Effect of Lemon Grass on the Brain

lemon grass leaves

The effect of lemon grass on the brain encompasses a wide array of benefits and poses very little risk of adverse reactions. Practitioners of Brazilian medicine have used this herb for centuries to cure fevers, colds and arthritis. Citral is the active constituent and lemon grass has the highest concentration of it compared to any other plant in the world. Citral has antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that both benefit the brain.

Lemon grass is a favorite flavor of South East Asian cuisine for its predominantly aromatic citrus flavor with a distinct hint of ginger. The herb is also a popular scent in candles and perfumes, and is widely known as citronella in this industry.

The Overall Effect of Lemon Grass on the Brain

Citral is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting agent that detoxifies and aids in brain function. The herb is also a sedative and this has a relaxing effect on the brain, which relieves stress and improves sleep patterns and insomnia.

Like many other herbs, some of the conditions that lemon grass is purported to cure are based on collective observations over a long period of use. However, clinicians have recently performed some scientific studies on this herb and uncovered some promising findings. The following are neurological conditions that lemon grass aids, as noted by both clinicians and practitioners of traditional medicine.

Brain Cancer

A recent study was conducted at Ben Gurion University on lemon grass and its effects on cancer. The results were surprising; scientists found that a drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass could cause cancer cells to commit suicide through apoptosis, a mechanism that programs cell death. Researchers also found that while lemon grass initiated a chain of events that prompted cancer cells to die, normal healthy cells remained unaffected. While more research is needed, the findings of this study have allowed doctors to say that lemon grass can help prevent certain types of cancer, including brain cancer, and aid in its cure. These findings and the excellent safety profile of the herb have also sparked physicians across the globe to ask their caner patients to drink glasses of hot water with fresh lemon grass steeped in it on the days that they have radiation and chemotherapy treatments.


There are no scientific studies on the effect of lemon grass on the brain and headaches. However, practitioners of traditional medicine have sworn by this herb as a cure for headaches. Scientists agree that this possibility is very likely given the properties of lemon grass. The herb is a sedative, which soothes and relaxes those who consume it and clinicians say this alone is often all that is needed to alleviate most stress-induced headaches. The herb also activates the release of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that combats depression, and being depressed can cause headaches.

Nervous System Disorders

Traditional medicine specialists say that lemon grass is a nervine and has a significant effect on the brain and nervous system disorders. These specialists say the herb can cure the following common conditions:

  • Shaking hands or limbs
  • Anxiety
  • Vertigo
  • Convulsions
  • Lack or slowness of reflexes

This correlation has led some to speculate that lemon grass may be able to prevent or cure Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. However, at present there are no studies on the herb and these diseases.

Safety of Lemon Grass

Since the herb is used so much in cooking, teas and perfumes, scientists have conducted many studies on its safety. All studies indicate that lemon grass has no adverse effects even when consumed in very large doses. However, as with all herbs it's recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers consult their doctors before use.

Although scientists need to conduct more research on lemon grass and the brain, initial findings are incredibly promising. These findings and its high degree of safety definitely make lemon grass an herb that is worth noting.

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Effect of Lemon Grass on the Brain