Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cutting the Lemongrass

Cutting the Lemongrass…

Well, we Asians (especially South-east Asian) cannot live without this favourable species from the Poaceae family. It’s a perennial grass, can grow into a mini shrub and composed of hard-shelled leaves. It’s highly aromatic and a keen reminder of lemon, hence the name Lemongrass (Serai la beb…). There are a lot of varieties for the lemongrass, and the general species is the Eastern and Western Indian species. It is both a medicinal and culinary herb used in Asiatic society. It is used often in the treatment of fever, infectious disease, and skin problem.

Lemongrass, when used as a standard infusion (or mix with ginger), can treat flatulence, and stomach wind. It is useful in relieving abdominal wind and a good treatment for inflammation of the stomach. Some reported that it is useful in treating stomach ache.

Okay, now let’s us delve into the usage of lemongrass essential oil.

The oil of this very special plant is pale yellow in colour and has a very strong smell of lemon, often in a harsher quality. Lemongrass oil is antiseptic, antifungal, and bactericidal. It can be used in treating a myriad of diseases, including athlete’s foot, thrush, and feverish infections. It can be used in massage oil blend to tone and strengthen weak, tired, and fatigue muscle and often to a successful degree. It is warming in effect, so it is a good oil to use in massage to relieve rheumatism…

For the digestive systems, this oil can make wonders. When inhaled, it can be used as appetite stimulant, and to be use for soothing irritated and inflamed colon. It help in gastric infections as well.

Lemongrass oil is very beneficial to oily and acne prone skin. When added to facial steam, it can unclog blocked pores and prevent the skin from secreting so much oil.

Lemongrass can also be used to deter insects, and can be used for deodorising purpose.

As with all essential oils, dilute with an appropriate amount of base oil. Almond oil, jojoba oil, and any light vegetable oil are plausible.

Lemongrass Oil Soap

1 bar of unscented soap about 150g
Heatproof bowl
Measuring Jug
Pestle and Mortar
12 drops of lemongrass essential oil
6 drops of chamomile essential oil
Water from respectable brand (Spring Water, bottled water or the like…)

  1. Grate the unscented soap bar with the finest side of your grater into the heatproof bowl.

  2. Add water in the proportion of one part water to two part soap. (In the case of 150g, it is about 75ml of water).

  3. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir the mixture constantly. You will see it becoming stickier.

  4. Continue stirring until you find it hard to stir. When it becomes too hard to be stirred, remove the pan from the heat. This might take a while. Be patient!

  5. Replace the soap mixture into a pestle or mortar and add the essential oils. Mix very well.

  6. Wet your hands, take about half the soap and work into a bar shape and leave to dry on a wooden board. Alternatively, you can use a larger figurine mould used for baking but choose those with not much details as it tends to stick to the finer details of the mould, generally buy those mould that are heart shape or the like. If you used mould, put it in a hotter place to make it dry faster. The process of drying might take a few days.

  7. Voila, now you have a soap bar for controlling oil and toning your skin! It has a mild firming quality and this is good for loose and sagging skin.

  8. The book I copied from suggests we used papyrus leaves and raffia string to wrap the soap bar. I beg to differ, and as a true Asian, I would like to use materials we used to wrap dumplings (i.e. Bamboo leaves, and raffia). Plus, it imparts an almost greenish feel to the soap. Alternatively, one might used dried banana leaf as wrapping material as well.

Chamomile and Lemongrass Facial Steam

40g fresh or 15g dried Chamomile flowers
40g fresh Lemongrass (Finely chopped)
1 pint of boiling water
One larger Bowl

  1. Make an infusion of the herb in boiling water. Stand for 30 minutes and strain.

  2. Reheat the infusion and pour it in the large bowl.

  3. Drape a towel over you head and inhale for about 30 seconds or until you can’t stand the heat (whichever comes first). Repeat two or three times. Finally, end up with a good facial toner (An standard infusion with roses and mints is a good one)

1 comment:

~YM~ said...

lolz.. bamboo leaves? making ba zhang ah? haha..