Lemongrass, botanically known as Cymbopogon citratus, is a part of the Poaceae family and is a tall perennial grass. Lemongrass is native to Sri Lanka and South India and for centuries has been commonly used for therapeutic treatments. Lemongrass can be easily propagated and is commonly found and used as an essential oil.
The narrow foliage of lemongrass ranges from blue-green to gold, and the flowers are white, cream, or green depending on the plant’s age. Generally, there will be more colors of purple and blue in the base of the plant closest to its root source. Younger lemongrass will display a sweet tropical citrus aroma reminiscent of natural fruit loops. The stalk and bulb will be tender to the touch and knife. The older the plant, the more fibrous and less flavorful.
Grown throughout Asia, lemon grass is an essential ingredient in Thailand, Vietnamese and Indochina cuisine. When meat was first introduced to Thai cuisine, lemongrass was used to mask its ‘gamey’ scent. A member of the sugar cane family and native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania, lemongrass is grown commercially within the United States in California and Florida.
Oil is extracted from lemongrass for its high vitamin A content. It is also used as an addition to teas and herbal soups. Its medicinal properties make it extensively useful in Ayurvedic medicine.