I fell in love with the flavor of lemongrass when traveling in Southeast Asia. Lemongrass (Cympobogon citratus) is native to many Asian countries, and it has been used for centuries in cooking and in traditional medicine in South and Southeast Asia. It is a staple ingredient in many foods in Southeast Asian cuisine, and it is often added to hot or cold drinks for its refreshing flavor. Lemongrass also has a long history of use in India’s medical system Ayurveda. Traditionally, lemongrass has been used to relieve colds, coughs and other respiratory disorders, fevers, and stomach problems such as nausea or diarrhea. It is also used as a tonic to the nervous system, and to help to relieve insomnia. Based on its traditional uses and its nickname “fever grass,” lemongrass is the perfect choice for herbal infusions during the cold and flu season.
Lemongrass is a tall perennial grass, and although it is native to several Asian countries, you can grow your own lemongrass plants in your herb graden. Fresh lemongrass is often sold in Asian food stores, and dried lemongrass is widely available in many stores and from herb suppliers.
Use fresh or dried lemongrass to make an herbal infusion, and drink several cups a day during colds and flus to relieve symptoms. Lemongrass is said to be especially helpful in feverish diseases, and in my own experience lemongrass tea seems to increase sweating and may help to bring down fever.
How to Make a Lemongrass Infusion
If using fresh lemongrass, use a tablespoon of the fresh herb for each cup of hot water, and if using dried lemongrass, use a teaspoon of the herb for each cup of hot water. Bring water to boil, pour it over the herb and leave to infuse for at least ten minutes.
Lemongrass has a lovely fresh citrus-y flavor that is delicious on its own, but you can also mix it with fresh ginger for an even more effective infusion to ward off colds and to ease flu symptoms. And in the summer months, a cold lemongrass infusion is an excellent refreshing drink for hot days.
Lemongrass gives us an essential oil that is often used as a natural insect repellent. It is also a deodorant and antiseptic oil and a lovely oil for aromatherapy foot baths. Add a drop or two of lemongrass oil to a warm footbath to refresh tired feet, and enjoy a lemongrass footbath during the flu season while you drink your homemade lemongrass infusion!