Lemongrass essential oil is one of the most powerful essential oils available. It’s like the Superman of essential oils. Really! Find out more about the properties, uses and benefits of lemongrass essential oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil Properties
There are several varieties in the lemongrass family that are used to make the essential oil. The botanical names of the most common ones are Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian lemongrass) and Cymbopogon citratus (West Indian lemongrass).
The essential oil of the East Indian variety is much more common. But the West Indian type is better researched and is probably the more powerful oil.
You should know these botanical names are also very similar to citronella’s and palmarosa’s as they are part of the lemongrass family. So verify the botanical names before buying lemongrass essential oil.
Color & Smell
The oil has a light yellow to brownish color. And, as you can expect, it has a lemony, citrusy scent.
What is in lemongrass essential oil?
Generally, both varieties of lemongrass essential oil contain high concentrations of geranial and neral. Collectively, these two compounds are called citral and make up 80% of the oil. They also give lemongrass its scent.
Other compounds in the oil include: myrcene, geranyl acetate and isopulegol.
These lemongrass essential oil properties make the oil one of the most powerful oils available!
Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil
What is lemongrass essential oil good for? The benefits show the oil:
- kills cancer cells in vitro
- neutralizes free radicals
- reduces inflammation
- kills bacteria
- fights acne
- kills fungi
- repels and kills insects
- kills spiders, ticks and dust mites
Lemongrass oil may be anticancer
Oils from both East and West Indian varieties have demonstrated anticancer properties.
The essential oil of Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian) was tested on 12 human cancer cells and mice tumors in a 2009 study. The results showed the oil killed all cancer cells even at very low concentrations.
Another study done in 2011 showed similar effects for the essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus. It went on to suggest the oil also protected cells from DNA damage which is one of the many causes of cancerous cells.
Citral was attributed with the anticancer benefits of lemongrass essential oil.
It is antioxidant
Citral is also credited with the antioxidant effects of lemongrass oil. And it’s found in both varieties.
A 2005 study tested the free radical scavenging and antioxidant properties of 11 essential oils. And ylang ylang, lemongrass (West Indian), and rosemary oils were found to be the most antioxidant and radical scavenging.
Note, free radicals also contribute to cancer so this study further emphasizes lemongrass’ anticancer effects.
Lemongrass essential oil is anti-inflammatory
There is tremendous evidence showing lemongrass fights inflammation.
Oils from both varieties were tested on mice in recent studies (C. flexuosus; C. citratus). And the results showed the oils reduced swelling or edema and skin redness. They also acted as painkillers for both sudden and prolonged inflammation. Impressive right!
It is antibacterial
Here is another impressive benefit of lemongrass essential oil. It is considered one of the best antibacterial oils. And, according to this study, you only need a little to kill some of the most multi-drug and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
But you should know though C. citratus is more powerful than its East Indian counterpart.
Lemongrass oil is good for acne
So you’ve seen the above benefits of lemongrass essential oil. It is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. And when these three properties are combined, you get three ways to fight acne.
As you probably already know, acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disease of the sebaceous glands (or oil glands). The bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes plays a role in this inflammation by damaging the oil glands. And when your skin tries to heal, the damaged oil glands can cause scars to form.
A 2006 study tested lemongrass essential oil (West Indian) on the bacteria, P. acnes. The results showed the oil killed the bacteria at extremely low concentrations (0.25%).
The study went on to suggest that, with these proven effects against the acne bacteria plus its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, lemongrass oil is the perfect acne fighting oil.
It is antifungal
Just like its antibacterial properties, lemongrass is one of the best anti-fungal oils too.
Oils from both varieties affect the health, shape and growth of the fungi cells. And there are many studies that show these effects on various fungi and yeast species including Candida albicans (which causes Candidiasis or yeast infections, and thrush) and Aspergillus niger (which causes mold on plants).
So lemongrass essential oil is a powerful fungicide that can also be used for cleaning and gardening purposes.
Lemongrass oil kills insects
There are a few studies that prove lemongrass’ insecticide and repellent effects on flies, mosquitoes and beetles.
One 2006 study showed C. citratus killed mosquitoes, their eggs and larvae, and provided 100% repellent protection for more than 5 hours.
That means it’s the perfect oil to make a really good bug spray.
It kills arachnids too
Lemongrass essential oil doesn’t only kill insects. It works well against arachnids too like spiders, dust mites, and ticks. This 2011 study proved these effects on dust mites.
So what is lemongrass essential oil good for? You can clearly see there are so many benefits of lemongrass oil. It is truly amazing (both varieties). And you can understand why we say lemongrass is the Superman of essential oils.
Lemongrass Essential Oil Uses
Here are some lemongrass essential oil uses.
Add lemongrass oil to your diffuser for a citrusy, wonderful scent. You can also try a one-to-one ratio with cardamom essential oil in your diffuser.
Other oils that blended well with lemongrass are basil, clary sage, geranium, and tea tree oil.
Lemongrass essential oil can sensitize your skin even at very low concentrations so you have to test the oil first (via a patch test) before using it extensively.
You should also use conservative amounts of the oil due to its potency.So 1-2 drops of lemongrass oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier is a suitable mix.
Add a few drops of lemongrass essential to your homemade organic cleaners. It actually works really well to mask the terrible vinegar scent while killing microbes and keeping bugs away.
Add 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil and 2 cups of water to a spray bottle. Shake well and spray liberally on your skin. Use this same mix to keep insects and arachnids away.
Always check with your doctor before trying lemongrass essential oil, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or planning to use it on small children.
Where to buy lemongrass essential oil