Family • Gramineae - Andropogon citratus DC. - LEMON GRASS - Xiang mao

Scientific names

Andropogon citratus DC.
Andropogon schoenanthus Blanco.
Cymbopogon citratus Staph.
Andropogon flexuosus
Xiang mao (Chin.)

Common names

Balioko (Bis.)
Barani (Ilk.)
Paja de meca (Span.)
Zacate limon (Span.)
Tanglad (Tag., Bik., Bis.)
Salai (Tag.)
Sai (Mbo., Mand., Sul.)
Salaid (Tag.)
Citronella grass (Engl.)
Fever grass (Engl.)
Lemon grass (Engl.)
Sweet rush (Engl.)
Ginger-grass (Engl.)
Xiang mao (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

AFRIKAANS: Sitroengras.
ARABIC: Hashisha al-limun.
BENGALI: Gandhabena.
BULGARIAN: Limonova treva.
BIURMESE: Moan.hing:hka: sa.pa:ling, Sabalin, Sabalin hinsa.
CHINESE: Ning men cao, Xiang mao cao.
CZECH : Citrónová tráva.
DANISH: Citroengras.
ETHIOPIAN: Tej-sar..
FRENCH: Verveine des Indes, Citronnelle.
GUJARATI: Lili cha.
HEBREW: Limonit rehanit, Essef limon.
HINDI: Aghin ghas, Gandhatrina, Gauti chai, Khawi, Sera, Verveine.
HUNGARIAN: Ázsiai citromfű, Citromfű, Indiai citromfű.
ICELANDIC: Sítrónugras
ITALIAN: Cimbopogone.
JAPANESE: Remon gurasu, Remonsou.
KANNDA: Majjige hullu.
KOREAN: Remon gurasu.
LITHUANIAN: Citrinžolė.
MALAY: Serai, Serai dapur, Serai makan, Sereh makan (Indonesia).
MALAYALAM: Terava pullu, Vasana pullu.
MALAYSIA: Sakumau.
MARATHI: Gavati chaha, Hirva cha.
MEXICO: Zacate limon.
NEPALESE: Pirhe ghaans.
ORIYA: Dhanvantari, Dhanwantari ghaasa.
POLISH: Palczatka cytrynowa.
PORTUGUESE: Capim-santo, Capim-cidrão, Erva-cidreira (Brazil).
RUSSIAN: Chelnoborodnik limonnyj, Tsitronella, Zapadno-indijskoe limonnoe sorgo.
SANSKRIT: Bhustrina.
SERBIAN: Limun trava.
SINHALESE: Leman gras, Sera.
SPANISH: Caña de limón, Hierba de limón, Limonaria, Malojillo, Te de limon, Pasto cedrón, Pasto-limón.
SWEDISH: Citrongräs.
TAMIL: Dta krai gaeng, Kaa hom, Khrai, Sere, Ta khrai.
TELUGU: Kamanchi kasu, Nimmagaddi.
THAILAND: Ta-khrai.
TURKISH: Limon otu.
URDU: Agan ghas, Aghin ghas.

Tanglad is a tufted and perennial grass. Leaves grow to a length of up to 1 meter, about 1to 1.5 centimeters wide, scabrous, flat, long-acuminate, and smooth. Panicles are 30 to 80 centimeters long, interrupted below; the branches and branchlets somewhat nodding. Perfect spikelets are linear-lanceolate, pointed, not awned, and about 6 millimeters long.


– Planted in most parts of the Philippines for its fragrant leaves, but is nowhere spontaneous.
– Cultivated commercially in Java, India, and Sri Lanka.
– Native of tropical East Asia and widely distributed in cultivation.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) LEMON GRASS: BOTANY, ETHNOBOTANY AND CHEMISTRY-A REVIEW / Pak J. Weed Sci. Res. 13(1-2): 129-134, 2007

(2) Lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.) / Natural Medicine A-Z

(3) Sorting Cymbopogon names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(4) Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass) / Gagan Shah, Richa Shri, Vivek Panchal, Narender Sharma, Bharpur Singh, AS Mann / Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 2011, Volume 2, No 1, Pp 3-8.

