Typically “lemongrass” conjures an image of a favorite flavorful curry at a favorite Thai restaurant. Or maybe its fresh citrusy aroma which makes it the perfect addition to a homemade household cleaner.
On the other hand, just a few people would admit that they recognize lemongrass as a “powerful cancer treatment”. But, that is exactly what one study from recently is aiming to prove. While it is a very preliminary piece of research, the findings that were announced in Pharmacognosy Communications may very well change the way we see lemongrass in the future.
One study shows that lemongrass extract kills cancer cells.
At one University in India, the researcher named Kavisa Ghosh conducted a study to find out how lemongrass extract interacted with two different cell lines which are commonly used in cancer research: HeLa and ME-180, which are both cervical cancer cells. The tests also involved using lemongrass oil and citral emulsion, one of the compounds which are found in lemongrass.
In the lab study, the oil and citral emulsion both had essential effects. Both substances decreased the proliferation, or separation, as well as the spread of the cells. On the other hand, they increased intracellular ROS (oxidative stress) on the cancer cells, changing the potential of the mitochondrial membrane and causing apoptosis (which is programmed cell death).
The abstract ends of the study with the conclusion of the author show that “All the results suggest lemongrass oil and citral emulsion could be considered as potential candidates for anticancer agents.”
This is not the first time it has been effective in killing cancer cells in a lab.
Overall, lemongrass and its components have shown to potentially slow or stop the following:
– Cervical cancer;
– Prostate cancer;
– Ovarian cancer;
– Liver cancer;
– Skin cancer;
– Sarcoma (bone/soft tissue cancer).
Now, these results are exciting, as well as hopeful. It is also important to understand that these studies have been completed by using either cell in a lab or animal models. There were no human subjects – or cancer patients, in particular, that have undergone trials to see if this effect translates to the human body. So, we want to make it clear that you should not try substituting lemongrass oil or lemongrass tea for cancer treatments that are recommended by your oncologist.
But, this is the first step towards potentially developing a lemongrass-based treatment for cancer. It may be potent and efficient while also free of the side effects common with conventional cancer medicines.
What are the proven benefits of lemongrass?
Lemongrass and the compounds in it are well-known for their antibacterial, as well as antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which explains why integrating its essential oil and tea into your daily routine is such a good idea.
Some of the many benefits that lemongrass includes are:
A lot of studies have found that lemongrass oil helps in killing off fungus such as Candida in lab experiments. One pilot study in humans has found it may also be effective against Malassezia spp., a fungus which causes white patches on the skin, without causing side effects associated with common medications traditionally used to treat the condition. This oil can also kill fungi such as C. tropicalis and Aspergillus niger.
Also, in lab studies, its essential oil is an anti-parasitic agent against the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite.
One study, which was conducted on rats in 2014, found that the oil and citral successfully protected the animals against norovirus. This is also the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans.
A human study in India has found a solution of 2% lemongrass essential oil in gel form. It was effective in preventing further infection in patients with periodontal disease. This may be partly because it has powerful antimicrobial power against S. mutans, which is a bacteria commonly responsible for infections of the mouth. Even though it had incredible antimicrobial benefits which may help with various infections, this oil is not safe to be used internally on its own. But, some researchers are working to develop vehicles from lemongrass which would be safe for internal use, like nanocapsules.
Researchers at an Algerian University have discovered that lemongrass oil was effective in reducing skin inflammation in mice.
Some small human studies have discovered that inhalation of this oil is helpful to quell anxious reactions to stimuli. Furthermore, it can improve the recovery time for people exposed to stress-inducing situations.
7. Sleep Aid
Some animal studies have found that this essential oil may also be helpful in increasing sleep time in rats.
How to use lemongrass
There are two main ways for getting the benefits of lemongrass in your everyday life: lemongrass essential oil and lemongrass tea.
The tea is available online, as well as through many major retailers. The taste is reminiscent of lemon, but it is sweeter and less strong too, making for a delicious herbal tea which pairs well with just a bit of honey. A lot of people utilize this tea for healthy digestion, as well as to support the disease-fighting defenses of the body.
To take benefit from some of the great things which it can do, like potentially calming anxiety or improving sleep, you can also use its essential oil. You should use 4-5 drops in a diffuser to breathe in the aromatic power of this popular oil. You can also dilute it in a carrier oil, and use it topically to kill off external bacteria. Being antibacterial essential oil, lemongrass may also be just the ingredient that you are looking for when you are mixing up homemade hand soap.
It is very important to note that lemongrass essential oil is not to be ingested. This is because it is associated with different side effects which include liver problems, as well as allergic reactions.
Even though the research is still in its beginning, the results of the studies testing the effects of lemongrass on cancer are extremely promising. You should not use it as a cancer treatment yet. This is because it has not been established scientifically as a treatment that is effective in humans. However, it can probably be a great idea to provide the healing power of lemongrass by integrating it into your everyday life.