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

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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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*Corresponding Author: Dr. Vanisha S. Nambiar, Email: vanishanambiar@gmail.com
ISSN 0976 3333
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Available Online at www.ijpba.info
International Journal of Pharmaceutical & Biological Archives 2012; 3(5):1035-1043
Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease
Vanisha S. Nambiar* and Hema Matela
Department of Foods and Nutrition, Faculty of Family and Community Sciences, The M.S. University of Baroda,
Vadodara-390002,Gujarat, India
Received 06 May 2012; Revised 05 Oct 2012; Accepted 15 Oct 2012
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.
Key words: functional food, lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus, antioxidant.
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
grass are warm and humid climate with
sufficient sunshine and 250-330 cm rainfall per
annum, evenly distributed over most part of the
year. A temperature ranging from 20-300
Lemon grass can grow well over medium fertile
soils and moderate irrigation. Well drained sandy
loam is most suitable for the growth of the plant.
It can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from
loam to poor laterite. Calcareous and water logged
soils should be avoided as they are unsuitable for
cultivation.
C and
good sunshine throughout the year is conducive to
high crop yield. Lemon grass can also be grown in
semi-arid regions receiving low to moderate
rainfall.
Traditional use of lemon grass
Lemon grass has been used as a food ingredient,
in cosmetics and as folk medicines in several
regions of the world (Table 4).
As a Food ingredient:
Lemon Grass is used as a basis of a popular drink
in the tropics. It is known as “Takrai” in Thailand
Vanisha S. Nambiar et al. / Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease
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as it is used in many Thai cuisines. In the western
world, it is often used in curries, marinades and
sea foods soups (www.floridata.com); added to
salads in Vietnam (www.viable_herbal.com);
In Ref Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing
Herbs & Spices, John Heinerman recommends
using one cup of lemongrass tea every four hours
to reduce fever. In the Green Pharmacy,
prominent herbalist James Duke recommends
drinking one to four cups of lemongrass tea a day
to benefit from its anti-fungal properties.
The study was performed by (Carbajal et al 1989)
with doses similar to those employed in traditional
medicine and reported a weak diuretic and anti-
inflammatory effect for the oral intake of a 10 or
20% decoction at a dose of 25 mL/kg in rats.
(Puatanachokchai et al 2002) stated that
lemongrass contains some components that may
be cancer chemo preventive. In fact, the extract
has been shown to inhibit rat colon carcinogenesis
in animal models.
(Stehmann et al 1995) reported that The LG tea
also has diuretic properties and can help in
urinating difficulties and water retention.
used
for the preparation of soft drinks and as an
aromatic, pleasant- tasting herbal tea all around its
distribution area in Peru. In Java, it is used in
preparation of highly spied “sherbet” (Burkill,
1935).
In Cosmetics:
Due to its lovely fragrance, lemon grass is used as
a flavouring ingredient in several products such as
soaps, perfume, candle, mosquito and other insect
repellents (Praditvarn, 1990).
In Folk medicine:
Though there are limited scientific data on the
medical claims of lemon grass, it has been used in
traditional medicine for treatment of several
ailments (Simon et al 1984 ), stated that C.
citratus is used in different parts of the world in
the treatment of digestive disorders, fevers,
menstrual disorder, rheumatism and other joint
pains .The infusion or decoction of aerial parts of
Lemon Grass has wide spread used in folk
medicine. (Carlin et al 1986) has reported that this
plant is recommended to treat digestive disorder,
inflammation, nervous disorder and fever as well
as other health problems.
According to (Nogueira et al 1983) Lemon Grass
was indicated as medicine for
“psychoneurological diseases” by 201 out of 479
women that attend health centre in Sao Paulo,
being the most used plant for this purpose. In
support to this study (Ramirez et al 1988) reported
that extracts of both the leaves and stalks of
Cymbopogon citratus are used as an herbal
medicine to treat nervous condition and
inflammation.
Chemical analysis of Cymbopogon citratus
extracts
Proximate analysis of lemon grass:
Asaolu et al 2009, from Department of
Biochemistry, University of Ado-Ekiti, Ado-Ekiti,
Nigeria conducted proximate analysis of lemon
grass, 300 g of powdered leaves of Cymbopogon
citratus were soaked in 500 ml of 95% ethanolThe
extracts was filtered and the filtrates was
concentrated by rotary evaporation to form
ethanolic extract and the results are shown in
(Table 5) .
The low moisture content (5.7%) of Cymbopogon
citratus is desirable, as it will prevent microbial
attacks and allows for high storage capacity ,The
carbohydrate content is high (55.00%). This
shows that Cymbopogon citratus is a very good
source of energy. The crude fibre content (9.28%)
of Cymbopogon citratus on the other hand is
higher than that reported for other leaves; this
makes Cymbopogon citratus to be a good source
of crude fibre than other conventional leaves
(Tindall et al 1986).
