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, I thought lemongrass was an herbal plant used in tea and in Asian cuisine. 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 oil. The two most commonly used in essential oils are are Cymbopogan citratus and Cymbopogan flexuosus.
Historically, lemongrass has been used to treat fevers, inflammation and indigestion as well as a sedative. 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 a a path of wellness.
How is Lemongrass Essential Oil Used?
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 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 infection.
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.
Used topically, 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 guide line and is quite conservative. Still, this 2% dilution is a good starting point especially when using lemongrass 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 super star. 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 Simple Salve (recipe below) for an antiseptic application. Apply a bandage or gauze to the wound to keep it clean and free from dirt.
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.
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 neck, chest area, and the bottom of feet.
11. Flea repellant: 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.
12. Insect repellent: Insects don’t like lemongrass! Apply 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.
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.
14. Athlete’s Foot: Athlete’s foot is fungal skin infection 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.
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 over 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 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.
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.
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 roller ball 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.
A Word About Carrier Oils
Using a carrier oil makes an essential oil application so much easier and less wasteful. Although some prefer coconut oil or 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.
Simple Salve – The Recipe
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil
5 to 5 1/2 Tbl. Organic Beeswax Pastilles
8 x 2 ounce jars (mason jars or ointment jars) ** OR **
4 x 4 ounce jars (mason jars or ointment jars)
1. Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer. While the water is heating, put the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.
2. Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time. You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time. It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.
3. Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars and allow to cool.
4. Set the jars aside for up to 24 hours. Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process. If you are in a hurry, you can refrigerate the salve and it will solidify in just a couple of hours.
5. Store in a cool location or even in the refrigerator. The shelf life should be six months but in my home, it does not last that long.
Note: For a budget friendly version, skip the coconut oil and use two cups of pure olive oil. If you do this, I suggest adding an extra teaspoon of beeswax pastilles. The therapeutic qualities of coconut oil will be gone but this will still create an amazing salve.
How to use Simple Salve
First and foremost, Simple Salve makes it easy peasy simple to blend essential oils into a custom salve. By scooping some salve into a small jar (I like these 1/2 ounce jars from Amazon that run about 50 cents each), you can add a few drops of this and a few drops of that to come up with your own healing concoction.
In effect, you are using you homemade Simple Salve as a carrier oil.
There are a few ways to do this. The first, and the easiest, is to scoop some Simple Salve into the palm of your hand, add a few drops of essential oil, the apply the oil topically. The second method, as I have described above, is to scoop some into a jar, add your oils, and stir like crazy to mix them up.
Side Effects of Lemongrass
Although considered one of the safer oils, lemongrass should always be diluted before applying it to the skin. 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.