Lemongrass, or Cymbopogon citratus, is a tall, aromatic perennial grass native to tropical Asia. The freshly cut and dried leaves of the plant have been used traditionally as a flavoring agent. The volatile oils of the plants contain a chemical called citral, which gives it medicinal value. Lemongrass supplements are available as capsules, powders, liquid extracts and oils. The individual recommended dose varies depending on your age and overall health. Talk to a doctor before using lemongrass extract for medicinal purposes.
Lemongrass extracts can induce apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in some cancer cell lines, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. However, these benefits have not been studied in actual patients and more research is needed before lemongrass extracts can be used in cancer treatment, says MSKCC. An animal study published in the journal “Carcinogenesis” also points out that lemongrass extracts can prevent DNA changes and thereby lower the risk of colon cancer in laboratory animals.