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Cymbopogon citratus

Until the advent of Asian cuisines expanded our epicurean horizons Lemongrass used to be wholly unknown in the West. Now we are used to finding it in our Thai curries and appreciate its delicate lemony flavour. In Asia it has long been appreciated, not just as a spice, but also as medicine, to treat feverish conditions and to keep bugs at bay. Lemongrass lends its scent to scores of washing up liquids and other household cleaning agents, though we are usually led to believe that their citrus scent derives from actual lemons. Our noses are fooled by the citrols, the lemony fragrance component common to both. Other parts of the world find more romantic uses for Lemongrass: in the Caribbean an aphrodisiac elixir is prepared with Lemongrass as its main component that is supposed to stimulate a dormant sexual drive in both men and women. In Central Africa it is likewise used as an aphrodisiac and has also been used it in divinatory practice.

Lemongrass is best known for its efficiency to repel insects such as mosquitoes and fleas. However there is more to this oil than 'bugs-be-gone'. It is very refreshing as a footbath for tired feet and checks excessive perspiration. It is wonderfully cooling in feverish conditions. It awakens the senses and clears headaches and mental congestion. In Aromatherapy skin care it can be used to tone and tighten the skin, especially where open pores call for an astringent. Use with caution; people with sensitive skin may experience skin reactions.

Lemongrass oil can be used for purification of ritual tools. It can be added to cleansing water to purify a magical or ceremonial space. It is a good oil for meditation as it clears the mind, opens psychic channels and aids concentration. It can be used in divination and scrying practices. Lemongrass is a cheerful, light hearted oil that serves as a reminder to keep things in perspective and not take them too seriously. It energises any ritual with a gentle lift rather than a punch. It can be used to get in touch with the inner child. As a stimulating aphrodisiac it can be included in love potions and philtres.

The name sums up the scent - it's a grassy lemon-type scent with hints of vanilla. Blends well with Pine, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Geranium, Lavender, Lime, Cinnamon and Aniseed.

West indian lemongrass

Country of origin