Lemongrass Aromatherapy Essential Oil
Lemongrass is often thought of in association with food, but it has many useful health-related properties and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine.
FAVOURED IN INDIAN MEDICINE
A common ingredient in south-east Asian cooking, lemongrass (the main variety being Cymbopogon citratus) thrives in tropical climates and grows to about 30cm high. Like citronella, palmarosa and vetivert, a member of the family of aromatic grasses. Lemongrass is native to southern India, Sri Lanka, the West Indies and Guatemala but is also cultivated in Brazil and parts of central Africa. The plant has a bulbous base with lemon-scented stems and leaves. It also produces a network of roots and rootlets which rapidly deplete the soil of its nutrients.

The essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the fresh or partially dried grass, which is first finely chopped. This produces a pale amber oil with a reddish tinge. Its aroma is fresh grassy-citrus with an earthy undertone. The smell of Lemongrass oil generally perceived as refreshing, uplifting, calming and restorative.

For thousands of years, lemongrass has played an important role in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Teas made from the fresh or dried grass are prescribed for fever and infectious illness, and to improve the quality and quantity of a mother's milk. The herb is also used as a digestive and carminative (meaning it relieves flatulence and settles the stomach), and is given in cases of enteritis, colitis and nervous indigestion.
Modern research has confirmed the effectiveness of the remedy, particularly its ability to lower body temperature during a feverish illness. Lemongrass also contains the analgesic substance myrcene - which is why it has been used traditionally as a headache remedy.
BLENDING NOTE: Top to middle.
MAIN BENEFITS: Uplifting nerve tonic; cooling for feverish conditions.
USEFULNESS: Versatile, ideal for burners.
PRICE: Affordable.
PERFUME GROUP: Lemony.
CAUTIONS: Carry out a 24-hour skin test before use.
Many soaps, cosmetics and detergents use lemongrass because of its antiseptic properties and fresh, uplifting smell.
BURNER BLENDS
Try these two very different, mood-elevating room fragrances.

Indian summer (sweet, floral-citrus aroma)
1 drop pure lemongrass essential oil
2 drops pure palmarosa essential oil
3 drops pure bergamot essential oil
3 drops pure grapefruit essential oil

Maid Marian (refreshing, woody aroma)
1 drop pure lemongrass essential oil
3 drops pure cedarwood essential oil
2 drops pure pine essential oil
2 drops pure petitgrain essential oil
Fill the small bowl of a burner with water. Add the oils and heat with a night light. Do not leave unattended.
USE WITH CARE ON SKIN
The essential oil of lemongrass contains a high proportion of citral, which is antiseptic, bactericidal, deodorant and antifungal.
However, when isolated or synthesized in the laboratory, citral is very harsh on the skin and can cause irritation. The whole oil (well diluted) is much kinder to skin and is effective against fungal infections such as athlete's foot and ringworm. Tests show that other components of the essential oil act in unison to buffer the harsh effects of citral.

Lemongrass oil has a tonic , restorative effect on the nervous system and makes a good bath or massage oil for stress-related exhaustion. But, because of possible skin irritation, go gently with it in the bath or shower, using 5ml diluted oil or adding only 2 drops pure essential oil, diluted in 5ml carrier oil or added to a little base shower gel. Mixing pure lemongrass essential oil with equal amounts of mandarin further reduces the possibility of adverse skin reactions to citral (see lemongrass and mandarin concentrate below).
Many aromatherapists use the well-diluted oil to massage athletes after sport, and the oil's analgesic properties can help relieve muscular aches and pains. Another popular use of lemongrass is in footbaths - glorious for tired, sweaty feet.