Mineral composition (dry weight, mg/100g)
Fagbohun et al 2010, studied the mineral
composition of Lemon Grass, the plants was air-
dried and pulverized into powder. About 5g of the
powdered sample was weighed into100ml of
distilled water and 75g of the powdered sample of
was weighed into 175ml of methanol in a separate
conical flask and was allowed to soak for five
days. The extract was decanted and filtered with
Whatman No.1 filter paper. The filtrate (extract)
was evaporated to dryness at 40 0C in a rotary
evaporator. The concentrated extract plant was
stored at 4 0
They also evaluated that the Phytates content of
lemon grass is 11860mg /100g, Phytate and Zn
ratio is 9.6, Ca / Phytate 0.05. Harland & Oberleas
(1986), showed that foods with a molar ratio of
Phytate : Zn less than 10 showed adequate
availability of Zn and problems were encountered
when the value was greater than 15. (Frans et al
C until when required for use
(Table 6). The absence of some heavy metals
(Lead, Mercury etc.) in Cymbopogon citratus
makes it desirable for consumption.
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1980) demonstrated a lower availability of Zn in
rats when fed with foods of high molar ratios of
Phytate: Zn. According to (Wise 1983) Ca:
Phytate at molar ratios lower than 6:1, Phytate
precipitation is incomplete, so that some of the
dietary Zn remains in solution. The proportion
remaining in solution increases with decreasing
Ca: Phytate molar ratios. So we conclude that
lemon grass can be used as a rich source of Zn.
Phytochemical composition
Shah et al 2011, identified terpenes, alcohols,
ketones, aldehyde and esters as main compounds
in in Cymbopogon citratus.
Asaolu et al 2009, analysed the phytochemical
constituents of the leaves of
The major
phytoconstituents are essential oils (that contain
Citral α, Citral β, Nerol Geraniol, Citronellal,
Terpinolene, Geranyl acetate, Myrecene and
Terpinol Methylheptenone.) flavonoids and
phenolic compounds, which consist of luteolin,
isoorientin 2’-O-rhamnoside, quercetin,
kaempferol and apiginin.
Cymbopogon
citratus using the methods of (Sofowora et al.
1982). It shows that Lemon Grass contains
alkaloids, saponins, tannins, anthraquinones,
steroids, phenols and flavonoids. Each or these
phytochemicals is known for various protective
and therapeutic effects. For instance, phenol was
known to be an erythrocyte membrane modifier,
(Adesanya and Sofowora, 1983, Table 7).
Lemon grass as a source of antioxidant
A study conducted in Manipal University,
Karnataka India by (Rao et al 2009) under the
broad objective “to check the free radical
scavenging and antigenotoxic effect of hydro-
alcoholic extract of Cymbopogon citratus (CCE).”
Revels that The CCE at a concentration of
60 μg/mL resulted in a significant scavenging
ability of 2,2-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl (DPPH;
(85%), 2,2-azinobis (3-ethyl benzothiazoline-6-
sulphonic acid) (ABTS; 77%), hydroxyl (70%),
superoxide (76%), nitric oxide (78%) free radicals
generated using in vitro
Naiyana et al 2010, determined antioxidant
capacity of Lemon Grass through different
methods [ DPPH (1,1,3,3-tetramethoxypropane
and 1,1- diphenyl –2 picryl hydrazyl ), FRAP
(Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Potential ) , ABTS
(2,2-azino-bis-(3-ethyl benzothiazoline-6-sulfonic
acid) ] using different standards [g Gallic acid
equivalent (GE), g ascorbic acid equivalent (AE),
g ρ-hydroxycinnamic acid equivalent (HCE) & g
Trolox equivalent (TE)] and the results are given
in (Table 8).
The most active principle having antioxidant
property found in botanical products are not only
vitamins but also chemicals like phenols,
polyphenols and flavonoids. Flavonoids are
products of plants metabolism and have different
phenolic structure (Oberley 1988).
Patel and Mehta 2006,evaluated the compounds
having antioxidant property in lemon Grass and
found that dry lemon grass contain more phenol
and flavonoids than fresh one. Hence we can infer
that the dried lemon has greater antioxidant
potential than the fresh lemon grass (Table 9).
A study conducted by (Oboh et al 2010) in
Nigeria with a broad objective “to study the
phenolic phytochemicals and antioxidant
properties of cold water extract (CWE) and hot
water extract (HWE) of Cymbopogon citratus”
showed that in a dose dependent manner, Hot
Water Extract had significantly higher DPPH
radical scavenging ability, Fe2+ chelating ability
and OH* scavenging ability than Cold Water
Extract. Conclusively, heat treatment may affect
antioxidant properties due to release of phenolic
phytochemicals, hence contributing to the health
promoting and disease preventing abilities of
Cymbopogon citratus.
Orrego et al 2009, compared antioxidant property
of two types of Hot extract (infusion and
decoction) they prepared Infusion by soaking 10 g
of air-dried, powdered plant material in 250 mL of
boiling water for 15 min. Decoction 10 g of air-
dried, powdered material boiled in 250 Ml of
water for 2.5 h. results of HPLC analysis of
infusion and decoction prepared from Lemon
Grass shows that infusion is better than decoction
(Table 10).
The main compounds obtained from the plant C-
glycosylflavones orientin and isoorientin as well
as chlorogenic acid. Recently, isoorientin and
chlorogenic acid have been shown to display
hypoglycaemic effects in streptozotocin diabetic
rats, (Table 11) (Andrade-Cetto and Wiedenfeld ,
2001).
and also a moderate anti-
lipid per oxidative effect (57%) and concluded
that Lemon grass has high antioxidant capacity.
