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Anyone who has used essential oils for a period of time will find that they reach for the same tried and true oils over and over again. In my case, there are the go-to standards lavender, peppermint, rosemary and frankincense but in addition, there is lemongrass.
Three years ago, the only “lemon grass” I knew about was found in Asian cuisine and lemongrass tea. While I still enjoy a soothing cup of lemongrass and ginger tea, these days lemongrass essential oil serves an important role in my first aid kit as well.
The lemongrass genus has over fifty different species worldwide, but only some of the species are suitable for utilization as essential oils. The two most commonly used in essential oils are Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosus. While less common, you might also hear about Cymbopogon winterianus (or Cymbopogon winterianus jowitt), Cymbopogon densiflorus, and Cymbopogon martinii.
Historically, lemongrass has been used for its many health benefits, such as treating fevers, inflammation, and indigestion. It has also been used to help with sedation. These days, it is used for an armload of other ailments as well as for purification and odor control. Today, I share 23 uses for lemongrass essential oil that will set you on a path of wellness.
How is Lemongrass Essential Oil Used?
There are many benefits to be gained by using lemongrass essential oil. Lemongrass is effective in resolving a number of first aid woes. It has anti-microbial properties and is also an anti-inflammatory. As a powerful analgesic, it offers immediate topical pain relief when applied to skin and reduces inflammation. In addition, it is antibacterial and antimicrobial which means it can prohibit bacterial growth and it is effective in controlling a fever caused by infections.
With its strong lemony scent and earthy, grassy undertones, it is also effective in aromatherapy and especially when used in a diffuser. If you drink lemongrass tea like I do, that will make perfect sense since the aroma of even the tea is quite lingering.
When applied to your skin, a carrier oil is usually recommended as lemongrass is one essential oil that can cause sensitivity or irritation if utilized undiluted on the skin, or “neat”. A common dilution is 2 drops of lemongrass to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil but this is considered just a guideline and is quite conservative. Still, this 2% dilution is a good starting point, especially when using lemongrass on the skin for the first time.
23 Uses for Lemongrass Essential Oil in the First Aid Kit
1. Muscle and tendon relaxer: When muscles and tendons tighten up, an application of lemongrass essential oil will typically bring immediate relief. It works extremely quickly on those “knots” and spasms that can come on very quickly in the middle of the night.
2. Headache relief: When it comes to headaches, and especially allergy-related headaches, lemongrass is a superstar. It is also useful for individuals who are sensitive to Peppermint essential oil which is usually the recommended EO for headaches.
3. Arthritis joint pain: Lemongrass works well to resolve joint pain and works especially well when mixed with Birch EO and Geranium EOs. (See Birch Essential Oil for Arthritis, Muscle, and Joint Pain.) Since the use of birch essential oil is not recommended for people on blood thinners, lemongrass is an effective alternative. That said, layering “the Birch” over lemongrass works surprisingly well to relieve deep joint pain.
4. Pulled muscles: By treating the inflammation created by a pulled muscle, lemongrass essential oil can bring immediate relief. (An easy peasy pain relief formula is shown below). This will also work on tender bruised areas.
5. Shock: If you feel that someone is in shock, add 1 or 2 drops to a cotton ball and place the infused cotton ball under the nostrils. Do this as soon as possible then, if you can, summon medical help.
6. Treat wounds: Blend a few drops with Witch Hazel or Saline to flush wounds. Afterward, blend with some BDS Simple Salve for an antiseptic application. Apply a bandage or gauze to the wound to keep it clean and free from dirt and prevent infections.
7. Heartburn: Spread a couple of drops mixed with a carrier such as coconut oil or BDS Simple Salve over the throat and chest area to relieve heartburn.
8. Indigestion: A drop or two massaged into the abdomen will assist digestion and relieve the symptoms of indigestion.
9. Sprains and sports injuries: Lemongrass essential oil will treat both the pain and inflammations associated with sprains and sports injuries. It is nice to try this method before resorting to anti-inflammatory drugs.
10. Reduce fevers: Use lemongrass to help fight the infection that causes fevers and also to keep the toxins from spreading. To use, blend with your basic Simple Salve (or even plain coconut oil) and apply to the back of the neck, chest area, and the bottom of feet.
11. Flea repellant: Like most citral compounds, lemongrass will repel fleas. For dogs, apply to a piece of cloth (such as a bandana) or collar. Since cats are more sensitive to essential oils in general, check with your veterinarian before using any essential oil on your kitty. Some oils, like tea tree oil, can be fatal to pets.
