass in cocktails and mocktails.

Best Lemongrass Recipes