(5) Effect of Cymbopogon citratus and Citral on Vascular Smooth Muscle of the Isolated Thoracic Rat Aorta /  R. Chitra Devi, S. M. Sim, and R. Ismail / Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012) / doi:10.1155/2012/539475

(6) Toxicity and repellant activity of Cymbopogon citratus (D.C.) Stapf. and Murraya koenigii Sprang. against Callosobruchus maculatus (F.) (Coleoptera; Bruchidae) / P A Paranagama et al / Tropical Agricutural Research and Extension 5(1&2):2002

(7) Phytochemical composition of Cymbopogon citratus and Eucalyptus citriodora essential oils and their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties on Wistar rats / Gbenou JD, Ahounou JF, Akakpo HB, Laleye A, Yayi E, Gbaguidi F, Baba-Moussa L, Darboux R, Dansou P, Moudachirou M, Kotchoni SO. / Mol Biol Rep. 2013 Feb;40(2):1127-34. doi: 10.1007/s11033-012-2155-1. Epub 2012 Oct 14.

(8) Antioxidant potential of Cymbopogon citratus extract: alleviation of carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic oxidative stress and toxicity / Pei Hoon Koh, Ruzaidi Azli Mohd. Mokhtar, Mohammad Iqbal / Human Experimental Toxicology

(9) Housefly (Musca domestica L.) control potential of Cymbopogon citratus Stapf. (Poales: Poaceae) essential oil and monoterpenes (citral and 1,8-cineole). / Kumar P, Mishra S, Malik A, Satya S. / Parasitol Res. 2013 Jan;112(1):69-76. doi: 10.1007/s00436-012-3105-5. Epub 2012 Sep 7.

(10) Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice ./ Blanco MM, Costa CA, Freire AO, Santos JG Jr, Costa M. / Phytomedicine. 2009 Mar;16(2-3):265-70. Epub 2007 Jun 11. /

(11) Inhibitory effects of lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf) on formation of azoxymethane-induced DNA adducts and aberrant crypt foci in the rat colon / Ratchada Suaeyun, Takemi Kinouchi, Hideki Arimochi, Usanee Vinitketkumnuen and Yoshinari Ohnishi / Carcinogenesis vol.18 no.5 pp.949–955, 1997

(12) In vitro activity of the essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus and its major component (citral) on Leishmania amazonensis. / Santin MR, dos Santos AO, Nakamura CV, Dias Filho BP, Ferreira IC, Ueda-Nakamura T./ Parasitol Res. 2009 Nov;105(6):1489-96. doi: 10.1007/s00436-009-1578-7. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

– Distillation of the fresh plant yields lemon-grass oil, verbena oil, and Indian Molissa oil.
– Plant contains small amounts of methyl heptenone and terpenes (limonene and dipentene).
– Contains citral, an aldehyde found in lemon peel oil and other natural essential oils.
– Main constituents of essential oil are citral (aldehydes geranial and neral) and terpenes (myrcrene, monoterpene and geranial – terpenic alcohol).
– The exact value of the oil depends on the amount of citral it contains. High grade oil contains about 70 to 80 percent citral.
– Study of essential oil yields hydrocarbon terpenes, alcohols, ketones, esters and aldehydes.
– Leaves and roots have yielded alkaloids, saponin, a-sitosterol, terpenes, alcohol, ketone, flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and sugars.
– Plant yields flavonoids and phenolic compounds–luteolin, isoorientin 2′-O-rhamnoside, quercetin, kaempferol, and apiginin.

– The oils are reddish-yellow with an intense odor and taste of lemons.
– Carminative, tonic, stimulant, diuretic, purgative, sudorific.
– Leaves considered antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and sedative.
– Possess pharmacologic activities: antimalarial, antimutagenicity, antimycobacterial, antioxidants, hypoglycemic and neurobehavioral.

