Cymbopogon citratus L.
|ENG||Lemon grass or oil grass|
|SK||Voňatka citrónová (voňavec winterianov, citrónová tráva)|
Order: Poales, Family: Poaceae, Genus: Cymbopogon
The culms (stems) of this dense, clump-forming grass have been used in cooking (in asian cuisine, particularly fish stews and sauces, also in teas and other beverages) and herbal medicine for centuries. More recently, the aromatic oils of the plant have been extracted and exported for use in perfumes. Lemon grass is also grown in pots indoors, to provide rooms with its ‘fresh’ fragrance.
Cymbopogon is a genus of about 55 species, which are indigenous in tropical and semi-tropical areas of Asia and are cultivated in South and Central America, Africa and other tropical countries.
It is a perennial grass. It has smooth, bluish-green leaves consisting of a short, closed sheath at the base and a long, open blade which can grow to a length of up to 150 centimetres and droops gracefully at the tip. The sharp blades grow in clumps up to 120 centimetres across and when crushed give off a lemony aroma. Each new leaf grows within the sheath of the youngest leaf. This gives rise to a ring of leaves, thickened at the base, the leaves encased within each other onion-fashion and with the oldest leaves on the outside. Lemon grass produces its ear-like inflorescence only rarely. Its usual means of spreading is by runners.
Why to have the plant in your garden:
Studies indicate that Cymbopogon citratus possesses various pharmacological activities such as anti-amoebic, antibacterial, antidiarrheal, antifilarial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. The herb is used in detoxifying of the digestive organs of the body, like pancreas, liver, kidney and bladder.
Ing. Ján Farkaš, SUA, Nitra, Slovak Republic
Dr. Ján Mezey, SUA, Nitra, Slovak Republic
Links to scientific articles
Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass). G. Shah, R. Shri, V. Panchal, N. Sharma, B. Singh, A. S. Mann. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Jan-Mar; 2(1): 3–8. doi: 10.4103/2231-4040.79796