Lemongrass, as its name suggests, is part of the humble grass family and has a distinctive earthy lemony scent. It grows in dense clumps and is native to tropical regions such as India, Southeast Asia and Oceania. It is extremely versatile and is used as a medicinal herb, a flavourant in cooking and as a tea.
Lemongrass essential oil is steam distilled from the grass leaves and has a myriad of benefits:
Lemongrass can help relieve pain in muscles and joints, and aches from flu and viral infections. It can also help relieve headaches and sports related cramps or pain too. It is anti-inflammatory both internally (the tea) and externally (the oil).
It can reduce depression and anxiety by boosting confidence and self esteem. Lemongrass has quite a powerful scent and the wearer will feel mentally stronger. Lemongrass has been used in traditional medicine for nervous conditions for centuries. Use lemongrass as a scent in shampoos and soaps or make a cup of tea with the leaves. The tea is known to help relieve menstrual cramps, is a tonic, mild sedative and a digestive aid. It also contains vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, B1-6, C, folate, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium and phosphorus.
It inhibits microbial growth and is an antibacterial and antifungal. Lemongrass oil is also antiseptic and an astringent. Use it to cleanse wounds and help them close and heal faster. The astringent properties of lemongrass also promote contraction of blood vessels, hair follicles, muscles and skin, helping prevent hair loss and firming skin. Lemongrass is very popular in soaps and shampoos for this purpose, as well as having a lovely refreshing scent. Lemongrass will clear up acne and problem skin with its astringent and antibacterial properties. It also reduces oil over-production so if you have an oily skin type then this is for you.
4 drops lemongrass essential oil Witch hazel 2 tsp aloe vera gel Spritzer bottle Fill the spritzer bottle two thirds of the ways up with witch hazel. Add the aloe vera and the lemongrass and shake gently to combine. Use daily in the morning. You can also make a divine face mask by blending 2 tablespoons of honey, 3 drops lemongrass and 1 teaspoon jojoba oil together and spreading it on your face, massaging in gently. Leave on for 10 minutes then rinse off with warm water and moisturise. Lemongrass can help fight colds and flu as it can relieve aches and pain, is anti-inflammatory and highly antibacterial. Add a few drops to a vapouriser and inhale deeply to let the antiviral properties do their work.
Lemongrass is a natural deodorizer and sanitizer. Add it to your homemade deos (find recipes here), or add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and use as a mist to freshen up a room or laundry, or use it in a diffuser/vapouriser. You can also add it to your natural home cleaning products, along with lemon and sweet orange essential oils.
Lemongrass deters bugs and insects, and can even be used around pets to help rid them of fleas. Add 5 drops to a spray bottle filled with water and spray on your skin and around your bedroom to deter mosquitoes. The lemongrass plant is safe for pets and has a catnip-effect on cats but the oil may be toxic to felines, so please be careful. In small amounts it is safe for dogs. Make a herbal flea rinse for pets by steeping lemongrass leaves in boiling water and allowing to cool. Then spritz onto fur or rinse their coat in the concoction to deter fleas.
Lemongrass is one of my favourite summery scents. It is just wonderfully refreshing in the heat as well as being an insect deterrent (bonus!). I’ve added lemongrass to everything from soaps to shampoos to shower jellies and my skin is loving it. Below is a fabulous shower jelly recipe that will leave your skin feeling smooth, toned and smelling great. It contains skin-loving collagen, gentle castile soap and essential oils. The shower jellies may need to be kept frozen so you will experience an intense cold rub down in the shower, but the contrasting cold and warm invigorates your skin, improves circulation and tones you up!
2 T collagen + a tsp gelatin if you want but I didn’t bother
¼ c water
½ c water
½ c castile soap
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 T carrier oil of your choice. I used jojoba.
A few drops each of lemongrass and peppermint essential oils
A shake or two of turmeric gives a great golden colour but is optional
Combine the collagen and gelatin (if using) with the ¼ c water and leave to bloom for a few minutes. While that is going, heat the ½ c water and the salt until it has dissolved. Pour over the collagen and whisk. Add in the castile soap and the essential oils and whisk. Then pour into molds (I used silicone cupcake molds) and leave to set in the fridge or freezer. I need to leave mine in the freezer as I live in a very hot region, and I just take them out when I shower as needed, then return them to the freezer. Each shower jelly will last you a good couple of showers.
Lemongrass essential oil blends wonderfully with basil, black pepper, cedarwood, geranium, lavender, ginger, clary sage, fennel, cypress, citrus oils such as bergamot, grapefruit, lemon and sweet orange, as well as patchouli, rosemary, tea tree, thyme and ylang ylang essential oils.
Caution: always do a skin patch test before use to check for irritation.
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