A few days ago, I was at a friend’s place when her mother had this terrible fever which came up late in the night. Because it was late, we could not go to any drug store and the nearest clinic was quite far. Aunty Kenny who had come to spend the weekend with them just stepped outside and picked a few leaves. She washed the leaves together and squeezed out the liquid from them. Aunty Kenny poured this in a glass cup and gave mummy to drink. Mummy was reluctant at first, she said it was bitter. Aunty kenny said, “Those oyinbo drugs like chloro quine, are they not bitter?” After some minutes of persuasion, Mummy drank the liquid and went off to bed. The next morning, Mom was hale and hearty, and was back to her healthy self.
I always hear people talk about the wonders in herbs but this episode led me do some research. It is important to take note of the facts that most of our prescriptions and medications are derived from plants. Herbs are often times readily available, and cheap. Over the years, there has been so much debate as regards which is better: herbal or modern day medicine. Now, this series is not to make you choose herbal over modern-day medicine or vice-versa, rather it is to open your eyes to the many wonders embedded in common shrubs and plants around us and how to harness it for our benefit.
The first common shrub we will consider is the lemon grass. Lemon grass is a perennial plant with thin green leaves, it is known to have a lot of domestic and health benefits. Lemon grass has slight citrus flavor, it is often used as a drink (lemon grass tea), in soups and as food supplements. A lot of people particularly enjoy lemon grass tea, myself including. Lemon grass oil is another good derivative of lemon grass and is useful as a preservative. Some others plant it in their compound and gardens to ward off white flies; hence it can serve as a pesticide. The fresh leaves can be crushed into powdery form and rubbed on the body or sprinkled to act as a form of insect-repellent.
Achala as my Igbo grandma would call it is helpful in digestive problems and as a mild sedative. It is useful in the treatment of sprains and rheumatism. It has a soothing relief and is very relaxing even when used in the bath! Lemon grass contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial components; it is therefore used in fighting bacterial and yeast infections, in treating of injuries. Lemon grass contains vitamin A useful in maintenance of the eyes and skin, it helps clear up pimples, acne, and helps revitalize the skin by clearing the skin pores of unnecessary oil. It is very useful in relieving body pains.
It is very obvious that lemon grass is very rich in healthy components and beneficial around the home too. I am sure you would not look at it the same way again. I encourage you to make good use of the very numerous gifts Mother Nature has placed in Lemon grass. In the next article in this series, we will consider some other common useful shrubs and plants around us.