Parts utilized
Leaves and whole plant.

field planting lemongrass clump


– Commonly used as a stuffing ingredient in pig spit-roasting to improve the flavor and decrease the grease-taste.
– Used for cooking stale fish to improve the taste.
– Also used to flavor wines, sauces and spices.
– In Java, plant is used for spicing sherbet.
– The roots have a ginger-like flavor and used as a condiment and adding fragrance to gogo hair-washes

· Diarrhea: Boil 10 leaves in 2 glasses of water for 10 minutes; add a tablespoon of sugar and one small piece of crushed ginger.
· For adults: 1 cup, 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement.
· Children: (Babies) 1 tablespoon 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement; 2-6 years, 1/4 cup 3 times daily and after each loose bowel movement; 7-12 years, 1/2 cup three times daily and after each loose bowel movement.
· Suob: One of the 10 herbal ingredients in the decoction/bath in the post-partum ritual of suob. (See:Suob)
· Hot decoction of roots used for toothaches.
· Roots also used as a diuretic.
· Leaves used for aromatic baths.
· Leaves applied to the forehead and face as a cure for headaches; infusion held in the mouth to alleviate toothaches.
· A stomachic for children. Tea made from leaves used as stomachic tonic, diuretic, and refrigerant.
· Used as emmenagogue.
· Used in baths and fomentations.
· The oil, mixed with equal amounts of coconut oil, is used as a liniment for back pains, rheumatic complains, neuralgia, sprains and other painful afflictions.
· Decoction of leaves used as stomachic, diuretic, and refrigerant.
· In various traditional systems, leaf infusions used as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and sedative.
· In Cuban folk medicine, used to lower blood pressure and as anti-inflammatory.
· In Brazil, used as sedative, for gastrointestinal maladies, and as febrifuge. Also, tea from leaves used for anxiolytic, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant effects.
· In Malaya, used as a potion after childbirth.
· In Indonesia, used as digestive, diuretic, sudorific and emmenagogue.
· In India, used for gastrointestinal problems. Also, oil used as remedy for cholera.
· In China, used as ansiolitic.
· In Nigeria, used as antipyretic, stimulant and antispasmodic.
· In Trinidad and Tobago, used for diabetes.
· In various folk medicinal use: oil used for cough, cold, hemoptysis, rheumatism, back pain, bladder problems

– Essential Oil: Volatile oil, called Lemon grass oil, consists mainly of citral and used in perfumery, soap, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, insecticide and food industries.
– Roots used for perfuming hair washes of gogo.
– Lemon grass oil is used in making perfumes, especially ionone (synthetic essence of violets).
– In India, cultivated around houses to repel snakes.
– Scavon Vet Spray: Andropogon citratus is one of the ingredients in a spray used for parasitic mite, Demodex bovis, that causes demodectic mange in cattle.
Recent uses and preparations:
Stomach discomfort, toothache, sprain, vomiting and ringworm
Preparation :
Liniment: Boil equal amounts of chopped leaves and roots with freshly made coconut oil. Also use as insect repellant.
Infusion: Mix four ounces of the grass to one pint of boiling water.
To keep away mosquitos, plant it around your house or place crushed leaves on your window sills.