IJPBA, Sep - Oct, 2012, Vol. 3, Issue, 5
Myeloperoxidase is an oxidant enzyme which has
pronounced effects on the inflammation and
atherogenesis, Flavonoids through a series of steps
reacts with MPO in the presence of hydrogen
Vanisha S. Nambiar et al. / Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease
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peroxide and prevents reaction of NO2
Out of these Turmeric, Cumin (dried), Curry
powder, Coriander (leave and stem), Ginger,
Tomato, Tamarind juice, Garlic are very regularly
used spices and herbs in Asian diet but lemon
grass is not used as much, as lemon grass has
good Antioxidant capacity than many other spices
so it can a suitable vehicle to improve the body
antioxidant capacity by incorporating in our diet
(Table 12).
Apart from health promoting bioactive
compounds (Masuda et al 2008) 1st time reported
the tyrosinase inhibitory activity of trans and cis
geranic acid present in lemon grass in dose
dependent manner between 0.03-1 Mm. The
tyrosinase inhibitory activity of the trans- and cis-
geranic acids (1 and 2) was measured. trans-
Geranic acid showed a clear doseresponse curve
between 0.03 and 1 mM, Although the cis-geranic
acid also showed a dose–response curve, the
activity of 2 was much weaker than that of 1
(IC50 ) 2.3 mM). The activities of these geranic
acids were weaker than that of kojic acid (IC50)
0.017mM), a potent tyrosinase inhibitor.
Clinical trials studies of lemon grass
Animal studies:
with LDL.
Thus preventive to per oxidation of lipid moiety
and tyrosine nitration of apo-protein (Sies et al
2005)
Antioxidant potential of lemon grass in
comparison to other herbs
Tangkanakul 2009, conducted a comparative
study on Antioxidant capacity and total phenolic
content of herbs, spices and vegetables and found
that Lemon Grass has better antioxidant capacity
than Coriander (leave and stem) Ginger, Tomato
and Garlic. And less TAC than Turmeric, Cumin,
dried Curry powder. Order of total antioxidant
capacity of herbs analysed in the study was
Turmeric > Cumin, dried > Curry powder >
Lemon Gras > Coriander (leave and stem) >
Ginger > Tomato > Garlic (1126.12 ± 94.2 >
302.26 ± 0.9 > 236.55 ± 7.9 > 120.57 ± 5.46
>92.18 ± 62.9 > 62.24 ± 0.19 > 22.97 ± 4.8 > 8.77
± 1.93 mg VCE/100 g respectively.)
Lorenzetti et al 1991, studied on myrcene mimic
the peripheral analgesic activity of Lemon Grass
Tea. Oral administration of infusion of LG fresh
leaves to rats produced a dose depressant
analgesia for the hyperalgesia induced by
subplantar injections of either carrageen or
prostaglandin E2, but did not affects that induced
by dibutyryl cyclic AMP. These results indicate
peripheral site of action which was confirmed
with these essential oil obtained by steam
distillation of leaves. Silica gel column
fractionation of the essential oil allowed
identification of myrcene as a major analgesic
component in the oil. Identification of the
component was made by thin layer
chromatography and checked by mass
spectrometry. The peripheral analgesic effect of
myrcene was confirmed by testing a standard
commercial preparation on the hyperalgesia
induced by prostaglandin in the rat
In a study of twenty rats, carageenan-induced
edema was inhibited by 18.6% in rats receiving
oral doses of a 20% lemongrass leaf decoction as
compared to 58.6% in the control group of rats
receiving indomethacin (Carbajal et al, 1989).
paw test and
upon the contortions induced by intraperitoneal
injections of iloprost in mice. In contrast to the
central analgesic effect of morphine, myrcene did
not cause tolerance on repeated injection in rats.
This analgesic activity supports the use of
lemongrass tea as a "sedative" in folk medicine.
Terpenes such as myrcene may constitute a lead
for the development of new peripheral analgesics
with a profile of action different from that of the
aspirin-like drugs.
Lalitha et al 1985, studied on mevalonate
decarboxylation in Lemon Grass Leaves. The
activity of mevalonate-5-pyrophosphate
(MVAPP) decarboxylase was assayed in the
extracts of green leaves of Lemon Grass. The
enzyme was found to be exclusively cytosolic,
had a pH optimum of 6.0 and had a specific
requirement for ATP, Mg2+ was required and
Mn 2+
Gayathri et al 2010, evaluated the cardioprotective
effect of Cymbopogon citratus (LG) in
isoproterenol-induced cardiotoxicity. Male Wistar
albino rats were segregated into five different
groups, Group I and II rats were treated with
vehicle. Groups III and IV rats were treated with
100 and 200 mg/kg body weight of LG. Group V
with 100 mg/kg body weight of vitamin E. on 58
could replace it partially. The phenolics
compounds, P- Coumaric acid, protocatecheic
acid, ferulic acid and phloroglucinol carboxylic
acid inhibited the activity.
th
and 59th day isoproterenol is aiduced at a dose of
85 mg/kg twice at 24-hour interval. Animals were
sacrificed on the 60th
IJPBA, Sep - Oct, 2012, Vol. 3, Issue, 5
day. And found that LG
administration decreased the toxic events of lipid
peroxidation (TBARS) in both serum and heart
Vanisha S. Nambiar et al. / Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease
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tissue, by increasing the level of enzymatic
antioxidants and non-enzymatic antioxidants
significantly in both heart homogenate and serum
sample (p < 0.05). LG pre-treatment exhibited
cardioprotective activity as evidenced by
decreased activity of cardiac markers in serum and
increased the same in heart homogenate (p <
0.05).
