PLANT NAME: Cymbopogon citratus (R. Br.) A. Camus.
COMMON NAMES: Wäpine, läpine, lükini [Hawai’i]; xiang mao, xiang ma, mao ju ma, yun xiang cao [China]; lemongrass, west indian lemongrass (C. citratus); east indian lemongrass (C. flexuous) [USA]; fever grass [Carribean]; moegalo [Samoa]; moengalo [Tonga]; yerba de limón, zacate de limón [Costa Rica]; calmarosa, palmarosa (C. martini), citronella (C. nardus); ilintji, kalpalpi (C. ambiguus) [Australian Aboriginals]; tanglad (C. citratus) [Phillipines]; yerba luisa [Amazonia]; suyuis, qulla waji [Aymara]; jampi ali, jich’u suqus [Quechua]; capiicati [Chiriguano]; pirhegans [Nepal].
RANGE: It is cultivated in China, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Central Africa, Madagascar and Hawai’i. Native to Australia.
FAMILY: Poaceae (Grass family).
TOXICITY: None noted for the herb.
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS: NOT IN PREGNANCY. Caution with low blood pressure. Essential oil (“eo”) can cause skin reaction, never put full strength essential oil directly on the skin. Always dilute well with a carrier oil for topical use.
Do not use Citronella (C. nardus) internally.
NOTES ‘N QUOTES
Essential oil is used as an excellent alternative to those foul smelling “air fresheners” so pervasive in American automobiles.
In some places the lemongrass rhizome is used as a toothbrush.
One of our few Hawaiian plants that falls into the Chinese “warm acrid release the exterior” category, wäpine is a safe, useful and tasty diaphoretic and antihypertensive.