Study Findings
• Antibacterial / Antifungal: Studies have shown antibacterial activity, comparable to penicillin. Various studies has shown activity against C albicans, C pseudotropicalis, Mycrosporum gypseum and A niger. Study evaluated the antibacterial properties of alcohol and water extracts. The alcohol extract was generally more effective than the water extract. The presence of alkaloids and phenols were assumed responsible for the antibacterial activity of the extracts.
• Neurobehavioral Effects: Study of myrcene in rats suggests anxiolytic activity. Study of essentail oil produced marked CNS depression in mice, similar to chlorpromazine effect. Also, it increased sleepness time, similar to a thiopental effect.
• Antinociceptive / Analgesic: Myrcene extract from the essential oil has been shown to have an antinociceptive effect.
• Antitumoral: Study showed a-myrcene possess antimutagenic activity in mammary cells. Plant compounds, a-limonene and geraniol showed inhibition of liver and intestinal mucous membrane cancer in mice. Study in Thailand showed inhibition of colorectal neoplasia in mice. Study showed inhibitory effects on early phase hepatocarcinogenesis in rats after initiation with diethylnitrosamine.
• Insect repellent / Insecticidal: Studies of plant oil and powder have shown insect repellent and insecticidal activity. Essential oil has shown activity against Anopheline mosquitos, A culicifacies and A quinquefasciatus and certain developmental phase inhibition of A aegypti.
• Mosquito repellent: Study on the mosquito repellency properties of volatile oils derived from lemongrass (C citratus), citronella grass (cymbopobon nadus) and May chang (Litsea cubeba) against Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefascitus showed no significant difference on repellency.
• Vascular Smooth Muscle Relaxation Effect: Study evaluated the effects of methanolic extracts of leaves, stems, roots, and citral on vascular smooth muscle using isolated tissue preparations. Citral, leaves, and roots exhibited a dose-dependent relaxant effect on the PE-induced contractions. Citral seemed to partially act via NO. Results suggest the relaxant effect of citral, leaves and roots is endothelium-dependent and may be through its effect on intracelluar calcium concentration. A vasodilator prostaglandin may mediate the effect of leaves.
• Toxicity / Repellent Activity: Essential oils of C. citratus (lemongrass) and Murray koenigii (curry leaf) were tested for toxicity and repellant activity against C. maculatus in stored cowpea. Results showed lemongrass oil to be a more effective contact toxicant on bruchids than curry leaf oil.
• Neurobehavioral Effect of Essential Oil: Study in Swiss male mice of essential oil from fresh leaves produced increase in sleeping time, elevation of seizure threshold and/or blockage of seizure spread. Results suggest sedative/hypnotic, anxiolytic, and anticonvulsant activity.
• Essential Oil / Phytochemical Composition / Antiinflammatory / Analgesic: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory and gastroprotective effects of C. citratus and Eucalyptus citriodora essential oils on formol-induced edema and acetic acid-induced abdominal cramps in Wistar rats. C. citratus yielded 16 chemical constituents, among which geranial (27.04%), neral (19.93%) and myrcene (27.04%) were major constituents. The oils exhibited significant dose-dependent edema inhibition. Results showed anti-inflammatory activities and a potential role as adjuvant alternative in the treatment of inflammatory-related diseases.
• Antioxidant / Hepatoprotective: Study evaluated the effect of C. citratus against carbon tetrachloride- mediated hepatic oxidative damage in rats. Results showed a hepatoprotective effect attributed to its antioxidant and free radical scavenging property.
• Citral / Housefly (Musca domestica) Control: Study showed the potential of C. citratus oil as an excellent insecticide for housefly control, the results opening up the opportunity for oil/monoterpenes in the development of an eco-friendly, economical, and acceptable product.
• Gastroprotective: Study evaluated C. citratus leaves essential oil for gastroprotection against injuries caused by necrotizing agents (absolute alcohol and aspirin) in rodents. Results showed EOCC reduces gastric damage induced by ethanol, in part, through mechanisms involving endogenous prostaglandins.
• Inhibition of ACF (Aberrant Crypt Foci) in Rat Colon: Study showed lemon grass extract inhibits release of activated aglycon, methylazoxymethanol, from a glucoronide conjugate in the colon, and decreases the DNA adducts and ACF formation in the rat colon.
• Antileishmanial: Study evaluated the inhibitory effect of C. citratus essential oil on Leishmania amazonensis. Results showed a dose-dependent antiproliferative effect of the essential oil on promastigotes and axenic amastigotes. Results showed citral-rich essential oil has promising antileishmanial properties and a potential for a new anti-protozoan drug.

Cultivated for culinary use.