The results of the above study reveal that LG is
cardio protective and anti-lipid per oxidative by
increasing various antioxidants at a dose of 200
mg/kg body weight, which is comparable with
that of vitamin E.
Human trials
Although lemon grass is being used as folk
medicine since ages but very scanty studies/
literature are available on human population.
According to the study conducted by Centre for
Advanced Research in Indian System of
Medicine, SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu,
India, REF on rat results reveal that Lemon
Ray, 2010, supplemented 250 millilitres of lemon
grass decoction (decoction was prepared by
boiling 20 leaves about 1 foot in length including
its roots in 1 litre for 20 minutes.) to the 31
hypertensive individuals for the period of 16
weeks to evaluate the effect of twice-a-day intake
of lemon grass decoction among hypertensive
individuals in Barangay Situbo, Municipality of
Tampilisan, Zamboanga Del Norte. And found
that twice-a-day intake of lemon grass decoction
had a significant effect on the mean arterial
pressure.
However, the twice-a-day intake of lemon grass
decoction had no significant effect on the mean
heart rate and on the clinical symptoms in relation
to hypertension.
Toxicological studies:
Grass
is cardioprotective and antilipid peroxidative by
increasing various antioxidants at a dose of 200
mg/kg body weight, which is comparable with
that of vitamin E.
Lemongrass is "Generally Recognized As Safe"
(GRAS) in the US. (http://www.online-family-
doctor.com/alternative-medicines/
lemongrass.html).According to 21 Code of
Federal Regulations Section 182.20 (1982) lemon
grass plant extract/essential oil is safe for human
consumption
(http://cfr.regstoday.com/21cfr182.aspx).
Formingoni et al 1986, studied on pharmacology
of lemon grass of daily 2 months administration in
male and female rat and in offspring exposed “in
utero”. An infusion prepared from leaves of lemon
grass administered orally to adult rats for 2
months, in dose up to 20 times larger than the
estimated corresponding human dosage did not
induce any effect which could be taken as
evidence of toxicity. An absence of effects was
also noted in male and female rats and in their
offspring when the infusion was administered
prior to mating or during pregnancy. These data
strongly suggest that Lemon Grass as used in
Brazilian folk medicine has no toxic properties.
Leite et al 1986, studied on the assessment of
eventual toxic, hypnotic and anxiolytic effects of
Lemon Grass Herbal Tea (infusion) on human. A
herbal tea [called an Abafads (infusion) in Brazil]
prepared from dried leaves of Lemon Grass was
administer to healthy volunteers following a
single dose or 2 weeks of daily oral administration
, the infusion produced no changes in Serum
Glucose, Urea, Creatinine, Cholesterol, TG,
LipidTotal Billirubin, Indirect Billirubin, Alkaline
Phosphates, Total Protein and Albumin. Urine
analysis (protein, glucose, ketones, Billirubin and
Urobillinogen) showed no abnormalities. There
was slight elevation of direct Billirubin and
amylase in some of the volunteers but without any
clinical manifestation.These results taken together
indicate that Lemon Grass as used in Brazilian
folk medicine is not toxic for human. The
hypnotic effect of Lemon Grass was investigated
in 50 volunteers who ingested samples of Lemon
Grass the parameters (ie. Sleep induction, sleep
quality, dream recall, and reawakening) did not
show any effect of Lemon Grass. Eighteen
subjects with high scores of trait anxiety were
submitted to an anxiety induced test following
taking Lemon Grass. Their anxiety levels were
similar, indicating that the infusion of the plant
does not have anxiolytic properties.
It is concluded that the Lemon Grass one of the
most popular Brazilian herbal medicine used for
its alleged CNS-Depressant effects, is non -toxic
and lacks hypnotic or anxiolytic properties.
IJPBA, Sep - Oct, 2012, Vol. 3, Issue, 5
According to (Silva et al. 1991 and Zamith et al.
1993), the lemon grass does not present
genotoxical action. According to (Kauderer et al.
1991), it is not mutagenical either.
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Table 1: Botanical classification of lemon grass
Kingdom:
Plantae
(unranked):
Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked):
Commelinids
Order:
Poales
Family:
Poaceae
Subfamily:
Panicoideae
Tribe:
Andropogoneae
Subtribe:
Andropogoninae
Genus:
Cymbopogon
Table 2: Species of lemon grass
Country
ambiguus , Cymbopogon obtectus ,
Cymbopogon refractus
Australia
China
Thai
Cymbopogon proximus Egypt
southern Asia and northern
Africa
India
Table 3 : Currently grown varieties and their description
Variety
Description
Sugandhi (OD 19)
· It is adapted to a wide range of soil and climatic condition.
