magical lemon grass
Strong aroma and benefits
of lemon grass
Lemongrass is a stalky plant having a lemony scent that grows in many tropical climates, most notably in Southeast-Asia. A common ingredient in Thai cooking, lemongrass provides a zesty lemon flavor and aroma to many Thai dishes. Lemon juice (or lime) may be substituted for lemongrass in a pinch, but citrus fruits will not be able to fully replicate its particular qualities.
Lemongrass is also thought to have countless health benefits , especially when used in combination with other Thai spices such as garlic, fresh chillies, and coriander. (For more on the health benefits of lemongrass and other Thai ingredients, see: Is Thai Food Good for You?) In fact, scientists are now studying Thailand's favorite soup: Tom Yum Kung, which contains all of these herbs and spices, with lemongrass as the key player. Tom Yum is thought to be capable of combatting colds, flus, and even some cancers. (To Make Tom Yum Soup yourself at home, see my Easy Tom Yum Soup Recipe.)
Shopping Tips: When purchasing lemongrass, look for firm stalks (not soft or rubbery, which means it's too old). Lower stalk should be pale yellow (almost white) in color, while upper stalks are green (do not purchase if outer leaves are crusty or brown). Usually fresh lemongrass is sold in groupings of 3-4 stalks, secured with an elastic band. Stalks are approximately 1 foot long (or more). Look for fresh lemongrass at your local grocery store or Asian market. If you can't find it with the fresh produce, check the freezer section - lemongrass stalks are also sold in frozen packets. You can also buy prepared, ready-to-use lemongrass: look for it in tubs in the freezer section of your local Asian/Chinese grocery store.
Lemongrass is a herb cherished for its aroma and citrus-cum-ginger taste. It is also known as citronella and its botanical name is cymbopogon ciatrus. It is widely used in Asian cuisines, especially Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese. Besides culinary purposes, lemongrass possesses a lot of medical and health benefits. Some of them are as follows: Lemongrass contains anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties. It is useful in treating infections of the stomach, colon, urinary tract and wounds. It helps to cure diseases like typhoid, skin infections, food poisoning and body odour.
As it contains analgesic properties, lemongrass oil helps in relieving pain from headaches, joint pains and muscle pains. Lemongrass possesses anti-pyretic properties that is beneficial in bringing down fever. Therefore, lemongrass is administered to people having fever.