Lemongrass makes a delightfull room-freshener and deodoriser, especially used with bergamot or geranium. And, like its cousin citronella, lemongrass can repel flies and other insects - use it alone in a burner, or mixed with other insect-repellent oils such as cedarwood, eucalyptus or tea tree. If you do not have sensitive skin, dab on the diluted oil to repel midges and mosquitoes.
Lemongrass oil is one of the stongest-smelling oils in aromatherapy. It is inexpensive and a tiny amount goes a long way. A single drop, for example, will scent 25ml of carrier oil.

Used sparingly, the oil blends well with other aromatic grasses such as palmarosa and vetivert. It also harmonizes with mandarin (and other citrus oils), rose otto, geranium, lavender, petitgrain, rosemary, sandalwood, cedarwood, cypress and pine.

Lemongrass and mandarin concentrate
To help lessen the possible skin irritant effects of lemongrass oil and soften its strong aroma, you may prefer to use this concentrate to replace the pure lemongrass essential oil in the recipes. Use it by the drop, as you would any other pure essential oil.

20 drops (2ml) pure mandarin essential oil
20 drops (2ml) pure lemongrass essential oil


Put both oils into a suitable dark amber glass bottle - for example, a clean essential oil bottle. Replace the cap and give the bottle a good shake for at least 30 seconds. Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place. Use within two months.
Lemongrass is particulary useful for feet. This home treatment will sotten, deodorise and pamper them.
FOOTLOOSE AND PAIN-FREE!
Feet are more important to health and serenity than many of us realize. Foot fatigue, bent toes, callouses and bunions are more likely to develop if you wear badly fitting shoes. Women who wear stiletto heals are particularly vulnerable to foot problems - and back pain. This is because the foot is pushed into the toe of the shoe, and the pelvis is tilted so that the muscles in the lower back are forced to remain in a state of continual spasm. Even if you mostly wear sensible shoes, try to walk barefoot as often as possible. When your feet are free, they relax and stretch naturally. You might also like to indulge yourself and give your soles (and soul) a treat by having a regular Home pedicure (see below).
LEMONGRASS HARD SKIN REMOVER
Rub this mixture into hard skin areas on the feet immediately after a footbath or bath. If used regularly, it will help to soften hardened skin and may prevent the development of painful and unsightly callouses.

3tsp cider vinegar
2 drops pure sandalwood essential oil
10ml diluted lemongrass oil
5ml grapeseed or sweet almond oil


Pour the cider vinegar into a 30ml dark amber glass bottle (available from JustAromatherapy.co.uk), then add the sandalwood oil and shake well. Top up with the diluted lemongrass oil and grapeseed or sweet almond oil and shake again. Shake the bottle each time before use. Store in a cool, dry, dark place and use within a couple of weeks.
footpack
(5) Foot pack
As a real treat, apply a gently exfoliating foot pack. Mix a couple of tablespoons of medium oatmeal together with enough fresh lemon juice and clear honey to make a thick paste. If your skin is particularly dry, omit the lemon juice and mix with full-fat natural yoghurt instead. Apply the pack to your feet, covering the soles and the skin right up to your ankles. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse off well with warm water.
HOME PEDICURE
After this 7 step makeover your feet will feel soft, relaxed and refreshed. Looking after your feet can also make you feel better in yourself.

1 Soap them clean
Wash your feet thoroughly with a pH-balanced soap. With a damp loofah, gently rub the tops and soles of your feet to loosen dead skin cells. Use a soft nail brush to clean your toenails.

2 Lemongrass footbath
Soak your feet in the following footbath for 10 minutes. Add 2 drops of pure lemongrass oil or 5ml diluted lemongrass oil to a bowl of comfortably hot water, the swish around to disperse. If your feet are particularly achey, add 2tbsp of Epsom salts too. This naturally occurring mineral is an old, reliable remedy for alleviating pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.

For a really amazing feeling, add about 20 marbles to the bowl. Move your feet around over the marbles for a relaxing, massaging effect!

3 Pumice away hard skin
Dry your feet thoroughly. If you have any calloused areas, gently rub with a pumice stone. To get your feet in peak condition, it's advisable to use a pumice stone every day following your bath. There is no need to rub too hard - regular, light use is best.

