Cultivation and uses
Lemon grass is widely used as a herb in Asian (particularly Thai, Lao, Khmer and Vietnamese) and Caribbean cooking. It has a lemony flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. The stalk itself is too hard to be eaten, except for the soft inner part. However, it can be finely sliced and added to recipes. It may also be bruised and added whole as this releases the aromatic oils from the juice sacs in the stalk. The main constituent of lemongrass oil is citral.
Lemon grass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries (e.g. Togo).
Lemon grass plantThe East-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) is native to India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand while the West-Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is assumed to have its origins in Malaysia. While both can be used
Other species used in the perfume industry are Cymbopogon martini (distilled into palmarosa oil) and citronella grass (Cymbopogon winterianus) from which citronella oil is obtained. Candles or incense made with high concentrations of citronella oil can be used as mosquito repellents.
One particular alpine grassland variant known as juzai is a staple of Kyrgyz, Dungan and Uyghur cooking.
Partial species list
Cymbopogon ambiguus Australian lemon-scented grass
Cymbopogon citratus lemon grass
Cymbopogon citriodora West Indian lemon grass
Cymbopogon flexuosus East Indian lemon grass
Cymbopogon nardus citronella grass
Cymbopogon winterianus citronella grass
Other useful herb information: Motherwort | Muira Puama | Artemisia | Fo-Ti | Barberry | Buchu | Dandelion
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