Lemongrass, Citronella (Cymbopogon species)

Published February 1, 1990.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)

Cymbopogon-Arten

Name of Drug

Cymbopoginis nardi herba, Ceylon citronella grass.
Cymbopoginis citrati herba, West Indian lemongrass.
Cymbopoginis citrati aetheroleum, West Indian lemongrass oil.
Cymbopoginis winteriani aetheroleum, Java citronella oil.

Composition of Drug

Ceylon citronella grass consists of the above-ground parts of Cymbopogon nardus Rendle [Fam. Poaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

West Indian lemongrass consists of the above-ground parts of C. citratus (DC) Stapf, as well as preparations thereof.

West Indian lemongrass oil consists of the essential oil from C. citratus (DC) Stapf, as well as preparations thereof.

Java citronella oil consists of the essential oil from C. winterianus Jowitt, as well as preparations thereof.

Uses

Lemongrass is used as a mild astringent and a tonic for the stomach.

Lemongrass, lemongrass oil and citronella oil preparations are used almost exclusively in combinations for disorders and discomforts of the gastrointestinal tract, muscle pain and neuralgia, colds, various nervous disturbances, and for conditions of exhaustion. Citronella is also used as an insect repellent. It is ingested orally or applied topically.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications is not documented.

Risks

Allergic reactions are rare, if preparations of the herb are topically applied to the skin. Two cases of toxic alveolitis have been reported after inhalation of an unknown amount of lemongrass oil. After an accidental ingestion of an insect repellent which contained citronella oil, a child was fatally poisoned.

Evaluation

Since the effectiveness of the claimed uses is not documented, a therapeutic application cannot be recommended.

There is no reservation about using citral-pool herbs and essential oils as an aroma or taste corrigent.