Cymbopogon citratus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Subfamily: Panicoideae
Supertribe: Andropogonodae
Tribe: Andropogoneae
Subtribe: Andropogoninae
Genus: Cymbopogon
Type species
Cymbopogon schoenanthus
  • Andropogon sect. Cymbopogon (Spreng.) Steud.
  • Andropogon subg. Cymbopogon (Spreng.) Nees
  • Gymnanthelia Andersson

Cymbopogon, also known as lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, oily heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, citronella grass or fever grass, is a genus of Asian, African, Australian, and tropical island plants in the grass family.[5][6][7][8][9] Some species (particularly Cymbopogon citratus) are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon). 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."[10] Lemongrass and its oil are believed to possess therapeutic properties.[9][11][12]


Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) grow to about 2 metres (6+12 feet) 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 and houseflies) in insect sprays and candles, and 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.


C. citratus from the Philippines, where it is locally known as tanglad

East Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin grass or Malabar grass, is native to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, while West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime Southeast Asia. While both can be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more suitable for cooking.

Folk medicine

In India, C. citratus is used as a medical herb and in perfumes. C. citratus is consumed as a tea for anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine,[13] but a study in humans found no effect.[14] The tea caused a recurrence of contact dermatitis in one case.[15]


Folk magic

In Hoodoo, lemongrass is the primary ingredient of van van oil, one of the most popular oils used in conjure.[16] 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.[17]


In beekeeping, lemongrass oil imitates the pheromone emitted by a honeybee's Nasonov gland to attract bees to a hive or a swarm.


Species in the genus include:[3]

Formerly included[3]

Numerous species are now regarded as better suited to other genera, including Andropogon, Exotheca, Hyparrhenia, Iseilema, Schizachyrium, and Themeda.



  1. ^ Sprengel, Curt (Kurt, Curtius) Polycarp Joachim 1815. Plantarum Minus Cognitarum Pugillus 2: 14
  2. ^ lectotype designated by N.L. Britton & P. Wilson, Bot. Porto Rico 1: 27 (1923)
  3. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  4. ^ Tropicos, Cymbopogon Spreng.
  5. ^ Soenarko, S. 1977. The genus Cymbopogon Sprengel (Gramineae). Reinwardtia 9(3): 225–375
  6. ^ Flora of China Vol. 22 Page 624 香茅属 xiang mao shu Cymbopogon Sprengel, Pl. Min. Cogn. Pug. 2: 14. 1815.
  7. ^ "Atlas of Living Australia, Cymbopogon Spreng., Lemon Grass". Archived from the original on 2016-04-06. Retrieved 2015-03-21.
  8. ^ Bor, N. L. 1960. Grass. Burma, Ceylon, India & Pakistan i–767. Pergamon Press, Oxford
  9. ^ a b Khalifah, Ayman M.; Abdalla, Sara A.; Dosoky, Waleed M.; Shehata, Mohamed G.; Khalifah, Mohamed M. (2021-12-01). "Utilization of lemongrass essential oil supplementation on growth performance, meat quality, blood traits and caecum microflora of growing quails". Annals of Agricultural Sciences. 66 (2): 169–175. doi:10.1016/j.aoas.2021.12.001. ISSN 0570-1783. S2CID 245322872.
  10. ^ Cymbopogon caesius South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), PlantZAfrica
  11. ^ Do, Dinh Nhat; Nguyen, Dinh Phuc; Phung, Viet-Duc; Le, Xuan-Tien; Le, Tuan Minh; Do, Van Manh; Minh, Bui Quang; Luu, Xuan Cuong (2021-03-29). "Fractionating of Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) Essential Oil by Vacuum Fractional Distillation". Processes. 9 (4): 593. doi:10.3390/pr9040593. ISSN 2227-9717.
  12. ^ de Souza, Matheus Chiaradia; Vieira, Ana Júlia; Beserra, Fernando Pereira; Pellizzon, Cláudia Helena; Nóbrega, Rafael Henrique; Rozza, Ariane Leite (2019-09-04). "Gastroprotective effect of limonene in rats: Influence on oxidative stress, inflammation and gene expression". Phytomedicine. 53: 37–42. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2018.09.027. PMID 30668410. S2CID 58949851.
  13. ^ 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. PMID 17561386.
  14. ^ 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. PMID 2429120.
  15. ^ Bleasel N, Tate B, Rademaker M (August 2002). "Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to essential oils". Australas. J. Dermatol. 43 (3): 211–3. doi:10.1046/j.1440-0960.2002.00598.x. PMID 12121401. S2CID 46674505.
  16. ^ Greer, John Michael (2016). The New Encyclopedia of the Occult (First ed.). Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications. p. 500. ISBN 978-1-56718-336-8.
  17. ^ Yronwode, Catherine (2002). Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure. Forestville, California: Lucky Mojo Curio Company. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-9719612-0-3.


  • Akhila, Anand (2010). Essential Oil-Bearing Grasses - The genus Cymbopogon. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-8493-7857-7.