12. Insect repellent: Insects don’t like citral aromas, which makes them a fantastic insect repellent. Like citronella oil, you can apply lemongrass to the edges of your clothing edges to repel climbing insects like ticks, or to exposed skin to repel mosquitos and other flying biting bugs. Just remember to dilute with a bit of carrier oil or salve when applying directly to the skin. As a bonus, grow a lemongrass plant in your garden to deter pests, as lemongrass leaves have the same larvicidal activity as the oil.
13. Acne: Lemongrass is a mild astringent and is also antimicrobial. To help clear up acne, add one drop to a carrier oil and dab on to affected areas once or twice a day. Do not overuse, as too much lemongrass can cause skin irritation.
14. Athlete’s Foot: Athlete’s foot are one of many fungal infections and lemongrass can help address it. Utilize a drop of lemongrass in a carrier oil of salve, and rub on the feet a few times a day. If you wear shoes most of the day, try rubbing it on first thing in the morning, as soon as your shoes come off, and again before bed to ensure it absorbs into your skin.
15. Oily skin: Utilize lemongrass in the same manner as that for acne, or utilize a drop in warm water as a skin rinse. The astringent properties of lemongrass have a naturally drying effect, without the potential for dryness caused by stronger astringents.
16. Stress relief: One of the best ways to use lemongrass essential oil to relieve stress is via aromatherapy. Add 5 to 6 drops to your diffuser, or put a drop on your palms and inhale the citral scent. You can also put a drop on a cloth, or pillow for nighttime or travel aromatherapy.
17. Fatigue: Like stress relief, you can use lemongrass essential oil aromatically to mitigate fatigue. A diffuser or even a few drops on a cotton ball will work beautifully. Topically, mix a drop or two with a carrier oil and either massage into your temples.
18. Anti-depressant: Use a few drops in a diffuser daily. I find it works great at night while sleeping and the cool air of the steam distillation process makes for calming white noise.
19. Anti-bacterial cleaning products: Use lemongrass in homemade cleaning products to reduce bacteria in your home. You can also use it in a diffuser to reduce airborne bacteria. See this article on making your own DIY cleaning products. As an added bonus, lemongrass has a wonderful, and uplifting aroma. You home will smell fresh and inviting!
20. Reduce high blood pressure: Lemongrass is a vasodilator and can help reduce high blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels.
21. Water retention: The diuretic properties of lemongrass can help clean and flush toxic wastes out of the body. This can be done via topical applications such as in a salve or by adding a drop to your glass of water or cup of tea.
Note: I do not suggest ingesting essential oils, though some prefer to use high-quality oils to do this. Always do your own research and if in doubt, consult a physician first.
22. Insomnia: Applying lemongrass to the bottoms of your feet at night is calming and helps induce a deep sleep. Sipping a cup of lemongrass tea also helps.
23. Body odor: Commercial deodorants often contain lemongrass. If you are prone to body odor, adding a few drops of lemongrass essential oil to your moisturizing body lotion or salve will help combat unpleasant body odors.
Lemongrass Pain Relief Formula
I personally use lemongrass essential oil in a rollerball mixed with fractionated coconut oil to provide immediate relief to painful muscle and tendon cramps in my hands, feet, and calves.
Lemongrass Pain Relief Formula
10 to 15 drops of Lemongrass essential oil
Fractionated Coconut Oil (or other carrier oil)
10ML Roller Ball (about 2 teaspoons)
Optional: Add 5 drops of Clove essential oil
Add the lemongrass to the roller ball then top with a carrier oil. I use FCO (fractionated essential oil). Shake well before each use then apply copiously. Rubbing the area gently will accelerate the relief.
I find that I get better results with the roller ball application but you could also make up a salve using 2 teaspoons of BDS Simple Salve (or another carrier) and up to 15 drops of essential oil.
Side Effects of Lemongrass
Although considered one of the safer oils, lemongrass should always be diluted before applying it topically. Even with low dilutions, it can be an irritant to some people so use a conservative amount to begin with. If in doubt, perform a patch test first.
As with all essential oils, lemongrass essential oil should be kept out of the reach of children and pets, and should not be used if pregnant or nursing unless approved in advance by a medical professional.
A Word About Carrier Oils
Using a carrier oil makes an essential oil application so much easier and less wasteful. Although I personally prefer coconut oil or BDS Simple Salve (which you make yourself), feel free to experiment with olive oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, or even an organic, unscented lotion.
