Cymbopogon, variously known as lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, Cochin grass or Malabar grass or oily heads , is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family.
Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus) are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). Other common names include barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, and fever grass, amongst many others.
The name cymbopogon derives from the Greek words kymbe (κύμβη, 'boat') and pogon (πώγων, 'beard') "which mean [that] in most species, the hairy spikelets project from boat-shaped spathes."
C. citratus from the Philippines, where it is locally known as tanglad
Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grow to about 2 m (6.6 ft) and have magenta-colored base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as an insect repellent (especially mosquitoes) in insect sprays and candles, and in aromatherapy. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, as a flavoring.
Lemongrass is the primary ingredient of van van oil, one of the most popular oils in conjure. Lemongrass is used in this preparation and on its own in hoodoo to protect against evil, spiritually clean a house, and to bring good luck in love affairs.
^Blanco MM, Costa CA, Freire AO, Santos JG, Costa M (March 2009). "Neurobehavioral effect of essential oil of Cymbopogon citratus in mice". Phytomedicine. 16 (2–3): 265–70. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2007.04.007. PMID17561386.
^Leite JR, Seabra Mde L, Maluf E, et al. (July 1986). "Pharmacology of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus Stapf). III. Assessment of eventual toxic, hypnotic and anxiolytic effects on humans". J Ethnopharmacol. 17 (1): 75–83. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(86)90074-7. PMID2429120.