Lemongrass is a tender perennial grass, which is native to India, but also cultivated in other tropical areas, particularly Brazil, Sri Lanka and parts of central Africa. After harvesting, grass is finely chopped to facilitate the extraction of the essential oil by steam distillation.
Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisine and also as a medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. It is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries.
Cymbopogon flexuosus is a fast-growing and lemon-scented grass, which may reach a height of 1 m. It has unusual, dark-green foliage and also produces seeds.
The main chemical component of lemongrass oil is citral.
Global demand for the product is consistent. This has led to a spurt in price compared to 2019. There is stable supply and price of the product from north and central India. The conventional variety found in south India has doubled in price over the past year. This is due to climate patterns. Climate change has altered the monsoon pattern and made it unpredictable. Constant rains hamper the harvest and distillation of lemongrass oil. It is either slow, or completely halts whenever it rains. This has lowered the yield. The monsoon has commenced in the south, and producers are waiting to see its impact on crop yield.
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