Lemon Grass prompt cancer cells to commit suicide


Fresh lemon grass fields in Israel become Mecca for cancer patients
by Allison Kaplan Sommer – April 02, 2006

A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough citral to prompt cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube.

Israeli researchers find way to make cancer cells self-destruct – Ben Gurion University

At first, Benny Zabidov, an Israeli agriculturalist who grows greenhouses full of lush spices on a pastoral farm in Kfar Yedidya in the Sharon region, couldn’t understand why so many cancer patients from around the country were showing up on his doorstep asking for fresh lemon grass. It turned out that their doctors had sent them.

‘They had been told to drink eight glasses of hot water with fresh lemon grass steeped in it on the days that they went for their radiation and chemotherapy treatments ,’ Zabidov told ISRAEL21c. ‘And this is the place you go to in Israel for fresh lemon grass.’

It all began when researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev discovered last year that the lemon aroma in herbs like lemon grass kills cancer cells in vitro, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

The research team was led by Dr. Rivka Ofir and Prof. Yakov Weinstein incumbent of the Albert Katz Chair in Cell-Differentiatio n and Malignant Diseases, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at BGU. Citral is the key component that gives the lemony aroma and taste in several herbal plants such as lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Melissa (Melissa officinalis) and verbena (Verbena officinalis.)

According to Ofir, the study found that Citral causes cancer cells to ‘commit suicide: using apoptosis, a mechanism called programmed cell death.’ A drink with as little as one gram of lemon grass contains enough Citral to prompt the cancer cells to commit suicide in the test tube. The BGU investigators checked the influence of the Citral on cancerous cells by adding them to both cancerous cells and normal cells that were grown in a petri dish. The quantity added in the concentrate was equivalent to the amount contained in a cup of regular tea using one gram of lemon herbs in hot water. While the Citral killed the cancerous cells, the normal cells remained unharmed. The findings were published in the scientific journal *Planta Medica* , which highlights research on alternative and herbal remedies. Shortly afterwards, the discovery was featured in the popular Israeli press.

Why does it work? Nobody knows for certain, but the BGU scientists have a theory.

In each cell in our body, there is a genetic program which causes programmed cell death. When something goes wrong, the cells divide with no control and become cancer cells. In normal cells, when the cell discovers that the control system is not operating correctly for example, when it recognizes that a cell contains faulty genetic material following cell division – it triggers cell death, ‘ explains Weinstein. ‘This research may explain the medical benefit of these herbs.’ The success of their research led them to the conclusion that herbs containing Citral may be consumed as a preventative measure against certain cancerous cells.

As they learned of the BGU findings in the press, many physicians in Israel began to believe that while the research certainly needs to be explored further. In the meantime it would be advisable for their patients, who were looking for any possible tool to fight their condition, to try to harness the cancer-destroying properties of Citral.

That’s why Zabidov’s farm – the only major grower of fresh lemon grass in Israel – has become a pilgrimage destination for these patients. Luckily, they found themselves in sympathetic hands. Zabidov greets visitors with a large kettle of aromatic lemon grass tea, a plate of cookies, and a supportive attitude.

‘My father died of cancer, and my wife’s sister died young because of cancer,’ said Zabidov. ‘So I understand what they are dealing with. And I may not know anything about medicine, but I’m a good listener. And so they tell me about their expensive painful treatments and what they’ve been through. I would never tell them to stop being treated, but it’s great that they are exploring alternatives and drinking the lemon grass tea as well.’

Zabidov knew from a young age that agriculture was his calling. At age 14, he enrolled in the Kfar Hayarok Agricultural high school. After his army service, he joined an idealistic group, which headed south, in the Arava desert region, to found a new moshav (agricultural settlement) called Tsofar. ‘We were very successful; we raised fruits and vegetables, and,’ he notes with a smile, ‘We raised some very nice children.’