· A red stemmed variety with plant height 1 to 1.75 m and profuse tillering.
· The oil yield ranges from 80 to 100 kg per hectare with 85-88 per cent of total citral produced under rain-fed conditions (with life saving
irrigation).
Pragati
· It is a tall growing variety with dark purple leaf sheath suitable for north Indian Plains and tarai belt of subtropical and tropical climate.
· Average oil content is 0.63 per cent with 75-82 per cent citral.
Praman
· Evolved through clonal selection and belong to species C. pendulus.
· It is a medium sized variety with erect leaves and profuse tillering.
· The oil yield is high with 82 per cent citral.
Jama Rosa
· Very hardy with vigorous growth.
· The variety yields about 35 tonnes of herbage per ha. containing 0.4 % oil(FWB).
· The variety yields up to 300kg oil in 4-5 cuts in 16-18 months growing period.
RRL 16
· Average herbage yield of this variety is 15 to 20 tonnes/hectare/annum giving 100 to 110 kg oil.
· The oil content varies from 0.6 to 0.8 per cent (fresh weight basis) with 80 per cent citral.
CKP 25
· A hybrid between C.khasianum X C.pendulus.
· Gives 60 t/ha herbage in North Indian plains under irrigation.
· The oil contains 82.85% citral.
Other Varieties
· OD-408, Kaveri
(OD-408 is white stemmed selection from OD-19 and is an improvement in yield in terms of oil and citral content.
Kaveri needs high soil moisture to produce luxuriant growth and is evolved for river valley tracts.)
Table 4: Country wise use and application of Lemon Grass
Country
Purpose
Reference
India
Used for gastrointestinal problems.
Alves et al (1960)
A decoction made from the leaves in recommended as diaphoretic in fever
Chopra et al (1958)
China
as ansiolitic.
Peigen et al(1983)
Mauricio islands, Malay
Peninsula
Common to use the lemon grass tea against flu, fever, pneumonia, and to solve gastric and sudor ific problems
São Paulo (1959)
Nigeria
As antipyretic, and for its stimulating and antispasmodic effects
Olaniyi et al (1975)
Indonesia
Indicated to help the digestion, to promote diuresis, sweating and as emmenagogue.
Hirschorn (1983)
Cuba and other Caribbean
region
For analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions.
Ortiz
et al
(2002)
Africa and Asia
Considered as antitussive, antiseptic, sudorific, stomachis, anti-rheumatic and to treat backache, sprain and
haemoptysis.
Alves & Souza (1960)
London
The grass has been reported to revitalize the body and promote good health. It aids digestion and inhibit
chemicalinduced carcinogenesis by modulating xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes in the liver and intestine Vickery et al 1979
Table 5: Proximate analysis of the Lemon grass
Asaolu et al (2009)
Table 6: Mineral content of the Lemon grass
Mineral
Amount (mg/100g)
Method
Na
54.8
AOAC
K
59.5
Ca
39.5
Mg 70
Fe
0.024
Mn
0.952
Zn
121
P
89.3
Phosphovanado- molybdate Method
Phytate
11860
Phytates : Zn *
9.68
Ca : Phytate **
0.05
*mg of Phy/ mol.wt of Phy;mg of Zn/mol.wt of Zn,** mg of Ca/mol.wt of
Ca;mg of Phy/mol.wt of Phy
Fagbohun et al 2010
Table 7: Phytonutrient constituent of leaves
Content
Values
Alkaloids
0.520
Saponins
0.645
Tannins
0.600
Anthraquinones
0.005
Cadenolides
ND
Phlobatannins
ND
Steroids
0.058
Cyanate
ND
Phenols
0.400
Flavonoids
0.532
Adesanya and Sofowora, 1983
S No
Content
Method
Values
1
Moisture content
AOAC (1990)
5.76%
2
Ash content
20.00%
3
Crude fat
5.10%
4
Crude fibre
9.28%
5 Energy 360.55 Cal/100 g
6 Crude protein Nitrogen to protein conversion factor of 6.25 4.56%
7
Carbohydrate
Carbohydrate was determined by difference
55.00%
IJPBA, Sep - Oct, 2012, Vol. 3, Issue, 5
Vanisha S. Nambiar et al. / Potential Functions of Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in Health and Disease
1041
© 2010, IJPBA. All Rights Reserved.
