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I’m quite sure that we’ve all encountered lemongrass at some point in our lives, whether through eating a delicious Asian dish (stir-fry, roast or a soup) or by finding it in a friend or neighbors garden. You may have even come across it in a tea or similar health cocktail? Either way, it’s quite a popular herb and very affordable – considering how effective it is in terms of boosting your immune system, uplifting those energy levels and even as a natural pest repellent.
The uses of this amazing herb are vast and effective and the essential oil that comes from distilling lemongrass is even more effective in treating skin, hair and general health care issues. In fact, I always keep a vial of it in my house for an emergency or even just to cook with. I’m quite sure that by the time you’ve read the article, you’ll be certain that lemongrass oil is a powerful natural remedy and a must-have if you’re new to world of essential oils and natural remedies or to add to your collection.
What Is Lemongrass Essential Oil?
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from the lemongrass bush, which is a herb that is native to regions such as Asia (particularly India and Sri Lanka) as well as Australia – but is also found in parts of Africa. It is widely used in its natural form as an addition to savory fish and poultry dishes (particularly in Thai cuisine), but is also quite common as a flavor to tea. Lemongrass is rich in Vitamin A and contains a wide variety of chemical compounds and carotene which makes it incredibly effective for skin and hair health. It has a delightful, citrus-smell not unlike that of a lemon (hence the name) but is also similar to mint and ginger – two ingredients I would also highly recommend adding to a tea along with the lemongrass.
The best way to extract the oil of from the lemongrass is through a process known as steam distillation. This is the oldest and most effective way of extracting the essential phytonutrients and chemical compounds from the grass that make it so potent whilst ensuring that the oil is of the highest concentration and free of any impurities. In this process, the lemongrass is cut and crushed (including the stem and base of the herb). The organic matter is then placed in a glass container; water is then heated in a separate container in order to produce steam. The steam then passes through a glass or copper tube where it enters the chamber filled with the organic matter. The phytonutrients and essential chemicals of the organic matter are extracted through the heat and evaporate from the plant material. This vapor, containing all the rich nutrients and chemicals, then passes through another tube to a final condensation chamber. The vapor gathers in this chamber and cools, forming droplets as it does. These droplets make up the final product that we know as the essential oil.
Lemongrass essential oil is completely non-toxic and safe for ingestion, too. However, it’s important for me to stress that you should avoid getting any of the oil into your eyes as it will sting and could cause prolonged irritation. As a rule of thumb, we recommend that anyone who is pregnant avoid using any essential oils (or at least consult a doctor before you do) and the same applies for children under the age of 6. Essential oils are generally safe – and most certainly safer than most pharmaceutical treatments. However, prevention is always better than the cure and we wouldn’t want you to let one bad experience shape the way you see essential oils or natural products in the long term. Understanding what you’re using and why you’re using it is an important aspect to many things in life – the same applies to essential oils and natural remedies.
Benefits Of Lemongrass Essential Oil For Hair
Lemongrass essential oil is incredibly beneficial for hair use and is commonly used in herbal shampoos – or elements found within the oil are extracted and used in most commercial shampoos. Chemical compounds such as limonene, linalool, citronellal, geraniol and geranyl acetate are all very helpful in treating your scalp and hair – even going as far as slowing and ultimately preventing hair loss in both men and women. Lemongrass essential oil can also be used to treat conditions such as dandruff that occur from dryness and inflammation of the scalp.
The chemical compounds in lemongrass oil penetrate deep into your scalp and stimulate the flow of blood cells under your skin. This means that more nutrients are delivered directly to your hair follicles making them healthier from within and restoring their natural sheen. The antiseptic properties of lemongrass essential oil also help to treat your scalp of any bacterial infections that may cause or further any irritation that forms on your scalp, increasing the amount of dead hair cells that turn up in your hair as dandruff.
Lemongrass is also chock-full of natural antioxidants which makes it really effective in removing and reducing the effects of free-radical molecules that are caused by the food we eat, pollutants in the air we’re exposed to, as well as a common byproduct from most medications we take. Free-radicals cause chemical chain reactions that damage skin cells and degenerate skin tissue, leading to weakened hair follicles and even hair loss. By removing them, you stand a much better chance at maintaining your hair’s natural health and improving strength. This essential oil in particular is also very good for controlling and regulating your scalp’s natural levels of sebum oil production, which means that with regular and continued use, you can reduce the oiliness of your hair- resulting in clearer hair, with more volume and less ‘clumping,’ or knotting.
