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Herb spotlight: Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Herb spotlight: Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

She’s got more than just a lemon zing!

I’ve walked by my big pot of lemon grass everyday this summer, multiple times a day. But it isn’t until THIS day that my heart called to give a little ‘shout out’ to this special plant. Perhaps it’s the fact that the was covered in snow from our first snow fall of the season; a reminder that each gardening day here beyond September 1st is a gift from the gardening gods.

Lemongrass

Against all odds:

Part of why I adore lemon grass so much is because it really shouldn’t be able to grow here at 8300 feet in the mountains of Colorado. Generally growing wild and abundantly across south east Asia and beyond, this tender perennial and tropical loving plant isn’t really a fan of high and dry climates. But thanks to Tammi Hartung of Desert Canyon Farm, in Canon City, Colorado, her adapted and incredible lemon grass is what I grow here at Spirit Horse. I keep lemon grass well watered through the warm summer months and bring her inside during the cold winter. She is worth it!

Lemon grass is a good friend. Her delightful lemony aroma is full of citral, i.e. citronella, hence why it is used in insect repellents, but it does more than fight bugs! It tastes deee-lish! I harvest lemongrass year round. Most ‘authorities’ will say only use the lower half of the stalk. I use the whole thing! Be sure to select whole, flat leaves and only use the parts that are vibrant and strong. Remove any dead, wilted, or woody parts.

Known in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine as being supportive for the digestive system, lemon grass is also used to treat colds and menstrual challenges. In Dr. Sharon Tilgner’s book, “Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth”, she suggests blending lemon grass with yellow dock, alfalfa, dandelion, and nettle to create a blood building formula. She states that lemon grass provides iron as well as assists with the absorption and assimilation of iron. Enjoyed in Thai soups, curries, and more, research is now showing that lemon grass is supportive for fighting cancer and has a host of other health benefits. I enjoy lemongrass in herbal tea, such as Spirit Horse Herbals Windhorse green tea herb infusion. It tastes delicious with rose, lavender, and many other herbs, especially bitters, giving the overall flavor a nice lemony zing!