Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf. (syn. Andropogon citratus DC.) Gramineae Local Names : Tea (Vanapa, Central Province); Gigi (Kokopo, East New Britain Province). English Names : Lemon grass, Ginger grass, Citronella grass.
Perennial herbaceous plant with aromatic lemon flavoured green leaves in dense tufts that can reach 2 m in height. Leaves linear, amplexicaul, with rough edge or margins about 1 cm wide, glaucous green on both sides. Rarely produced flowers. Inflorescence in agglomerated clusters on a branched spike that overreaches the tuft of the leaves. Flowering period is usually between March and April.
Occurs in coastal areas and up to at least 1400 m altitude. Grows well in fertile and well-drained soil. In wild, it grows on coral rocks, near the beach.
Grown or introduced in all intertropical regions. Species commonly cultivated as a culinary herb and for medicinal uses.
1-8. Borneol, camphene, camphor, car-3-ene, cineal, citral, citronellal, citronellol, citronellol acetate, fenchone, geranial, geranic acid, geraniol, geraniol acatate, limonene, (+) limonene, linalool, linalool oxide, menthol, menthone, myrcene, beta-myrcene, nerol, nerol acetate, nerolic acid, perilla alcohol, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, terpineol, terpinolene, oxo-alpha-bisaboline, beta(+)cardinene, farnesol, humulene, cymbopogonol, cymbopogone, 6-methylhept-5-en-2-one, 3-methylheptan-2one, methylheptenol, methylheptenone, hexacosan-1-0l, triacontan-1-0l, cynaroside, luteolin, luteolin-7-0-neohesperidosid, isoorientin, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, paracoumaric acid, beta-sitosterol. Biological Activity9-17. Antimutagenic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiyeast, serotonin release inhibition activity, analgesic, antiinflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, antiamebic, hypotensive, insect repellent, antifilarial, anxiolytic, diuretic, larvicidal, antitumour, urine stimulant, antispasmodic, acaricidal, antioxidant.
Traditional Medicinal Uses
Crushed leaves are boiled and steam inhaled for cold and cough. Leaves are boiled in water and solution drunk to treat sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections.
Patients with high fever, usually due to malaria, are bathed with the decoction prepared from the leaf. Whole plant is washed, mashed and wrapped in a banana leaf and heated over a fire. The oily juice is squeezed out and administered orally for treatment against constipation, flu, headache and stomach ache.
To improve eyesight, leaves are boiled in water, cooled and eyes bathed with the solution.