I recommend heating the oil with a carrier oil (such as almond, orange or eucalyptus) and stirring until the two are well blended. Then allow the mixture to cool so that it’s warm, but not hot, and massage it into your scalp – working your way from the bottom of your hair to the ends. Once you’ve successfully massaged the oil into your hair, wrap your hair with a towel or plastic sandwich wrap and allow your hair to rest for at least 30 minutes – but you can leave it in overnight if you would like to do so. Once the time has elapsed, simply remove the towel or plastic and rinse your hair with a normal herbal shampoo or conditioner,then pat dry with a clean towel. You’ll feel the amazing effects after the first wash!
Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil For Skin
As I mentioned earlier in the article, lemongrass (and it’s essential oil) are loaded with natural chemical compounds and nutrients that make it very effective in treating a variety of skin issues. For instance, the high limonene and citronellal content found in lemongrass essential oil makes it very effective as a natural conditioner. It can be applied to your face without drying out your skin or furthering any irritation you might have. The high levels of Vitamin A contained in lemongrass oil also help to nourish your skin and allow it to heal from sores and wounds such as acne scars.
The limonene also acts to cut through and remove any excess sebum oil that may lie on the surface of your skin and clog up your pores – leading to blemishes and worsen acne. These same chemicals however, also remove any dead skin cells and free-radicals that may linger on the surface of your skin which also lead to blocked pores.
I described in the previous paragraph that free-radicals are largely unavoidable in our modern day and age. The best thing we can do is to treat our skin regularly so that we rid ourselves of the harmful molecules and make sure that we eat healthily too – as the chemicals we digest show up on our skin.
Lemongrass is also a strong natural cicatrisant, which essentially means that it helps to heal wounds and scars faster by stimulating increased cell regeneration and nourishing your skin from the inside. This means that wounds and scars (including acne marks) will heal faster with regular and repeated use of the lemongrass essential oil. These cicatrisant properties, combined with the oils natural astringent qualities also make it suitable as a means of tightening your skin, helping to remove and reduce the signs of wrinkles and ultimately slow the aging process. Again though, the oil can only take effect after continued use, and will only work in conjunction with a healthy diet and generally well maintained lifestyle.
What Is Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil?
This is both a simple and easy question to answer as the term ‘organic’ differs depending on the region, country or even state you might find yourself in. Basically, the term ‘organic’ means that the produce has been grown within certain guidelines that ensure that the farm on which it was cultivated recycles resources, promotes ecological balance (i.e. not wasting excess materials or clearing a forest for room to plant crops in) as well as conserving biodiversity. This means not using harmful chemical pesticides to get rid of insects, practicing safe and renewable irrigation methods and staying clear of chemical fertilizers – essentially, the crop must be as close to its natural form as possible.
Organic lemongrass can be grown anywhere in the world – so long as all the correct guidelines are met. However, sourcing crop directly from its region of origin (such as India, Sri-Lanka or other parts of Southeast Asia) is the best way to ensure that your harvest is as organic as possible and as close to its natural form a you’ll get. As a rule of thumb, always do your research before buying anything that claims its organic. A sticker alone shouldn’t be the thing that convinces you.
Are There Side Effects To Using Lemongrass Essential Oil?
With any essential oils, there are possible side-effects that may occur whilst using them. However, they are much less than what common pharmaceutical products generally come with and are quite rare.
As a rule of thumb, it’s important to stay away from essential oils when you’re pregnant and to discuss the idea of using a specific oil with a medical practitioner before doing so. I would also recommend not using essential oils on children under the age of 6, due to the fact that their skin might be too sensitive to handle the potent extract and could become irritated.
Generally, I would also suggest that you patch test the oil on certain parts of your skin before applying it on a regular basis – just to be sure that you don’t suffer from any allergies. If you experience any headaches, stomachaches, dryness of the mouth, skin irritation such as dryness, itchiness or redness – be sure to stop using the oil and consult a doctor ASAP.
Like I said, allergic reactions and side-effects are rare at best when it comes to using essential oils. They’re healthy, natural alternatives to the everyday chemical treatments we receive to treat almost every form of ailment.
In conclusion, I would recommend lemongrass to those who are new to the world of essential oils as well as those who have loads of experience with the stuff. It smells great and works wonder for a variety of everyday ailments. It’s a cheap alternative to costly dandruff and hair loss treatments you’ll find on the market, works incredibly well at combating colds, coughs and the common flu – and can even be used when cooking food or making tea. In terms of value for money, lemongrass is a top-shelf, A-grade bargain.