Chinese Name: Xiang mao
Medical Name:
Latin Name: Cymbopogon citratus (DC. ex Nees) Stapf, family Gramineae
Origin: Rhizomes, whole plant
Taste: Pungent, lemony with hints of ginger.

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

LU-CHUAN'S MATERIA MEDICA: "Effective as a diaphoretic and anti-fever agent, in subduing swellings and relieving pain. Mainly used in the treatment of rheumatism and ostealgia; in the treatment of injuries from falls, fractures, contusions and sprains; against cold and internal pathogenic heat."

Western Research

J Basic Microbiol. 2006;46(6):456-69.
Effects of Cymbopogon citratus L. essential oil on the growth, lipid content and morphogenesis of Aspergillus niger ML2-strain
Helal GA, Sarhan MM, Abu Shahla AN, Abou El-Khair EK.
Botany Department, Faculty of Science, Zagazig University, Sharkia Governorate, Egypt.
The mycelial growth of Aspergillus niger van Tieghem was completely inhibited using 1.5 (microl/ml or 2.0 (microl/ml of Cymbopogon citratus essential oil applied by fumigation or contact method in Czapek liquid medium, respectively. This oil was found also to be fungicidal at the same concentrations. The sublethal doses 1.0 and 1.5 (microl/ml inhibited about 70% of fungal growth after five days of incubation and delayed conidiation as compared with the control. Microscopic observations using Light Microscope (LM), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) were carried out to determine the ultra structural modifications of A. niger hyphae after treatment with C. citratus essential oil. The hyphal diameter and hyphal wall appeared markedly thinner. This oil also caused plasma membrane disruption and mitochondrial structure disorganization. Moreover, Ca+2, K+ and Mg+2 leakages increased from the fumigated mycelium and its total lipid content decreased, while the saturated fatty acids decreased and unsaturated fatty acids increased. These findings increase the possibility of exploiting C. citratus essential oil as an effective inhibitor of biodegrading and storage contaminating fungi and in fruit juice preservation. ((c) 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim).

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 6;53(7):2511-7.
Free radical scavengers and antioxidants from Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf.).
Cheel J, Theoduloz C, Rodriguez J, Schmeda-Hirschmann G.
Instituto de Quimica de Recursos Naturales and Laboratorio de Cultivo Celular, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Talca, Casilla 747, Talca, Chile.
Methanol, MeOH/water extracts, infusion, and decoction of Cymbopogon citratus were assessed for free radical scavenging effects measured by the bleaching of the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radical, scavenging of the superoxide anion, and inhibition of the enzyme xanthine oxidase (XO) and lipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes. The extracts presented effect in the DPPH and superoxide anion assay, with values ranging between 40 and 68% and 15-32% at 33 and 50 microg/mL, respectively, inhibited lipid peroxidation in erythrocytes by 19-71% at 500 microg/mL and were inactive toward the XO at 50 microg/mL. Isoorientin, isoscoparin, swertiajaponin, isoorientin 2' '-O-rhamnoside, orientin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid were isolated and identified by spectroscopic methods. Isoorientin and orientin presented similar activities toward the DPPH (IC(50): 9-10 microM) and inhibited lipid peroxidation by 70% at 100 microg/mL. Caffeic and chlorogenic acid were active superoxide anion scavengers with IC(50) values of 68.8 and 54.2 microM, respectively, and a strong effect toward DPPH. Caffeic acid inhibited lipid peroxidation by 85% at 100 microg/mL.

Phytomedicine. 2009 Mar;16(2-3):118-24.
Treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients with lemon juice and lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and gentian violet.
Wright SC, Maree JE, Sibanyoni M.
Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Staatsartillerie Road, Pretoria-West, Pretoria 0001, Gauteng, South Africa. wrightscd@tut.ac.za
PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of lemon juice and lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) in the treatment of oral thrush in HIV/AIDS patients when compared with the control group using gentian violet aqueous solution 0.5%. Oral thrush is a frequent complication of HIV infection. In the Moretele Hospice, due to financial constraints, the treatment routinely given to patients with oral thrush is either lemon juice directly into the mouth or a lemon grass infusion made from lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) grown and dried at the hospice. These two remedies have been found to be very efficacious therefore are used extensively. Gentian violet, the first line medication for oral thrush in South Africa, is not preferred by the primary health clinic patients due to the visible purple stain which leads them to being stigmatized as HIV-positive. Cymbopogon citratus and Citrus limon have known antifungal properties. METHODS: The study design was a randomised controlled trial. Ninety patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: gentian violet, lemon juice or lemon grass. Inclusion criteria included being HIV-positive with a diagnosis of oral thrush. The study period was 11 days and patients were followed up every second day. International ethical principles were adhered to during the study. RESULTS: Of the 90 patients, 83 completed the study. In the intention-to-treat analysis, none of the p-values were significant therefore the null hypothesis could not be rejected. In the analysis of the participants who actually completed the trial, the lemon juice showed better results than the gentian violet aqueous solution 0.5% in the treatment of oral thrush in an HIV-positive population (p<0.02). The null hypothesis in terms of the lemon grass and gentian violet could also be rejected on the basis of the Chi-square test and the likelihood ratio test (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Though the patient population was small, the use of lemon juice and lemon grass for the treatment of oral candidiasis in an HIV population was validated by the randomised controlled trial.

Mutat Res 2001 Sep 20;496(1-2):33-8
Effect of the Cymbopogon citratus, Maytenus ilicifolia and Baccharis genistelloides extracts against the stannous chloride oxidative damage in Escherichia coli.
Melo SF, Soares SF, da Costa RF, da Silva CR, de Oliveira MB, Bezerra RJ, Caldeira-de-Araujo A, Bernardo-Filho M.
Departamento de Biofisica e Biometria, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcantara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Av 28 de setembro, 87 20551-030, RJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
We evaluated the influence of Cymbopogon citratus, Maytenus ilicifolia and Baccharis genistelloides extracts on the survival of the Escherichia coli wild type (AB 1157) strain submitted to SnCl(2) treatment. Our results showed a reduction of the SnCl(2) effect on the survival of the cultures in presence of the crude extracts, possibly due to the redox properties of these crude extracts.