On a trip to Europe in the mid-80s, he began to become interested in herbs. Israel, at the time, was nothing like the trend-conscious cuisine-oriented country it is today, and the only spices being grown commercially were basics like parsley, dill, and coriander. Wandering in the Paris market, looking at the variety of herbs and spices, Zabidov realized that there was a great export potential in this niche. He brought samples back home with him, ‘which was technically illegal,’ he says with a guilty smile, to see how they would grow in his desert greenhouses. Soon, he was growing basil, oregano, tarragon, chives, sage, marjoram and melissa, and mint just to name a few. His business began to outgrow his desert facilities, and so he decided to move north, settling in the moshav of Kfar Yedidya, an hour and a half north of Tel Aviv. He is now selling ‘several hundred kilos’ of lemon grass per week, and has signed with a distributor to package and put it in health food stores. Zabidov has taken it upon himself to learn more about the properties of Citral, and help his customers learn more, and has invited medical experts to his farm to give lectures about how the Citral works and why.

He also felt a responsibility to know what to tell his customers about its use. ‘When I realized what was happening, I picked up the phone and called Dr. Weinstein at Ben-Gurion University, because these people were asking me exactly the best way to consume the Citral. He said to put the loose grass in hot water, and drink about eight glasses each day.’ Zabidov is pleased by the findings, not simply because it means business for his farm, but because it might influence his own health. Even before the news of its benefits was demonstrated, he and his family had been drinking lemon grass in hot water for years, ‘just because it tastes good.’

Simon Sim

PS. Received the above from one of our student, Yen. Sharing with all our students. Edited and re-paragraphed for your consumption.

I am going to drink lemon grass water every day. In my condo, there is a bush of lemon grass. But if this work, definitely, the Bitter Weeds and the Dragon Crossing River should also work.

A bitter leaf a day keeps Cancer away.

56 Responses to “Lemon Grass prompt cancer cells to commit suicide”

  1. RnM Says:

    Yes very interesting read but it’s the same for tumeric and other types
    of ginger too.

    Anyway I will continue to grow more of my ‘organic’ lemon grass for
    friends. I don’t use insecticides and only organic fertilisers for my plants.

  2. grumpy scientist Says:

    Very interesting, although the original study is really misrepresented by this article. It reported that lemon aroma kills cancerous cells in a test tube, which is a great finding. The authors themselves don’t recommend drinking lemongrass drinks. We don’t know whether citral crosses into the bloodstream unaltered when drunk. If it did, it certainly would not be at nearly as high a dose as in this study, where they added 1g lemongrass preparation to a few ml of cell culture. Scale that dose up for a human – 8 litres of blood – that’s a lot of lemongrass. You’d have to inject your tumour or something! Rather more extreme than just a lemon drink. Journalism like this is very misleading to desperate people with cancer and it really misrepresents the science. I’m very passionate about new therapies and trying new things, but suggesting this stuff works – on the evidence we have – is cruel to those who are the most desperate. Please be careful what you believe and ask your doctor if you’re not sure.

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      My friend from the Philippines survived stage 3 cancer and has been free from blood pressure medication simply by taking lemon grass. she is now producing lemon grass extract for other patients at very very low cost.

      Many doctors and scientists refuse to believe simply because this can not be patented because lemon grass is from Nature and can be taken for free if we grow it in our pots or back yards.

      we are slowly going back to Nature where medication is free. Take Neem tree for example, it is called a miracle tree and we have proven its miraculous healing just a few weeks ago. let us not be too skeptic to a point we will refuse. the earth is full of cures, all we need is to trust the Creator all is meant for our good.

      • jazz Says:

        hi hanna, i am this is jaz, would like to know if your friends recovered from cancer just drinking lemon grass and no other alternatives.

  3. Mike Saddik Says:

    Does dried lemongrass has the same effect as fresh lemongrass when consumed immersed in hot water.

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      yes, you only need to boil it a little longer. Fresh leaves can be taken in just after 3 minutes of boiling. dried you need to boil for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Yondi Says:

    Not entirely sure whether dried lemongrass has same effect as fresh ones. My guess is no. You will notice that the aroma is a lot less. Some active ingredients may be reduced through drying. Also, it depends on whether high-heat drying was used. If so, more precious nutrients may be lost.