Table 8: Comparison of Total Antioxidant Capacity of Lemon Grass
Method
μ
mole GE/g dw μ mole AE/g dw
μ mole HCE/gdw
μ
mole TE/g
dw
DPPH 4.75±0.19 21.92±0.74
3,769.66
±227.89 15.96±0.53
FRAP
5.08±0.27
2.92±0.08
167.28±6.73
23.40±1.19
ABTS
7.53±0.03
3.47±0.01
12,846.16±17.07
31.50±0.13
Naiyana et al (2010)
Table 9: Antioxidant compounds of Lemon Grass
S No
Antioxidant compound (mg
%)
Amount
Fresh
Dry
1
Phenol
519.3 ± 36.92
1324.9 ± 31.06
2
Flavonoid
415.2 ± 54.13
725.4 ± 66.65
Patel and Mehta (2006)
Table 10: Phytochemicals present in decoction and infusion
S No
Compounds
Decoction
Infusion
1
Isoorientin
Traces
0.08 0.04
2
Isoscoparin
Traces
Traces
3
Swertiajaponin
0.37 ±0.05
0.29 ±0.02
4
Isoorientin-2-O-rhamnoside
0.37 ±0.02
0.37 ±0.03
5
Orientin
0.14 ±0.03
0.08 ±0.02
6
Chlorogenic acid
Traces
0.35 ±0.04
7
Caffeic acid
0.07 ±0.01
0.10 ±0.02
Orrego et al (2009)
Table 11: Antioxidant potential of above flavonoid
Compounds Decolouration
of DPPH (%)
Scavenging of the
uperoxide anion (%) Inhibition of
lipoperoxidation (%)
Isoorientin 9.1 52.9 71.3 8.3
Isoscoparin
39.6
52.3
41.7 4.0
Swertiajaponin 13.4 110.3 60.6 8.3
Isoorientin 2-
O-rhamnoside 17.5 84.4 60.6 9.9
Orientin
10.0
79.0
68.7 6.9
Chlorogenic
acid
13.8
13.8
33.8 4.2
Caffeic acid
9.4
68.8
84.9 0.4
Quercetin
9.1
72.0
80.7 1.0
Andrade-Cetto and Wiedenfeld , 2001.
Table 12: Antioxidant capacity and total phenolic content of some
Herbs and Spices
Vegetables
Antioxidant capacity
(mg VCE 1/100 g)
Total phenolic content (mg
GAE 2/100 g)
Turmeric
(Curcuma longa)
1126.12 ± 94.26 1340.70 ± 54.27
Cumin, dried
(Cuminum cyminum) 302.26 ± 0.91 526.74 ± 7.69
Curry powder 236.55 ± 7.96 103.15 ± 6.92
Lemongrass
(Cymbopogon citratus)
120.57 ± 5.46 152.93 ± 4.61
Coriander (leave and stem)
(Coriandrum sativum) 92.18 ± 62.99 90.02 ± 17.04
Ginger
(zingiber offcinale)
62.24 ± 0.19 99.70 ± 0.58
Tomato
(Lycopersicom esculentum) 22.97 ± 4.85 62.48 ± 7.91
Tamarind juice
(Tamarindus indica)
13.44 ± 0.07 23.84 ± 0.82
Garlic
(Allium sativum)
8.77 ± 1.93 63.51 ± 3.67
Tangkanakul, 2009
CONCLUSIONS
A range of bioactive compounds in herbs and
spices have been studied for health promoting
properties in animals, but the challenge lies in
integrating this knowledge to ascertain whether
any effects can be observed in humans, within
permissible doses. Antioxidant effectiveness in
vivo depends on the bioavailability of responsible
compounds; which was assumed to be low.
However, recent studies with improved
methodology indicate that some plant phenolics
appear in plasma and body tissues and, thus, may
be important nutritional antioxidants. However,
this cannot be established with certainty until their
effects on biomarkers of oxidative stress are
established (Duthie et al 2000).
Studies of lemon grass are present on human
population to determine the toxicological
properties but there is a dearth of data available of
clinical trial for therapeutic use to promote health.
It is necessary to conduct clinical trial study, to
support the laboratory analysis of having high
antioxidant capacity, lemon grass will be helpful
to improve the body’s antioxidant defence system
by increasing serum antioxidant levels & reduce
the free radical mediated diseases.
There are no clinical trials with lemon grass on the
Indian population, either on healthy or on diseased
populations to support its antioxidant claims or its
use in any therapeutic condition. Thus efforts need
to be directed to assess the pharmacological
potential of lemon grass.
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IJPBA, Sep - Oct, 2012, Vol. 3, Issue, 5
... Their results revealed that the compositions of essential oil from the stalk, root, and leaf of a lemongrass plant are 98.6%, 99.2%, and 99%, respectively. This observation Table 3. Proximate analysis of lemongrass cultivated in Nigeria (Asaolu, Oyeyemi, and Olanlokun 2009;Nambiar and Matela 2012). was attributed to the absence of some compounds in the different organs (stalk, root, and leaf), which affected their physiological conditions and did not support their biosynthesis process. ...
... Lemongrass is diuretic and causes no biochemical changes in the body when compared to regular tea. As reported by Nambiar and Matela (2012), lemongrass is widely used as a basis for a popular drink known as a "Takrai" in Thailand. They also use lemongrass often to make marinades, curries, and seafood soups. ...
