Sometime ago Pastora Leng asked me if she could visit our house just so that we can make our “kumustahan”. Me and my family prepared a very simple meal that day and prepared our usual Lemon Grass Juice. During our conversation we told her of the many benefits one can get in drinking the Lemon Grass Juice. It’s very economical (one can plant Tanglad in his/her backyard or even in a pot) and it easily grows needing only a little attention. We were surprised that Pastora Leng actually liked our lemon grass juice. She even suggested making an article about the benefits of drinking this amazing herb to be included in the monthly newsletter of the church. As Christians we are aware that our body is a temple of Christ and we should be responsible in taking good care of it. We can serve Christ more if we are well and healthy. I hope that thru this article, you will learn more about Tanglad (Lemon Grass).
LEMON GRASS or the local TANGLAD (scientific name: Cymbopogon ciatrus) is one of those wondrous herbs that one can always associate with Asian cooking. Homegrown meal enthusiasts always have this tropical grass at hand for its aromatic citrus flavor with a trace of ginger. Few people know that its other popular name is citronella - the common scent you usually find in candles, perfumes and soaps.
Citronella is known for its calming effect that relieves insomnia or stress. It is also considered as a mild insect repellant. But more than scent, tanglad or lemon grass provides a lot of health benefits. Studies have shown that the lemon grass has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Mixed with pepper, it's a home therapy for menstrual troubles and nausea. Drank as tea, it is an effective diuretic. When it comes to pets, citronella is used to neutralize excessive barking of dogs. Since dogs hate citronella, it is sprayed to dogs to prevent them from barking or just to lessen the behavior.
The Lemon grass is a good cleanser that helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract. It cuts down uric acid, cholesterol, excess fats and other toxins in the body while stimulating digestion, blood circulation, and lactation. It also alleviates indigestion and gastroenteritis. It is said that lemon grass also helps improve the skin by reducing acne and pimples and acts as a muscle and tissue toner. Also, it can reduce blood pressure. Just make a concoction by boiling some lemon grass leaves, let it cool for a while and drink the liquid.
A recent study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) claims that every 100g of edible tanglad when boiled can contain up to 24.205 micrograms of beta-carotene the anti-oxidant that scientists believe can help prevent cancer.
With these medical benefits one can get from Tanglad let me share to you what me and my family are enjoying in making a Tanglad juice/tea. This is how it is prepared:
Lemon Grass Iced Tea- 12 servings
For this refreshing drink, choose stalks of lemon grass that are plump and firm, with no signs of drying or bitterness.
12 to 18 2-inch pieces lemon grass (depending on how fresh the stalks are)
3 3/4 quarts boiling water (15 cups)
12 lemon slices, plus more for garnish (from 2 to 3 medium lemons)
5 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Ice, for serving (optional)
Prepare the lemon grass by removing and discarding the first two tough outer layers. Slice thinly into rings. Put the lemon grass in a heatproof pitcher and cover with the boiling water. Add the lemon slices and cover. Allow to infuse and let cool to room temperature. Strain the tea, discarding the solids. Add the honey to taste. Refrigerate the tea until well chilled.
To serve, pour the tea into glasses and add ice, if desired. Garnish with extra slices of lemon.
Lemon Grass Iced Tea, Adapted from "The Produce Bible," by Leanne Kitchen (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007).
Jasper De Ocampo is an officer of the Christian Young Adults Fellowship and is a nurse by profession. He’s currently connected with a group of professionals engaged in providing First Aid and Safety training in various places and establishments.