Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease

International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 0976 – 3333 01/2012; 2012; 3(5):1035-1043.

ABSTRACT Plants are utilized as therapeutic agents since time immemorial in both organized (Ayurveda, Unani) and unorganized (folk, tribal, native) form. Plants have been identified as the potent therapeutic agent, due to the presence of nutritional (minerals and vitamins) and non-nutritional (fibres, active phytochemicals, including the flavonoids, terpenoids, lignans, sulfides, polyphenolics, carotenoids, coumarins, saponins, plant sterols, curcumins, and phthalides) component, hence promoted as "functional food". The present paper highlights the functional properties of Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), which has been consumed in various forms such in Thai, Vietnamese and South East Asian cuisines. It is a highly rated folk medicine in Brazil and have been associated with health claims such as treatment in coughs, constipation, elephantiasis flu, gingivitis, headache leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia, pneumonia, vascular disorders, diarrhoea and stomach ache. It has been claimed to be anti-inflammatory, vasorelaxing, diuretic, remedy in treating ringworm infestation, for nervous, gastrointestinal disturbances, fevers and hypertension. Lemon grass has high antioxidant levels. However, though it has obtained a GRAS status, clinical trials on humans are warranted. INTRODUCTION Lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus is an aromatic perennial tall grass with rhizomes and densely tufted fibrous root. It has short underground stems with ringed segments, coarse, green slightly leathery leaves in dense clusters (Carlin, et al., 1986). The plant is a native herb from India and is cultivated in other tropical and subtropical countries. (Figueirinha et al 2008). The Botanical classification of lemon grass is presented in (Table 1). Several species of lemon grass such as Cymbopogon bombycinus , Cymbopogon ambiguus , Cymbopogon obtectus , Cymbopogon refractus, Cymbopogon citrate, Cymbopogon nardus, Cymbopogon schoenanthus etc found in countries such as Australia, China, India, Africa and others (Table 2). There are several varieties of lemon grass available in the market ranging from Sugnadhi OD 19 to CKP 25 as seen in (Table 3). Agro-climatic Requirements The crop grows well in both tropical and subtropical climates at an elevation up to 900 m. However, ideal conditions for growing lemon

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