4 Cut the nails
Using nail cutters or scissors, trim each nail straight across and no shorter than the end of the toe. Smooth the edges with an emery board, but make sure that you don't shape the toenails, which encourages ingrowing toenails.

5 Foot pack
As a real treat, apply a gently exfoliating foot pack. Mix a couple of tablespoons of medium oatmeal together with enough fresh lemon juice and clear honey to make a thick paste. If your skin is particularly dry, omit the lemon juice and mix with full-fat natural yoghurt instead. Apply the pack to your feet, covering the soles and the skin right up to your ankles. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse off well with warm water.

6 Massage and moisturise
Now massage your feet with peppermint fresh massage oil (see our massage oils section). Massage improves the circulation and helps absorption of oils and creams.

7 Refreshing spray
As a cooling finishing toutch, lightly spray with Foot cologne (see below).
lemongrass footbath
(2) Lemongrass footbath
Soak your feet in the following footbath for 10 minutes. Add 2 drops of pure lemongrass oil or 5ml diluted lemongrass oil to a bowl of comfortably hot water, the swish around to disperse. If your feet are particularly achey, add 2tbsp of Epsom salts too. This naturally occurring mineral is an old, reliable remedy for alleviating pain and stiffness in muscles and joints.

For a really amazing feeling, add about 20 marbles to the bowl. Move your feet around over the marbles for a relaxing, massaging effect!
Here is a very simple foot exercise using a wooden rolling pin. Practise it for a few minutes every day to strengthen the foot muscles and promote relaxation. Sit in a chair and let your feet roll the pin back and forth from the toes to the heel, bearing down with a comfortable weight, until you feel the increased stimulation all over the foot.
FOOT COLOGNE
A cooling spray for tired feet.

4 tsp cider vinegar
4 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
4 drops pure rosemary essential oil
8 drops pure neroli or petitgrain essential oil
8 drops pure bergamot essential oil
12 drops pure mandarin essential oil
200ml distilled water
Coffee filter paper
Plastic funnel
Put the cider vinegar into a 300ml dark glass bottle. Add the essential oils and shake well. Top up with distilled water and shake again. Allow the mixture to stand for 7 days. After this period, the cologne smells more rounded. Pour it through a coffee filter paper into a jug, then through a funnel into a purfume atomizer or cosmetic bottle with a fine spray. Shake well before use.
Refreshing, moisturizing and cheering, lemongrass is perfect pick-me-up for feet that need a little tender, loving care.
NOURISHING FOOT BALM
Massage this rich, nourishing cream into dry skin immediately after bathing (heat and moisture make the absorption of the cream easier). Beeswax is available from craft shops and outlets specializing in medicinal herbs and other natural remedies.
NOURISHING FOOT
3g grated beeswax
15ml carrier oil
5tspdistilled water
3 avocado or evening primrose oil capsules
10ml diluted lemongrass oil
4 drops pure sandalwood essential oil
4 drops pure rose otto essential oil
Melt the beeswax and almond oil in a heatproof basin over a pan of simmering water. Warm the distilled water in another basin placed over a second pan of simmering water. As soon as the beeswax has dissolved, add the contents of the oil capsules (pierce with a pin and squeese into the mixture), then stir in the diluted lemongrass oil. Begin to add the warm water drop by drop, stirring constantly. Remove the basin from the heat, then mix in the essential oils. Stir until the mixture has thickened, then transfer to a glass jar. If stored in the fridge, the cream keeps for up to two months.
HAPPY FEET MASSAGE OIL
Just the job to perk up tired and sad feet! 5ml diluted lemongrass oil 5ml sweet almond oil 1 drop pure geranium essential oil 2 drops pure sandalwood essential oil
This light-textured, deodorizing lotion is best applied after your bath or shower - sheer joy during hot weather!

