A member of the gramniae family botanically known as Cymbopogon Citratus or Cymbopogon Flexuosus, lemon grass is a self seeding perennial grass native to India and South Eastern Asia. The long, fragrant, smooth-edged leaves that characterize it resemble reeds, and grow to a height of about one meter.
Chefs use the middle and most tender part of fresh lemon grass leaves to spice up the flavour of soups, savoury dishes and especially sauces for meat and fish entrees. In its dry form this herb is quite popular as a base for holistic teas and aromatic brews. Fragrant essential oils extracted from the leaf ends and widely used to make insecticides, preservatives, scents and cosmetics (i.e. deodorants, perfumes, incense).
The intense fragrance of this herb translates into a rather bitter taste. Besides being famous for its refreshing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects, lemon grass is credited with preserving ancient Indian manuscripts from humidity and decay.
Home growing technique
Place a stem in water and wait about 10 days for the roots to develop, then place it in a pot or plant it in your garden. Keep in mind that just like lemon trees, lemon grass is sensitive to low temperatures and frost.