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.
There are mixed reports from India depending on whom you consult and how successful they are in obtaining raw material. It also depends on the quality required, as there is a growing gap between the better qualities and the standard qualities offered.
Overall the market seems finely balanced with no alarming shortage in supply, yet no surplus stocks to help ease prices. It seems that it is difficult for those involved with this oil to give any clear picture or provide long-term supply agreements, which casts some doubt as to how volatile the market is. For now, supplies remain thin and there’s growing concern that prices will rise during the early part of 2018.
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