Lemon grass is an essential ingredient in many Southeast Asian dishes with its unmistakable fresh, lemony taste. Native to Sri Lanka, it is a fast-growing perennial. It has long, strap-like green leaves and can grow over a metre tall.
Lemon grass has calming, sedative and antidepressant properties and reduces fevers and soothes stomach cramps. The essential oil is an antiseptic and is effective against fungal and bacterial infections. Lemon grass contains citronellal, geraniol and alpha-pinene which have effective insect repelling qualities.