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Lemongrass – an addition to yerba mate (and beyond) with a wonderful aroma!

2024-06-14
Lemongrass – an addition to yerba mate (and beyond) with a wonderful aroma!

Lemongrass is an aromatic plant that is taking the cuisines and taste buds of people around the world by storm. Although it originates from Southeast Asia, where it has been prized for its health and culinary properties for centuries, today its lemony charm enchants gourmands on almost every continent. Lemongrass is not only an extraordinary culinary addition – its health properties and diverse uses make it a true natural treasure!

Summary:

  1. Lemongrass – characteristics of the plant
  2. Nutrients that work wonders. Lemongrass and its properties
  3. Lemongrass – what can it be used for?
  4. When to avoid lemongrass? Contraindications

Lemongrass – characteristics of the plant

Lemongrass, also known as citronella, is a real gem among plants! The botanical name of lemongrass is Cymbopogon citratus. It is distinguished from other grass species by its long, narrow leaves and white, fleshy bulbs. Lemongrass leaves are tough and sharp-edged; they form dense clumps that can reach up to 2 metres in height. Its appearance is reminiscent of spikes, and the intense lemony aroma it gives off is unmistakable. It is native to Southeast Asia, where it has been prized for its properties for centuries. Today, lemongrass is also grown in Central Africa, South America and the United States. It is in these regions that its cultivation is widespread, as the plant does well in the warm, tropical climate.

Nutrients that work wonders. Lemongrass and its properties

Lemongrass is a true treasure of nature that hides a wealth of valuable nutrients. Let's start with the vitamins. Lemongrass is mainly rich in vitamin C, as well as vitamin A and B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin). Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties, which help fight free radicals and support the immune system. Vitamin A is crucial for eye and skin health, while B vitamins support nervous system function and metabolism. Lemongrass also contains an abundance of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Calcium and phosphorus are essential for healthy bones and teeth, iron supports the production of red blood cells and magnesium helps relax muscles and improves sleep quality. Potassium is crucial for maintaining electrolyte balance in the body, while zinc supports the immune system and skin health. And let's not forget the valuable essential oil in which the plant is abundant. This oil is rich in citral and myrcene and is responsible for the characteristic flavour and aroma of lemongrass.

Lemongrass – what are its properties?

An aromatic addition in the cuisine and beyond... Lemongrass – what else can it be used for?

Lemongrass is like a chameleon in the culinary world – but it is not only in the kitchen that it finds use! It can be used in its raw form, adding it to salads or drinks, but it works equally well as a dried spice to enrich the flavour of dishes. Its lemon-ginger flavour goes well with coconut milk, chilli, meat, rice and vegetables.

Lemongrass and its versatile uses:

  • Culinary masterpieces starring lemongrass. In Asian countries, where it originated, lemongrass is an integral ingredient in many recipes. It can be found in soups, curry, sauces and even in baked goods and sweets. Its pleasant lemon-ginger flavour and aroma perfectly complements spicy dishes, giving them a unique character. Lemongrass is also added to drinks and beverages. It can be made into an aromatic infusion or combined with tea and other herbs. Combines particularly well with the flavours of green and black tea.
  • Yerba mate with lemongrass. Speaking of infusions, lemongrass pairs perfectly with yerba mate. The bitter-tart flavour of Ilex paraguariensis, with the addition of a refreshing lemon accent, is one of the most classic flavour combinations that seasoned mate drinkers go for. To achieve it, all you need to do is combine yerba mate and lemon, but when you add a touch of lemongrass – magic happens in the mate gourd! The lemongrass conquers the citrus flavour and further enhances the sharpness of mate. It also pairs well with other additives, such as mint, chamomile, guarana or exotic papaya. We recommend trying one of the three strongly citrusy Brazilian yerba mate: the mild Verde Mate Green Limón, the slightly more intense Yaguar Citrus Bomb or the 100% organic Soul Mate Orgánica Menta Limon.
  • Lemongrass in cosmetics, perfumes and aromatherapy. The intensely fragrant essential oil that lemongrass contains is used in the perfume and cosmetics industry. It is added to perfumes, aromatic body mists, bath lotions and balms. Its intense, lemony scent soothes the senses and helps to relax, which also makes it an ideal ingredient for relaxation products. When added to a bath or aromatherapy diffuser, lemongrass oil helps to create a home spa that supports relaxation and unwinding after a hard day.
  • Natural insect repellent. Sounds strange? Nothing could be further from the truth! Although the citrus scent attracts people, on insects it acts as a repellent. Lemongrass-based essential oil is effective against mosquitoes and other unwanted insects, making it a natural and eco-friendly choice for protection against nuisance bugs.

When to avoid lemongrass? Contraindications

Although the properties of lemongrass are impressive, not everyone can enjoy its benefits without fear. Like other grass species, lemongrass can be allergenic. People with grass allergies should be cautious, as allergic reactions such as rashes, itching and even difficulty breathing can occur. If you notice any allergy symptoms in yourself after consuming lemongrass, consult your doctor immediately! Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also be particularly careful when using lemongrass, especially in concentrated oil form. Admittedly, when used in small quantities in the kitchen as an aromatic spice and as an additive to infusions, lemongrass is generally not harmful to health and has no side effects. However, as with any plant product, moderation is key.

Cymbopogon citratus, lemongrass, citronella – it's an amazing ingredient to discover! Its health properties and versatile uses make it not only a tasty addition to dishes, but also a valuable part of care and relaxation. Try lemongrass in your kitchen and enjoy its benefits on a daily basis. Yerba mate with lemongrass is just one of the many ways to make the most of its potential!


Source of information:

  1. Wikipedia: Cymbopogon citratus.
  2. P. P. Joy, B. P. Skaria, S. Mathew, G. Mathew, A. Joseph, P. P. Sreevidya, Lemongrass, Indian Journal of Arecanut Spices and Medicinal Plants, 2006.
  3. M. Negdeve, Lemongrass: Top Benefits, Uses, & Side Effects, organicfacts.net, 2021.

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