Lemon Grass

Health Power

Including lemon grass in your garden provides many benefits. Making tea with the stems helps digestion, promotes a calm night’s sleep, reduces anxiety, eases headaches and even has antimicrobial abilities to fight some infections. It may help with respiratory problems and provide some calming effects as well. Adding lemongrass to the bath will help clear up oily skin. Lemon grass citronella oil is a natural, effective mosquito repellent. To get the oil directly from the plant, break off a stalk and peel off the outer leaves until you find a scallion-like stem at the base. Bend and rub with your palms until it turns juicy. Then rub thoroughly over exposed skin. Planting these plants around the patio will help deter mosquitoes. Lemon grass is able to repel fleas and ticks in the same way. If you are walking your dog through deep grasses, lemon grass can be a quick help for both of you. As a detoxifying agent, lemon grass has a diuretic effect (causing more urination) which helps flush out the kidney, liver, pancreas, bladder and digestive tract. Loaded with beneficial minerals, which can lower blood pressure, maintain healthy nerve/muscle function and act as co-factors for enzymes with many diverse functions.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Vitamins – B9 (Folate) and B2 (Riboflavin)
Minerals – Manganese, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper and Phosphorus

Disease Prevention

Lemon grass in your diet can only help, but we need more research before we can say it helps prevent disease. Very high manganese gives enzymes all over the body their co-factor and maintains the biochemical balance necessary for health. Good source of iron to help prevent anemia. Lowering blood pressure takes some stress off the cardiovascular system and may help prevent heart problems.

How to Grow

Popular in Asian cuisine, lemon grass grows easily and has many uses from adding to fresh dishes to drying out to brew tea. Grows best in tropical regions, but also grows outdoors in warmer, temperate regions with a healthy dose of compost/planting mix and full sun. Alternatively, you can grow in slightly cooler climates in pots. Bring them indoors during the cool months and keep them in a sunny location. To grow lemon grass, pick up the greenest, healthiest looking plant with bulbs and roots still attached, if possible. Trim off the top couple of inches, get rid of any dead-looking growth and set the stalks down into a container of room temperature water in a sunny location (window sill). After the roots have matured a bit, take the started plant out of the water and set it down in fertile soil with the crown just below the surface. If you live in a climate where it gets cooler in the winters, plant in pots and place in a sunny, warm location of the patio or house. Lemon grass cannot survive freezing temperatures, so be swift to bring them indoors when temperatures drop. In warmer areas, plant outdoors in full sun. Water regularly to keep the soil damp, not soggy. Outdoor plants can reach 4-6 feet high and 6-8 feet wide, so allow them room to spread.

Insect Control

Few problems with pests; none that threaten the life of the plant. In companion planting, some gardeners repel melon flies by planting and trimming lemon grass near their crop.

Tips

Buy more than one stalk at the market to use as a backup if one or more plants do not sprout roots during initiation.

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