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Extraction and Characterization of Lemongrass Oil (Cympopogon Citratus)

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1.0 Introduction

Lemon grass (Cymbopogon Citratus ) is an aromatic plant which grows in many part of tropical and sub- tropical south east Asia and Africa, cymbopogon citratus is a member of sub family poaceae of the grammae and it belongs to the and ropogonae. Most of the species of lemongrass are nature to South Asia, south- east and Australia. Cymbopogon citratus is called the west Indian lemongrass because it has it’s origin in the ma,aysian region. Related species is cymbopogon flexuosus called the East Indian lemongrass or cochin grass, it has the origin in ludo- Burma region and is native to Indian and Thailand. Both the species are today cultivated throughout tropical Asia cymbopogon citratus is usually found in the north region in Nigeria, it can also be found in the north region in Nigeria, it can also be found in Kaduna south (Hicost) ( margare H. L. and Yickey, Bi 1979).

Lemongrass is a plant that contains 1 to 3% essential oil on a dry basis (Carlson, 2001). The chemical composition of lemongrass essential oil very widely as a function of genetic diversity, habitat and agronomic treatment of the culture (ferrua et al.,1994). Lemongrass essential oil is characterized by a high content of citral which is used as a raw material for the production of vitamin A and beta- carotene (Ferrua, 1994).

In food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, the extraction of essential oils from natural sources with supercritical fluids (st) is a promising alternative to conventional processes, such as solvent extraction (Rodrigues et al.,2005). This interest is due to the possibility of obtaining solvent free extracts and the low temperature employed, which is an attractive way to preserve the quality of thermo- sensitive products (Zancan et al., 2002).

Carbon dioxide is an appropriate solvent entail oil extraction from natural products, since it is readily available, non- toxic and non- inflammable, and has a low reactivity (Mohammed, 1997). It is well known that Sf properties can be tuned by manipulation of temperature and pressure, enabling the obtainment of essential oils, with different chemical composition. Some works can be found in the literature regarding the use of supernatural fluids for fractionation of citratus essential oil (Benvenut et al. 2001). An alternative is to employ molecular sieves as adsorbents to concentrates the oil in some compounds or classes of compounds (Reverchon, 1997).

Cymbopogon citratus belong to the grammar family and it therefore related to the grain crops, it requires a warm climate with plenty of sunshine. To the French it is citronelle, Portuguese citronella, but in Nigeria, the Edos calls it Eti, Efik Lkon Eti, Hausa Tsaur, Ibibio Myoyaka Makara, Igbo (Owerri) Achara Ehi, and Yorubo Kooko Oba.

1.1 General Features of the Plants

Lemongrass is a tall, perennial hedge throwing ups dense fascicles from a short rhizone leaves are long, gloucous, green, linear tapering upwards and along the margins (Margerett, L and Yickey, B 1979).

Physical Properties of the Oil

Lemongrass oil is a fresh smelling oil, the oil counters the problem of revitalizing a tired body and mind long with keeping the family pets free of flea, and ticks. Interestingly, it has a lemony and sweet smelt, (Tyer, E. Brody, R. 1981).

Lemongrass is a mobile pate yellow liquid with strong lemon odour and it’s commercial material is a mixture of alpha and beta isomers. Citral is the principal components of cymbogon citratus and can be isolated by soxhlet extractor (Cristian, et al., 1980).

Citral has a specific grauity of 0.857-0.889 at 250cand refractive ludex of 1. 44560 at 200c.

It is a great overall tonic for the body and uervous system, lemon grass oil is known as ‘chromanapotlus” in India, it is also referred to as “Indian verbena “ or Indian Melissa oil” and it is used in agurvedik medicines to help bring down fevers and treat infectious diseases (Hawley, 1981).

Lemongrass oil is a valuable ingredient oil in perfumes and citrus type soaps and is also an insect deterrent the oil btends particularly well with citrus oil including cederwood. Juniper berry, orange and tea tree, (Hawley, 1981).


Uses of Lemongrass Oil

The lemongrass oil has a lot of uses either alone or as a combination with others substance such as in the following.

  1. Relaxes Muscles:- Then most important health benefit of lemongrass oil is it’s ability to calm and relax the muscles. It’s analgesic and sedative properties are extremely useful for pain relief from ailments like headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle strains. It provide relief from stress. (Hawley, 1981).
  2. Depression:- It’s diuretic property is useful in relieving symptoms related to depression anxiety and panic attacks imparted by it’s antidepressant properties.

iii. Edema:- It’s diuretic property is useful in curing edema and it’s carminative properties help relieve gas acidity (Hawley 1981).

  1. Fever:- Lemon grass oil has antipgretic properties that helps lower down temperature during hight fever and also eliminate fever completely. It’s febrifuge properties in crease perspiration and eliminates fever (Hardling, J. 2005).
  2. Digestion:- Consumption of lemon grass oil improves digestion and eases bowel movements in cases of constipation. It also help in easy digestion and absorption of fats (Christian D.G 1980).
  3. Infections:- The fungicidal, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of lemongrass oil make it beneficial in the prevention and cure of fungal as well as bacterial infection, both internal and external (Hawley 1981).

vii. Clotting of Blood:- Lemongrass oil, if applied to injuries that bleed profusely has the ability to speed up the process of blood clotting and prevent excessive loss of blood. The astringent properties impart this life saving quality to lemongrass oil (Hardling, J. 1980).

viii. Nerve Tonic:- Lemongrass oil can help cure many nervous system related disorders like parkinson’s disease by strengthening the nerve and the immune system as well (Hawley, 1981).


  1. Anti- cancer:- Research indicates that lemongrass oil can cause programmed death in cancerous cells without harming the useful cells (Christian, D.G. 1980) =.
  2. Skin Care:– Uses of lemongrass oil on the skin can benefit the skin a great deal its anti- bacterial, astringent and antiseptic, properties prevent and cure skin infection, prevent acne breakout, and soothe broken or inflamed skin. It is used as an ingredient in many skin care products like soaps, lotions perfumes and deodorants. It is also known to prevent excessive sweating and body odour. It also find use as important aroma therapy oil and helps eliminate cellulite (Hawley 1981).


  1. Lemongrass oil is used as an household cleaning and deodorizing purposes. It is also an effective mosquito repellant food preservative (Hawley, 1981).



To extract oil from lemongrass and analysed it using FTIR


To know the value of the oil extracted

To know the component present in the oil extracted

To know the functional groups of the component present in the oil extracted.


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