2 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
3 drops pure petitgrain essential oil
3 drops pure lavender essential oil
25ml base or unperfumed body lotion


Add the oils to the lotion, shake well until mixed.
Home essentials with lemongrass
Keep insects at bay with these natural deterrents.
LEMONGRASS INSECT REPELLENT CANDLE
Handle the pure lemongrass oil with care as it can irritate skin.

You will need - secateurs - garden canes - empty 500g can - grease proof paper - scissors - 500g paraffin wax - double boiler - 25 drops pure lemongrass essential oil - 20cm candle wick - pen or pencil - can opener - ribbon

1 Cut enough lengths of cane to line the inside of an empty can and set aside. Line the base and inside of the can with greaseproof paper. Melt the wax in a double boiler (never melt wax over direct heat as it mat catch fire). Add the lemongrass oil, stirring well. Dip the wick into the wax and tie it to a pen or pencil laid across the top of the can so it is suspended in the centre.
2 Carefully pour a quarter of the melted wax into the bottom of the tin and leave until it turns opaque and starts to harden (about 10 minutes). Push the canes into the wax round the inside of the can. Leave to set for 10 minutes.

3 Pour the remaining wax into the can and leave it to set (put it in the fridge to speed up the process). Use a can opener to remove the base of the can and carefully push out the candle. Peel off the greaseproof paper and trim the wick to 1cm. Tie on the ribbon.
HERBAL MOTH BAGS
Any natural cotton or liner will do for these moth-repelling bags.

You will need - 10g chopped, dried lemongrass - 10g chopped, dried lavender - 10g chopped, dried peppermint leaves - 5 drops pure lemongrass essential oil - two 5cm x 10cm cloth bags - garden string

1 Mix the dried herbs in a small bowl. Add the essential oil and stirr to mix.

2 Fill each bag with the mixture and tie with garden string.

Pet essentials with lemongrass
ZAP FLEAS, TICKS & LICE

Spray or sponge this into your pet's coat, soak their collar in it, use as a final rinse after shampooing, or spray on their bedding. The mixture helps mask animal odour, too.

4 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
6 drops pure lavender essential oil
10ml alcohol (vodka is good)
500ml water
Put the oils and alcohol in a glass bottle, with a dropper dispenser. Shake well, then add 20 drops to the water. Shake well and use. Generally cats dislike essential oils and are very sensitive to them, so use a mutch weaker dilution, i.e. 1 drop of lemongrass and 2 of lavender for their fur, and a weaker dilution still for their bedding. Keep well away from eyes.

ANTI-MATING BLEND

Lemongrass essential oil is ideal to conceal the aroma of female dogs in heat.

4 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
6 drops marjoram essential oil
10ml alcohol (vodka)
500ml water


Put the oils and alcohol in a glass bottle, with a dropper dispenser. Shake well, then add 20 drops to the water. Spray or sponge over the back and hindquarters, avoiding sensitive areas.
Healing with lemongrass
Lemongrass is very healing on the skin and is especially useful for fungal infections. It can also cool fevers, relax the body, refresh the mind and help hurry colds away.

LEMONGRASS TEA FOR NURSING MOTHERS

The two most important ways of increasing the quantity and quality of breast milk are to breastfeed on an unrestricted basis and to ensure the baby is well positioned at the breast. Try to reduce stress and improve your diet, too. Also make sure you are drinking enough fluids and include some lemongrass tea. For centuries lemon- grass has been drunk as a herbal infusion to promote milk flow. Lemongrass is also a nerve tonic and a wonderfull all-round remedy for nursing mothers.
To make lemongrass tea, put 2 tsp of the dried grass (available from supermarkets and health shops) in a large teacup. Add boiling water and stir well. Allow to infuse for 10 minutes before straining into another cup. Sweeten with honey if you wish, and serve with a slice of lemon or lime. Drink a cupful 2-3 times a day.
ON THE BODY
Lemongrass is cooling, antiseptic and antimicrobial, making it an excellent choice for feverish ailments, such as colds and flu. It is also effective for acne, athlete's foot, scabies, muscular aches and pains, poor muscle tone, porr circulation, and as an insect repellent. You can use it in a burner as a fumigant when infectious illness is around.