Where to Purchase Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil is widely sold both online and in health food stores. I purchase therapeutic grade Lemongrass from Spark Naturals. Their quality standards are high and because they sell direct and not through a membership or MLM program, their prices are affordable. Unlike many MLMs, they do not allow false claims of essential oils destroying cancer cells, free radicals, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
Spark Naturals also carries a number of supporting carrier oils as well as accessories such as roller ball bottles, dropper tops and more. Furthermore, you can use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL to get a 10% discount off your entire order.
The Final Word
It was close to two years ago that I tossed two drawers full of OTC remedies into a box in favor of essential oils. To this day, I am still learning how to use the various oils to improve my health and to remedy everyday aches and pains. Essential oils have become my band-aid of choice and not a day goes by when I don’t use them for one thing or another.
My own education continues. A few months back I purchased a big fat book entitled “Essential Oils Desk Reference” and I use it almost daily. If you can afford it, I highly recommend that you add this desk reference to your survival library. Although it promotes another brand of oils, the information is presented in an unbiased manner and there is never a sales pitch one way or another.
It has been my pleasure to share this information about Lemongrass essential oil. Over time, I will continue to share information on additional, less common, essential oils with a special focus on the less expensive.
There are dozens of oils out there and I am convinced that we can all maintain our health and wellness during times of crisis with the proper selection of essential oils in our first aid kits.
Be well and stay safe!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Spotlight: Lemongrass essential oil has become an important tool in my first aid kit and works especially well to zap those horrific night time muscle and tendon spasm. I also enjoy it’s fresh, woodsy, smell and use it in my diffuser to promote restful sleep. I purchase Lemongrass essential oil from Spark Naturals. It is therapeutic grade which means it can also be ingested internally although except for a single drop in my water, I only use essential oils topically.
Also available at Spark Naturals are a variety of useful accessories, including roller ball bottles, ointment jars, glass spray bottle and diffusers. As always, use the discount code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount on your order.
Here are items related to this article plus things you will need need to make your own salves, lotions and potions including Miracle Healing Salve and BDS Simple Salve, an all-natural alternative to petroleum jelly. Want to learn more? Read DIY Simple Salve: An All Purpose, All Natural Ointment and Carrier Oil.
Aromatherapy Glass Roll On Bottles, Frost Cobalt Blue-Set of 6: You are going to want some of these for your oils. I put essential oils (singly or in combination) in a roller ball with a bit of fractionated coconut oil and use it to apply EOs topically. Note that I prefer the cobalt blue roller ball containers but they are also available in clear. These complement the custom salves I mix up and store in these 1/2 ounce ointment jars.
NOW Foods Essential Oils: I use essential oils from Spark Naturals. For healing purposes, I feel they are superior. On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price from Amazon. Here are a few to get you started: NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil, Now Foods Lavender Oil and, of course, NOW Foods Lemongrass Oil.
Tea Forte Ginger Lemongrass: Teas from Tea Forte are one of my guilty pleasures and the Ginger Lemongrass is to die for.
Glass Droppers, Pack of 6: I bought a package of these and loved them. When I went to re-order, I accidentally ordered plastic instead glass droppers. Learn from my mistake. The price is the same so get the glass ones.
Coconut (Fractionated) Carrier Oil: Once you start using coconut oil, you will be hooked. This is the fractionated coconut oil I use in my roller ball applications.
Coconut Oil: Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil. I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub. Really, I did! I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking. Note that no refrigeration is required and although it is solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees. The Nutiva brand from Amazon or Costco works well too.
Diffusers: You are definitely going to want to consider a diffuser. I keep one in my office next to my desk, one in the bedroom, and one in the bathroom. Yes, I am hooked! The diffuser pictured below is this one: ZAQ Dew Aromatherapy Diffuser.
Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz: I ordered the white pastilles but have since learned that the natural yellow pastilles are better. That said, the difference may not be discernable – just be sure that what you purchase is cosmetic grade.
White Plastic Jar with Dome Lid 2 Oz (12 Per Bag): I often use these small ointment jars rather than Mason jars for my salves. I also have similar jars in the 1 ounce size and 1/4 ounce size (my favorite for mixing up various salve and essential oil concoctions).
Essential Oils Desk Reference 6th Edition: I thought long and hard before purchasing this book myself, but once I did, I was so grateful I took the leap. The information is cross referenced in many ways making it easy to find what you are looking for. When searching for a particular remedy, you may see multiple oils listed and any will work but they are presented in order of typical efficacy. The nice thing is that if you do not have #1 on hand, you can move down the list. I have found the recommendations to be spot on.
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