Citronella (Cymbopogon citratus) is a herbaceous plant native to tropical Asia, cultivated for its stems and leaves which have a lemon-like fragrance and flavour.
Thai name : ta khray
Scientific name: Cymbopogon citratus
Common names: lemongrass, Indian verbena, sweet rush, lemongrass.
It is a perennial plant that grows in sunny and humid climates.
It forms dense bushes about 1 m high.
Use of lemongrass
This herb is widely used in the Thai cuisineas for example in the famous Tom Yam Kung (Spicy Shrimp Soup).
The base of the fresh stems is used, removing the outer leaves and leaving only the centre.
Video: using lemongrass in cooking
Medicinal properties of lemongrass
For internal use
It has antispasmodic, digestive tonic and calming properties.
It is used to treat digestive and intestinal disorders, reduce flatulence and cramps.
It also has bactericidal, anti-inflammatory and hypotensive properties (decoction): against fever and colds or flu-like conditions.
As well as a sedative action on the nervous system: against insomnia, stress and anxiety.
Caution: It is not recommended to use lemongrass during pregnancy and breastfeeding and for children under the age of 3.
For external use
It is a painkiller: calms joint pain (arthritis), rheumatism.
A muscle relaxant: treatment of sprains, tendonitis and strains.
A tonic: in case of fever or fatigue, including mental fatigue.
A variety called in Thai ta khray hom is used to prepare lotions anti-mosquito.
Effectiveness of citronella against mosquitoes
The anti-mosquito lotions that I have tried with lemongrass alone are not effective for very long.
You can also use fresh leaves, which you crumple well between your hands before applying to exposed areas, but this is also a short-lived protection.
As for planting this herb near the house to keep mosquitoes away, it is ineffective.
One day I bought a pot of it for this purpose and was surprised to see mosquitoes coming to land on the leaves!
Source: Wikipedia ; Photos: Henna, Pierreto
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