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      when drying, make sure you “air dried” it. (dry leaves inside the home not sun dried.)

  5. michael peña Says:

    what you are doing is a great help for humanity especially to those who are suffering poor people. to a health concios like me, it’s very helpful. God bless

  6. jonathan chamberlain Says:

    I presume lemon grass essential oil – which is a very good mosquito repellant – would have the same effects?

  7. Simmons Says:

    This is very interesting. It is not the first time i have heard this about lemon grass. If anyone that has used lemon grass and has a testimonial let me know.

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      Here in the Philippines we distill lemon grass commercially and we call it hydrosol, which is an additive to beverages, or put in a spray bottle and used as breath freshener which you can swallow and benefit from its many health benefits if ingested. it cures mouth sores and toothaches so quickly it is almost miraculous. My son who is a Nurse did not believe it until one night he had a terrible toothache and we had no pain relievers available he was forced to drop some of it in his mouth and let it stay for a few minutes. He run to my room and told me it really worked. We also have a preparation which works as deodorant (foot spray and under arm spray) which is very very safe.. it is not an anti perspirant. I have been using it and selling it for more than 4 years now.

  8. Yondi Says:

    Essential oil may not have same effect, becos when the activie ingredients are distilled to oil form… likely that the fat-soluble ingredients are present more…

    I really dont know enough to comment on its effects because not sure scientific support is available for that.

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  10. Lilis Says:

    How many lemon grass should put in to the one glass of hot water

  11. try-it Says:

    Try one first to see if it suits you. Happy trying : )

  12. teddseven Says:

    For ppl who are gonna be doin chemo (2 weeks before chemo):
    24 stakes of lemongrass + 2.4 litres of water boil till 8 cups.
    Drink 8 cups daily for two weeks.

    For normal ppl. Same formula but drink 2-3 cups daily..

  13. Jim Asztalos Says:

    Would frozen lemon grass have the same effects when thawed out?

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      yes… freezing it will only preserve the freshness… i have a suggestion. if you have a lot of leaves, cut them into like 4 inches and boil for 10 minutes with just enough water to submerge the leaves. let cool and freeze the concoction in ice cube trays. whenever you want a lemon grass tea, just pop 1 or 2 cubes in regular water and presto you have a lemon grass tea! same is true for “pandan” leaves (search google what Pandan is) which is good for the kidneys.

  14. David4 Says:

    ^ I’m also wondering something similar, if I bought dry lemongrass and made a tea, would that work? The oils would be less, but it should still work right? All I have ever heard was fresh lemongrass.

  15. ayaz Says:

    i am Colo rectal cancer patient and some of the cancer has been migrated to my lever they are giving me very strong chemo therapy if you will send me that lemon grass tea along with the recipe that will be great help towards cancer as i red in the above article my name is bush my address is 2352 crab apple ct aurora ill 60503

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      Hi! how are you? am from the Philippines and i would like to help. email me if you are still interested and i will connect you to the manufacturer who may be able to send you what you need.

  16. spore Says:

    More info can be obtained from this website for natural healing :
    http://www.rethinkingcancer.org ( recipes etc )

    Wishing you a smooth recovery.

    Take good care !

  17. Sally Says:

    This is wonderful…

  18. Rad Says:

    Have any studies been done on other forms of “lemon” such as regular lemon juice or lemon oil ?

    • Hannah Drazen Says:

      yes, as a matter of fact the oil is being used for massage therapy and aroma therapy here in the Philippines. it is also used to make a natural insect repellent, deodorant and the distilled water is what we use for our tea.

  19. Lam Says:

    Info from Internet : Scientific studies indicate that citrus (including lemon) contains compounds that may indeed be beneficial in preventing or combating some types of cancer.

  20. HELEN LEE Says:

    I am very excited about this finding. I have lemon grass in my
    yard. Definitely I will use it and recommend it to my friends.

  21. Julie Yap Says:

    Is it for all kind of cancer?

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  23. maloop singh Says:

    i m maloop singh, from jammu & kashmir (India), i have lemongrass tea, my contact is 9697515010 – email. maloopsingh@yahoo.com

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