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Ethnopharmacology relevance Our recently published paper demonstrated that ethyl acetate fractions obtained from Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf (C. citratus) leaves, which are consumed as infusion in folk medicine due to their therapeutic properties, are rich in polyphenols and exhibit promising antioxidant activity by acting through different mechanisms in vitro. However, studies regarding the toxicity of these fractions are necessary to investigate their safe use in future biomedical applications. Aim of the stud yThis study aimed to investigate the toxicity of ethyl acetate (obtained in acidic and basic conditions and after the essential oil removal from the leaves) and chloroform fractions, essential oil, and its pure constituents, citral and geraniol. Materials and methods The toxicity of C. citratus samples was evaluated by using Artemia salina (A. salina) and human blood cells (leukocytes and erythrocytes). Results The A. salina lethality assay demonstrated that C. citratus fractions were moderately toxic with LC50 values ranging from 146.12 to 433.15 μg mL⁻¹, whereas the essential oil and isolated compounds were highly toxic with LC50 lower than 100 μg mL⁻¹. Leukocyte viability decreased after incubation in the presence of the fractions obtained after the essential oil removal from the plant leaves, as well as in the presence of essential oil, citral and geraniol. The same samples increased the osmotic fragility of erythrocytes, and field emission gun scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) analysis revealed significant changes in cell morphology. Interestingly, our results suggest that the previous removal of essential oil from plant leaves facilitated the extraction of cytotoxic compounds from C. citratus. Conclusions It was demonstrated that C. citratus ethyl acetate and chloroform fractions, essential oil, as well citral and geraniol were considered toxic to A. salina, cytotoxic to human blood cells and showed to induce alterations in the erythrocyte membrane at higher concentrations. These fractions will be further investigated to identify the phytochemicals involved in the observed cytotoxic effects and explored using in vivo models.
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Because boar semen is highly susceptible to lipid peroxidation process, sperm capacitation and early acrosomal reaction is important the employment of antioxidant agents for seminal preservation, which is why in the present investigation the evaluation of natural extracts of Cymbopogon citratus and Hypericum perforatum is proposed as a new alternative to maintain the spermatozoa viability up to 70% for 72 h. For those reasons, three different concentrations (0.250, 0.125 and 0.0625 µl) of each extract and BTS were mixed with 5 ml of fresh boar semen. The extracts were characterized by DPPH∗, total phenolics and HPLC for the determination of antioxidants activity and total sugars. Seminal motility was analyzed by optical microscopy and viability using a Seminal Quality System and the morphology by a specific staining kit. The results obtained of viability were compared with a short-term extender (BTS). For Cymbopogon citratus, 73% vs. 76% and, for Hypericum perforatum 73% vs. 85%, in a period of 3 days. By using these natural extracts, it was possible to maintain sperm viability above 70% for 72 h of storage.
Article
Cymbropogon citratus (Lemon grass) is widely cultivated in the tropical areas of Africa, America and Asia. It is principally taken as a tea to remedy digestive problems, diarrhea, fever, coughs, elephantiasis, flu, gingivitis, headache, leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia, pneumonia, vascular disorders and stomach ache. A comparative study of phenolic phytochemicals and antioxidant properties of cold water extract (CWE) and hot water extract (HWE) of Cymbropogon citratus has been assessed. Hot water extraction was prepared by boiling Cymbropogon citratus in water at 100 °C for 10 minutes (1:10 w/v) while that of cold extraction was carried out by soaking Cymbropogon citratus in water for 10 minutes (1:10 w/v). The extracts were centrifuged to give clear supernatants that were used for subsequent analysis. The results revealed that CWE (4.3 mg/g) had a significant (P<0.05) higher vitamin C content than HWE (2.7 mg/g) content. Conversely, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in the total phenol [CWE (0.3 mg/g), HWE (0.5 mg/g)], total flavonoid [CWE (0.2 mg/g), HWE (0.3 mg/g), reducing property [CWE (16.8 mg/g), HWE (34.0 mg/100g)] and ABTS* scavenging ability [CWE (36.6 mM TEAC/100g), HWE (65.0 mM TEAC/100g)]. Also, in a dose dependent manner, HWE showed significantly (P<0.05) higher DPPH radical scavenging ability, Fe2+ chelating ability and OH* scavenging ability than CWE. Conclusively, heat treatment may affect antioxidant properties due to release of phenolic phytochemicals, hence contributing to the health promoting and disease preventing abilities of Cymbropogon citratus.
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Cymbropogon citratus (Lemon grass) is widely cultivated in the tropical areas of Africa, America and Asia. It is principally taken as a tea to remedy digestive problems, diarrhea, fever, coughs, elephantiasis, flu, gingivitis, headache, leprosy, malaria, ophthalmia, pneumonia, vascular disorders and stomach ache. A comparative study of phenolic phytochemicals and antioxidant properties of cold water extract (CWE) and hot water extract (HWE) of Cymbropogon citratus has been assessed. Hot water extraction was prepared by boiling Cymbropogon citratus in water at 100 o C for 10 minutes (1:10 w/v) while that of cold extraction was carried out by soaking Cymbropogon citratus in water for 10 minutes (1:10 w/v). The extracts were centrifuged to give clear supernatants that were used for subsequent analysis. The results revealed that CWE (4.3 mg/g) had a significant (P<0.05) higher vitamin C content than HWE (2.7 mg/g) content. Conversely, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in the total phenol [CWE (0.3 mg/g), HWE (0.5 mg/g)], total flavonoid [CWE (0.2 mg/g), HWE (0.3 mg/g), reducing property [CWE (16.8 mg/g), HWE (34.0 mg/100g)] and ABTS* scavenging ability [CWE (36.6 mM TEAC/100g), HWE (65.0 mM TEAC/100g)]. Also, in a dose dependent manner, HWE showed significantly (P<0.05) higher DPPH radical scavenging ability, Fe 2+ chelating ability and OH* scavenging ability than CWE. Conclusively, heat treatment may affect antioxidant properties due to release of phenolic phytochemicals, hence contributing to the health promoting and disease preventing abilities of Cymbropogon citratus.
