Medicinal plant enchants health buffs

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Sunday, January 29, 2012


THE discovery of various medicinal plants contributes a lot to the health of the community. These medicinal plants serve as alternatives to lessen, avoid and cure any kind of diseases.

One of these is Balanoy, which is an Ilocano term for a well-known essential oil -- Lemongrass oil, which has a lemony, sweet smell and is dark yellow to amber and reddish in color with watery viscosity.

The main chemical components of lemongrass oil are myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol, geraniol, neral and traces of limonene and citral.

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Lemongrass essential oil is extracted from organically grown Cymbopogon citrates (for West Indian) and Cymbopogon flexuosus (East Indian). It is also extracted from the fresh dried leaves through team distillation.

It is a perennial fast growing aromatic grass, growing about one meter high with long, thin leaves and originally was growing wild in India. It produces a network of roots and rootlets, which rapidly exhaust the soil.

It is known in India as choomana poolu and is referred to as Indian Melissa oil. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help bring down fevers and treat infectious illness. It is a valuable ingredient in perfumes and citrus – type soaps and is an insect deterrent.

In the Cordillera region, particularly in the province of Benguet, lemongrass is one of the traditional backyard plant used as herbal medicinal tea, which the community called as Belnoy or Bhelnoy.

Lemongrass processing in Benguet is a pilot project of Kabayan Women’s and Farmer’s Development Association Inc., in partnership with U Lagi and Grassroots Development Association Inc., Rangtay sa Pagrang–ay Inc. and the Department of Science and Technology–CAR, Department of Trade and Industry–CAR, Department of Agriculture–CAR, local government of Kabayan and the Provincial Government of Benguet.

The therapeutic properties of lemongrass oil are analgesic, anti–depressant, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, galactagogue, insecticidal, nervine, nervous system sedative and tonic.

Lemongrass oil revitalizes the body and relieves the symptoms of jetlag, clears headache and helps to combat nervous exhaustion and stress–related conditions.

It is great overall tonic for the body and it boosts the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a boon when recovering from illness, as it also stimulates glandular secretions.

Moreover, lemongrass is useful in respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever. It also helps in the prevention of further spread of a certain disease. The lemongrass is also helpful with colitis, indigestion and gastroenteritis.

It helps tone the muscles and tissue, and relieves muscle pain by making muscle suppler. It corrects poor circulation. These are among numerous therapeutic benefits of lemongrass.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 30, 2012.

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