ON THE MIND
Lemongrass is a renowned nerve tonic and restorative, and helps nervous tension, stress-related exhaustion, mind depression, tension headaches and mental fatigue. Use in a burner to create a mood-elevating ambience in your home.
PHOENIX BATH BLEND
A great pick-me-up for stress-related fatigue.

2 drops pure helichrysum essential oil
2 drops pure rosemary essential oil
5ml diluted lemongrass essential oil
Add the pure oils to the diluted lemongrass, then pour the blend into a full bath. The oils will float on the surface and you can massage them into your skin whilst you relax.
COLD CURE
Drink this spicy brew at the first sign of cold or flu. It will help relieve accompanying symptoms of headache, and muscular aches and pains. Put 2 tsp of dried lemongrass into a mug. Add a pinch of ground ginger and a few cloves. Add boiling water, then leave to infuse for 10 minutes. When ready, add a few teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, sweeten with honey according to taste.
ATHELETE'S FOOT
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection between the toes, sometimes spreading over the whole foot. The skin may be cracked and sore. The condition is usually encouraged by excessive perspiration in poorly ventilated footwear. As well as using the aromatic treatments suggested here after washing your feet, ensure that you dry thoroughly between the toes. Expose your feet to sunshine and fresh air whenever possible. Avoid hosiery made from synthetic fibres.
Aromatic ointment
30 unperfumed skin cream
5 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
5 drops pure tea tree essential oil
10 drops pure lavender essential oil

Put the cream into a glass jar or pot, then stir in the essential oils with the handle of a teaspoon. Apply to the affected areas two or three times daily.

Aromatic foot powder
As well as applying it directly to affected skin, this anti-fungal, deodorizing foot powder can be sprinkled in shoes and cotton socks. It can also be dusted over blisters to encourage rapid healing.

2tsp unperfumed talc (or sifted cornflower)
6 drops pure lemongrass essential oil
8 drops pure petitgrain essential oil
6 drops pure tea tree essential oil
10 drops pure lavender essential oil


Put the talc or cornflower into a wide mouthed glass jar with a screw cap. Add the essential oils, tighten the cap and shake well. Allow the foot powder to stand for 24 hours before use.

If any condition gives cause for concern, always consult a doctor.
SAFETY FIRST
- Avoid giving some one a foot massage if they have an infection - such as athlete's foot or a verruca - as you could make it spread.

- Don't massage feet or ankles if there is noticeable swelling (i.e. excessive fluid in the tissues) which is a long-term problem.
Foot massage blend
Use 10ml diluted lemongrass oil or make this blend:
5ml diluted lemongrass oil
5ml grapeseed or sweet almond oil
1 drop juniper essential oil
1 drop lavender essential oil

Pour the lemongrass oil and grapeseed or sweet almond oil into a small china dish. Add the juniper and lavender essential oils, and swirl around to blend evenly.
Most of us take our feet for granted. We pull on our shoes in the morning and don't slip them off again until the evening, or bedtime. Often it is not until our feet start hurting that we take any notice of them at all. As well as expecting our feet to take our weight all day long, we often restrict them by wearing ill-fitting fashion shoes and still exchange all of this!pect them to carryu on regardless.

Let a foot massage change all of this! If your feet ache at the end of the day, a foot massage may well be the answer. Make sure that there is no other physical reason why your feet ache or hurt. If painful corns or other specific problems are causing discomfort, first seek the help of a chiropodist - then you'll appreciate a massage even more.

