There are many scientifically-confirmed benefits of lemongrass essential oil, including its ability to destroy harmful pathogens, promote healthy stools, inhibit damaging fungi, reduce inflammation, protect against DNA damage, guard against malaria, neutralize damaging free radicals, balance cholesterol levels, modulate healthy sleep patterns, and so much more.
Studies show that lemongrass essential oil may provide a solid defense against various cancers. Additionally, the latest science found that it’s as effective as chemotherapy in targeting cancer cells.
What is Lemongrass Essential Oil?
Lemongrass essential oil is extracted through the process of steam distillation of dried lemongrass. Lemongrass is known by the scientific names Cymbopogon Citratus or Andropogon Citratus.
The main compounds of lemongrass oil are geranyl acetate, myrcene, nerol, citronellal, terpineol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, neral, farnesol, limonene, and citral. These are known to have antifungal, antiseptic, insecticidal, and counterirritant properties. Citral is known for its antimicrobial effects, and can help kill or suppress the growth of bacteria and fungi. It’s said that lemongrass oil’s quality is generally determined by its citral content. Another beneficial compound in lemongrass is limonene, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria, according to research.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research outlines the dozens of unique phytoconstituents present in lemongrass, including a diverse array of terpenes, ketones, esters, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds.
Health Benefits of Lemongrass Essential Oil
In aromatherapy, lemongrass essential oil is typically used to treat the following problems:
- athlete’s foot
- excessive sweating
- muscle aches
“Studies indicate that Cymbopogon citratus (a variety of lemongrass) possesses various pharmacological activities such as anti-amoebic, antibacterial, antidiarrheal, antifilarial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties,” reported the authors. “Various other effects such as antimalarial, antimutagenicity, antimycobacterial, antioxidants, hypoglycemic, and neurobehavioral have also been studied.”
Lemongrass Essential Oil and Cancers
Lemongrass, after Frankincense, is most commonly researched essential oil for anti-cancer activity. In the May 2009 journal of Chemico-Biological Interactions, researchers tested Lemongrass essential oil against 12 human cancer cell lines. Colon cancer and neuron cancer cell lines were found most susceptible to the essential oil. The study concluded: “Our results indicate that the oil has a promising anticancer activity and causes loss in tumor cell viability by activating the apoptotic process as identified by electron microscopy.” This indicates that Lemongrass may induce natural cell death of cancer cells (apoptotic process), a process that is inherently dysfunctional in cancer cells.
Lemongrass Essential Oil and Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women, and the seventh overall. A recent study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Communications found that lemongrass is also effective against cervical cancer. Researchers discovered that lemongrass not only stops cervical cancer cells from spreading, but it also initiates cancer cell apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death.
“All the results suggest lemongrass oil …; could be considered as (a) potent [candidate] for anticancer agents,” the authors wrote.
- Anticancer activity of an essential oil from Cymbopogon flexuosus
- Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use Of Cymbopogon Citratus, Stapf (Lemon Grass)
- Anticancer Effect Of Lemongrass Oil And Citral On Cervical Cancer Cell Lines