Lemongrass (Cymbopogon spp.) Dosing and Safety

safety

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lemongrass, its constituents, or any member of the Poaceae family. Lemongrass and other essential oils, both applied on the skin and taken as a tea, may cause allergic contact skin reactions.

Side Effects and Warnings

A common side effect of lemongrass oil is rash. Lemongrass may also cause irritation and burning if not properly diluted when used on the skin.
Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Lemongrass may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs or herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Lemongrass may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Use cautiously in patients using diuretics, anticonvulsants, or agents processed by the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system.
Use cautiously in patients with liver conditions. Lemongrass may cause slight increases in liver function tests, particularly bilirubin, or an increase in pancreatic tests, particularly amylase.
Avoid in patients who are allergic to lemongrass, its constituents, or any member of the Poaceae family.
Avoid in patients who are pregnant.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Lemongrass is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding, due to lack of sufficient human data. Early scientific evidence is conflicting. Some chemical compounds found in lemongrass (beta-myrcene) may cause decreased birth weight, increased perinatal mortality, and delay in development when taken at high doses. Also, high doses caused fetal abnormalities in animal studies. However, an infusion of lemongrass leaves did not show any toxic or harmful effects. More research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose of lemongrass for adults. Traditionally, 1-2 teaspoons of lemongrass in six ounces of boiling water has been taken by mouth as a tea. Two grams of lemongrass herb, cut and powdered into one cup of boiling water, has also been taken by mouth. For high cholesterol, 140 milligrams of lemongrass oil in a capsule once a day for 90 days has been taken by mouth with no significant benefit. For sedation, lemongrass tea was taken by mouth with no significant benefit. For thrush, half a packet (12.5 milliliters) of dried lemongrass was used to make an infusion with 500 milliliters of boiling water. The infusion was boiled for 10 minutes and cooled. For the first treatment, patients drank 125 milliliters of lemongrass infusion and then drank 250 milliliters twice a day for a total of 10 days (a fresh infusion was made every 24 hours).

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose of lemongrass for children.

interactions

Interactions with Drugs

Lemongrass oil may increase absorption of drugs through the skin.
Lemongrass may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Lemongrass may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other drugs that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect the heart, as this combination may alter the effects of the drug or cause unwanted side effects.
Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare provider. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Lemongrass may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be altered in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Individuals using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Lemongrass may also interact with analgesics (pain reducers), antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antimalarials (drugs used for malaria), antivirals, cholesterol-lowering agents, cholinesterase inhibitors (drugs that inhibit the enzyme cholinesterase), diuretics (drugs that increase urination), and vasodilators (drugs that widen blood vessels).

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Lemongrass oil may increase absorption of herbs and supplements through the skin.
Lemongrass may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Lemongrass may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Lemongrass may lower blood pressure and should be used cautiously with other herbs and supplements that alter blood pressure. Also, caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that affect the heart, as this combination may alter the effects of the herb or cause unwanted side effects.
Lemongrass may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
Lemongrass may also interact with analgesics (pain reducers), antibacterials, anticonvulsants, antifungals, anti-inflammatories, antimalarials (drugs used for malaria), antioxidants, antivirals, chitosan, cholesterol-lowering agents, cholinesterase inhibitors (drugs that inhibit the enzyme cholinesterase), diuretics (drugs that increase urination), and vasodilators (drugs that widen blood vessels).