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West Indian lemongrass contains an array of electrolytes and minerals, including potassium, sodium, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. It also contains vitamin C, as well as the B vitamins niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and folate.3 It has high carbohydrate content, and its leaves are high in crude fiber.4
As a fast-growing plant, lemongrass can withstand harvest when plants are young without any adverse effects on growth. Although the green leafy portions are too tough to eat, you can snip them for tea or steep in broth. The juicy stalks are edible when mashed or minced, adding a fragrant lemon note to dishes. Use a hand trowel to remove individual stalks, roots and all, from the clump. Remove the tough outer leaves and prepare the tender white stalks by chopping, or freeze whole stalk pieces for later use.
Choose a large container for growing your lemongrass, at least 12 inches in diameter. This is both to accommodate a healthy root system, and to prevent top-heavy plants from tipping over. In cold climates, you can grow a single root division in a small container in a sunny windowsill to keep the plant going for next season's harvest.
Lemongrass has traditional uses as an antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anxiolytic, and antioxidant. Though there are few human clinical trials at the time of this writing (September 2017), modern pharmacological research has investigated lemongrass preparations for a variety of conditions and uses: to prevent platelet aggregation, treat malaria, alleviate digestive upset, and treat metabolic disorders including dyslipidemia, as well as colds, flu, and pneumonia.7 As is the case with most botanical materials, both in vitro and in vivo studies on lemongrass suggest that its reported therapeutic properties are most likely the result of a synergy of many compounds rather than a single compound.
5064 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg, PA
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Seth H. Richards
Locally owned and Family Operated Since 1932.
Dr. John Richards established Richards Tree Farm in Middle Smithfield, PA as an evergreen farm. Building on those roots, his Great Grandson, Seth Hastings Richards, has grown the farm into a full service Garden Center and Landscape installation business for the past 25 years. The farm specializes in Organic Gardening, Edible, Native, and Unique plants.