Friday, 21 May 2010

By S. Olanrewaju Disu .

A less glamorous agricultural product found in our Lagos Area Metropolitan Markets is the “Lemon Grass”. Botanically known as “Cymbopogon citratus, Family Gramineae”, the lemon grass is a tufted, perennial cultigen with monocotyledonous stems as high as 2 meters. However, despite its relative unpopularity in our markets, it is a beauty of a plant to behold in a tropical garden because it grows in tufts – i.e. a small cluster of elongated, flexible outgrowths attached or close together at the base and free at the opposite ends.

All parts of lemon grass are aromatic. This is due to the presence of an essential oil which is composed of citral,myrcene, dipentene and a trace of methylheptenone. The citral confers the lemon taste. Industrially, the oil is widely used in perfumery.

In this part of the world, lemon grass is often grown in gardens, along borders and it’s also planted on embarkments to check erosion. As mentioned above, the whole plant has a strong fragrant smell. In the rural parts of the State, lemon grass is often burnt in houses to dispel mosquitoes.

The medicinal importance of the plant cannot be over-looked. Locally, the leaves are boiled with lime to make a tea that’s used as a remedy for malaria fever. Also, the leaves are boiled with guava tree leaves and taken as medicine for cough. Culturally, there is an ethnic group in the State who invoke the grass in a magical incantation to kill an enemy!

(A)--- Lemon-grass plant growing in a garden in Lagos Area.

(B)--- Harvested lemon-grass leaves, both green and dry, on sale at “Ejigbo” Market.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the information about preventing Malaria Fever. You can also use the leaves of Noni for preventing and curing the fever. Consuming Noni Juice can improve the infection fighting system of the body and guard against several health ailments naturally without having any side affects.