Having your feet massaged is a real luxury, but if you have no-one to do this for you, a self-massage can feel nearly as good. A foot massage can really relax and revive a pair of tired feet, and the rest of the person as well. Allow a further 10 minutes after the massage to rest with your feet up.
Ticklishness is sometimes due to nervousness or tension, or it can be because the toutch is too light and feathery. Try to make your strokes as positive as possible. Keep one hand in contact with the skin at all times and flow one stroke into another, so you don't suprise your partner by suddenly toutching a new area. If the ticklishness still persists move away from the problem area and try again in the same place later, when they are more relaxed. However, some people just simply have to choose another massage sequence altogether.
KNUCKLING
To extend the basic massage, below, include knuckling and flexing after step 6. Support the foot with one hand and use the middle, flat section of the back of your fingers to work over the sole. Make large circles and press your fingers firmly into the contours of the sole.
FOOT FLEXES
Support the foot under the ankle and, with the other hand, slowly flex the foot towards the leg. Now adjust your hand slightly and flex the foot the other way, towards the floor. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Each movement should be slowly taken up to, but not beyond, its natural limit.
WARMING RUBS
1 Warm some oil in the palms of your hands. Sandwich the foot in between your hands and start by stroking from the toes to the heel. This evenly disperses the oil. Now briskly rub the foot between your two hands as though you were warming your hands on a cold day. Do this all over the foot, first with your hands on top and underneath the foot and then with them rubbing the sides, so the foot shakes freely.
SOOTHING CIRCLES
2 With your fingers supporting the sole, massage the top of the foot with your thumbs, using circular movements. First make small circles using your thumbs alternately. Continue until you have thorughly worked the top of the foot. This feels especially good over the base of the toes. Now make larger, sweeping circles with your thumbs, either alternately or at the same time.
LOOSENING THE TOES
3 Work each toe with your thumb, making small, circular movements over the entire toe. Start with the large toe and work in sequence towards the little toe. Check with your partner that your level of pressure is not hurting them, especially over the joints. Now sandwich each toe between your forefinger and thumb and stroke down the sides. When you reach the end give the toe a very gentle pull.
STROKING THE SOLE
4 With the left hand supporting the ankle, stroke up the sole of the foot with your right hand, with the palm to the inside. It is easier to stroke your partner's left foot with your right hand, as the contours of the hand and foot complement each other well. Now stroke the sole firmly and rhythmically with the heel of your hand. Repeat 8-10 times.
THUMB WALKING
5 Start on the fleshy part of the sole, directly under the big toe, and press firmly with your right thumb. Now use your left thumb to press the area about 2cm further along. Continue, using first one thumb then the other, to 'walk' across the foot under the toes, then turn down the outer side of the sole until you reach the heel. Continue the thumb pressures all over the heel, working in lines from one side to the other.
SQUEEZES
6 Support the foot with both hands, with the heels of your hands on top and your fingers under the sole. Squeeze the foot with the heels of your hands, applying a gentle flexing action with both of them at the same time. Start with your hands close together at the centre of the foot and with each squeeze allow the heels of your hands to move further outwards towards the sides. Your partner should feel as if the foot is being stretched out. Repeat several times.
SQUEEZE AND RELEASE
7 Starting as close to the ankle as you can, squeeze and release up the outside of the foot with your hand, from the ankle to the toes. Make the squeezes frequent and light, as these areas can be quite tender. Repeat three times more. Now use the other hand to do the same up the inside of the foot.
ANKLE STROKES
8 Stroke round the ankle with both hands - one hand stroking on the outside of the ankle, the other on the inside. Now circle the ankle using both hands alternately - first going up the back of the ankle and then gliding down the front in a sweeping, circular motion. Repeat several times before making alternate circles with your thumbs all over the front. Finally, let your hands glide down the foot so that one hand is on the top and the other underneath. Hold for a few seconds, before stroking off the ends of the toes. Now repeat steps 1-8 on the other foot.


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