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Leaves from cultivated Cymbopogon citratus were extracted with methanol, 80% aqueous ethanol and water (infusion and decoction) and the extracts were assessed for their antiradical capacity by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay; the infusion extract exhibited the strongest activity. Tannins, phenolic acids (caffeic and p-coumaric acid derivatives) and flavone glycosides (apigenin and luteolin derivatives) were identified in three different fractions obtained from an essential oil-free infusion, and a correlation with their scavenger capacity for reactive oxygen species was studied. The tannin and flavonoid fractions were the most active against species involved in oxidative damage processes. In the flavonoid fraction, representing 6.1% of the extract, thirteen compounds (O- and C-glycosylflavones) were tentatively identified by high performance liquid chromatography, coupled to photodiode-array and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry detectors (HPLC–PDA–ESI/MS), nine of which were identified for the first time in this plant, all of them being C-glycosylflavones (mono-C-, di-C- and O,C-diglycosylflavones). The potential beneficial and protective value of the identified polyphenols for human health is discussed.
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The genotoxicity of the terpene β-myrcene was evaluated in mammalian cells in vitro. Myrcene is the major constituent of oil of bay and hop which are used in the manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Myrcene is also present in lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), a plant widely used in Brazilian folk medicine. Recently, it was shown that myrcene is a very potent analgesic substance and might be an alternative to the already available analgesic drugs. Myrcene was tested up to 1,000 μg/ml (limit of solubility) in the presence and absence of S9-mix and did not induce chromosome aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) in human lymphocytes in vitro. Neither the mitotic index nor the proliferation index was influenced by the myrcene treatment. Myrcene did not cause increased mutation frequencies at the hprt-locus in V79-cells. Tests with and without S9-mix revealed negative results. There was no indication for induced cytotoxicity. However, myrcene reduced the SCE-inducing effect of cyclophosphamide in human lymphocytes in a dose dependent manner and also reduced the toxic and mutagenic effect of cyclophosphamide in V79-cells. Under the same test conditions, SCE induction by ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) and benzo [a]pyrene (BP) was not significantly influenced by simultaneous myrcene treatment. The in vitro results show that myrcene is not mutagenic in mammalian cells, but has antimutagenic properties. The possibility that myrcene exerts its antimutagenic activity by inhibiting certain forms of the cytochrome P-450 isoenzymes required for activation of premutagens and precarcinogenes is discussed.
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As a normal attribute of aerobic life, structural damage to organic compounds of a wide variety (DNA, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids) may occur as a consequence of oxidative reactions. Oxidative damage inflicted by reactive oxygen species has been called “oxidative stress”. Biological systems contain powerful enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant systems, and oxidative stress denotes a shift in the prooxidant/antioxidant balance in favor of the former. Diverse biological processes such as inflammation, carcinogenesis, ageing, radiation damage and photobiological effects appear to involve reactive oxygen species. This field of research provides new perspectives in biochemical pharmacology, toxicology, radiation biochemistry as well as pathophysiology.
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The activity of mevalonate-5-pyrophosphate (MVAPP) decarboxylase was assayed in the extracts of green leaves of lemon grass. The enzyme was found to be exclusively cytosolic, had a pH optimum of 6.0 and had a specific requirement for ATP; Mg2+ was required and Mn2+ could replace it partially. The phenolic compounds, p-coumaric acid, protocatechuic acid, ferulic acid and phloroglucinol carboxylic acid inhibited the activity.
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Cymbopogon citratus is one of the most used plants in Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of nervous and gastrointestinal disturbances. It is also used in many other places to treat feverish conditions. The usual way to use it is by ingesting an infusion made by pouring boiling water on fresh or dried leaves (which is called “abafado” in Portuguese). Abafados obtained from lemongrass harvested in three different areas of Brazil (Ceará, Minas Gerais and São Paulo States) were tested on rats and mice in an attempt to add experimental confirmation to its popular medicinal use. Citral, the main constituent of the essential oil in Brazilian lemongrass, was also studied for comparison. Oral doses of abafados up to 40 times (C40) larger than the corresponding dosage taken by humans, or of 200 mg/kg of citral, were unable to decrease body temperature of normal rats and/or rats made hyperthermic by previous administration of pyrogen. However, both compounds acted when injected by intraperitoneal route. Oral administration of doses C20 -C100 of abafados and 200 mg/kg of citral did not change the intestinal transit of a charcoal meal in mice, nor did it decrease the defecation scores of rats in an open-field arena. Again, by intraperitoneal route both compounds were active. The possible central nervous system depressant effect of the abafados was investigated by using batteries of 12 tests designed to detect general depressant, hypnotic, neuroleptic, anticonvulsant and anxiolytic effects. In all the tests employed, oral doses of abafados up to C208 or of citral up to 200 mg/kg were without effect. Only in a few instances did intraperitoneal doses demonstrate effects. These data do no lend support to the popular oral therapeutic use of lemongrass to treat nervous and intestinal ailments and feverish conditions.