What time is "tea time"?
On long international flights, the flight attendants walks by, first with coffee, then with the tea. Which drink is more popular on the planet, coffee or tea, is up for debate.
Drinking tea is romantized throughout the world, but there is something magical about lemongrass tea, or "citronelle" in French West Africa.
Lemongrass tea, and the lemongrass plant, smells wonderful. If you happen upon this tea plant, it is advisable to take a handful, wring it in your hands and smell. It is heavenly sweet, a gentile citron smell, something exotic. You will not desire to wash it off, and there no need: Citronella is one of the most common anti-mosquito repellants on the planet.
Kara, Togo, Market – Learning About Lemongrass Tea
Yesterday, I went on a quest. My goal was to find the farmers who grow this in Kara, Togo. Therefore, first I went to the market, hoping to say lemongrass tea correctly in French. After a few attempts, I was pointed at the “citronelle.”
However, I received a few lectures, but the most interesting one was about "palu," "palud" or "paludisme" in French, which we call "malaria" in English. One gentleman went into a French monologue about how the locals drink lemongrass tea to stop malaria. Hmm, my first thought was that this is highly dangerous.
(The lady in the photo is carring various home remedies for malaria, and she most likely has some lemongrass tea in one of the bottles.)
Home remedies abound for malaria, and maybe they work, or maybe they don’t. Generally, their big selling point is price: Lemongrass tea would be 50 times cheaper than paying for pharmacy serum or pills. Malaria, or "the fever," is blamed for all headaches, pains and drowsiness, and people self-medicate, which means that lemongrass tea would work just fine. Often people try to give me tea when I am sick, so I am hardly be suprised that people in Kara do the same with lemongrass tea.
After my first contemptuous feelings, it occurred to me that I am trying to purchase lemongrass tea, but not really. I want citronella, the essential oils that can be extracted from the leaves of the lemongrass. And, what do I want it for? I want to rub it all over my body, to use it as a mosquito repellant, or better yet, I want to grow planters full of lemongrass to make the mosquitoes leave me in peace.
Lemongrass Tea Mosquito Repellant?
And, what happens if we drink lemongrass tea daily? Would the citronella start coming out our skin and serve as a natural way to repel mosquitoes?
10 Benefits of Lemongrass Tea
There are many benefits to drinking Lemongrass Tea, and as normal with most home remedies, maybe the placebo effect is rigorously enforced.
1. "Mexican folk medicine holds that the benefits of lemongrass tea include: aiding digestion, calming nervous disorders and helping in the treatment of high blood pressure." – Motherearthnews.com
2. "Cancer Fighting, In Israel, a research team was led by Dr. Rivka Ofir and Prof. Yakov Weinstein, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, to study whether lemongrass may have cancer-fighting potential. According to the Alternative Remedies website, these researchers from Ben Gurion University discovered in 2006 that the component that produces the lemon aroma in herbs like lemongrass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. The study found that citral, the aromatic substance found in lemongrass, causes cancer cells to essentially commit suicide using a mechanism called programmed cell death. The researchers noted that a drink with as little as one gram of lemongrass appears to have the necessary amount of citral needed to prompt the cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube." –
3. "As an antifungal and antibacterial, lemongrass inhibits bacteria and yeast growth." – Healthers.org
4. "Detoxification Citralife lemongrass herb contains citral that detoxifies the body by increasing the quantity and frequency of urination. This helps to clean the kidney, liver, pancreas, digestive tract, bladder etc and removes unwanted toxic substances through the urine." – Lemongrassherbal.com
5. "It also aids in the relief of constipation, keeping the bowels working properly and removing toxins to keep the body healthy and energetic. Acting as a natural diuretic it is known to keep the kidneys and bladder working properly." – Finest-herbal-tea.com
6. "Drinking a cup of hot lemongrass tea helps in easing menstrual cramps and is good as an anti-acne tonic as well." – Cosmopolitancurrymania.com
7. "Beautiful Skin Lemongrass is a pillar in the cosmetics industry. Benefits include reducing acne and serves as a refresher. Lemongrass oil can also be massaged into the entire body to give effect to warm up." – Letsgohealthy.com
8. Coping with Stress: "Lemongrass Tea helps to buffer acids from stress." – Articlesofhealth
9. Reduce Cholesterol "Researchers have successfully used fresh leaves of lemon grass and dried banana pulp to treat hypercholesterolaemia." – Assatashakur.org
10. Stopping Mosquitoes Bites?
Here is the unresolved benefit: Does drinking lemongrass tea stop mosquito bites? Does the citronella enter into the blood and slowly build up in the skin sufficiently to repel mosquitoes?
What time is tea time? Read here: HighTeaHistory.htm.
Andy Lee Graham in Kara, Tog,o working to eradicate malaria, 2013