A profile of lemongrass essential oil

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Lemongrass essential oil (Cymbopogon citratus or Cymbopogon flexuosus) is one of my favorite oils and herbs. The fragrance is fresh, sweet and lemony. The oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the beautiful but slightly lethal grass (the edges are razor sharp).

 

Emotionally the lemon fragrance can help brighten your day. It can help you feel less sleepy. Lemongrass would be a good oil to diffuse before meditation to help clear your mind. Diluted in a carrier oil lemongrass can sooth achy joints and assist circulation.

 

Lemongrass also has an interesting ability to repel mosquitoes, but it attracts bees. Beekeepers have been known to use it as a “swarm trap”. I have used it as part of my bug repellent lotions with success.

 

In Florida a common issue with farm animals is a condition called thrush. Thrush is a fungal infection. The humidity and rain cause mud and doesn’t allow the hooves to dry. Like humans developing athlete’s foot from sweaty feet. Lemongrass has been my go to for this condition. The therapeutic properties include: antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. It also can help with inflammation and pain.

 

I am comfortable using this at a 0.5% dilution on large animals but would use more caution with smaller animals. It can be used to repel fleas and ticks, but at a low dilution.

 

The two most prominent chemicals in this are geranial and neral. These components combined are known as citral. Studies have found that citral can cause skin and mucous membrane irritation. It is recommended to use this oil at a 0.7% dilution (Tisserand and Young Pg. 334-335). Due to these precautions use caution with young children.

 

Overall lemongrass is a pleasant smelling essential oil that is best used through inhalation.

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Essential Oil Safety Second Edition – Book Review

Essential Oil Safety Second Edition

By Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young

Churchill Livingstone Elsevier Copyright 2014

 

As a lay person simply looking at this book can be intimidating. However, if you are going to embark into the fascinating world of essential oils it is important to either purchase this book or have access to it. This is not a book you will sit down to read cover to cover, unless you enjoy chemistry and lots of technical jargon. This is a large reference manual intended to provide users of essential oils with a comprehensive place to find safety information.

 

The beginning part of this book provides detailed information about what an essential oil is, the chemical composition and the things that can adversely affect the therapeutic properties. There are also chapters on the individual body systems: the skin, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, digestive, nervous, and reproductive system. The authors have broken down how the systems work and how essential oils will work or react within the system. Due to the sensitive nature of cancer there is dedicated chapter to safety issues for this concern.

 

The remaining portion of the book includes profiles for 400 different essential oils and 206 chemical constituents. As an example, there are just over two pages (325-328) dedicated to information on Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). In looking at the information provided we can see that the top two constituents are linalool or linalyl acetate. We can then turn to pages 584-588 and learn what other essential oils contain linalool and all sorts of information about this constituent including that it is not considered a skin sensitizer.

 

We are fortunate in this day to have such a detailed guide available. This book gives you a good starting point for research about the safety considerations of an essential oil.