Neral is always spoken of in reference with citral which is an oil synthesized from lemon myrtle, Ocimum gratissimum, Lindera citriodora, Calypranthes parriculata, Litsea cubeba, lemongrass, Litsea citrata, petitgrain, lemon tea-tree, lime, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon ironbark, lemon and orange.

Neral also known as citral B is an isomer of citral or lemonal, which is a mixture of terpenoids.

The compounds from citral generally have a pleasant smell and Neral has an odor that is sweet and less concentrated. Due to this effect, Neral like other citral compounds is used in perfumery, and food industry.

They also have antimicrobial and pheromonal properties and find their use in production of therapeutic drugs, and pesticides. Citral compound have also been identified for their allergen effects, to reduce the same and exploit their positive properties, citral compounds are mixed with de-sensitizing agents.

Therapeutic uses of Neral:

Neral, a constituent of lemongrass has been studied to treat conditions related to nervous disorders, menstrual problems, stomach problems, arthritis, fever and cancer as well. These effects were noticed right from the ancient times and have been in use in the Chinese cultures for ages.

When used externally the plant extract can be used to increase blood flow, treat join pains, tendinitis, athlete’s foot, sprain and cuts. In most parts of the world, Lemon grass is used to make citrus drinks that act as refreshing health boosters.

Neral exhibit powerful antibacterial effect on gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, concludes a 2011 study on the Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass).

Carcinogenic properties of Neral in Citral:

A study was conducted to understand the effects of citral in the treatment of cancer seen in rats. The study was carried out over a period of two years and the results proved positive with the occurrence of malignant lymphoma seen in the rat.

Neral in Lemon Grass as a Caspase-3 Introducer: 

The study was conducted to understand the effects of citral as a carcinogen and it’s mode of action. It identified the effects of Neral in lemon grass as a caspase-3 Introducer in cancer cells, and the tests proved positive.

Antimicrobial properties of Neral in Lemon Grass:

The study was conducted on an extract from lemongrass. Generally, the tea made from lemon grass is used worldwide for its analgesic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is also used as a sedative and diuretic as well.

The essential oil was tried on R. stolonifer and P. italicum to study its antimicrobial activities, and on Rhizopus stolonifer, and Penicillium italicum, to understand its antibacterial action.

It also shows effectiveness towards methicillin resistant fungi and bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and shows antibacterial activity greater than that of antibiotics like nalidixic acid, nitrofurantoin and ampicillin.

Numerous scientific uses of Neral in Lemon Grass:

The oil of lemon grass contains Citral b, Terpinolene, Nerol, Geranyl acetate, Geraniol, Citronellal, Citral a, Myrcene and Terpineol Methylheptenone.

A study conducted to understand the scientific uses of lemon grass proved that the plant contained therapeutic activities such as anti-diarrheal, antibacterial, antifilarial, anti-amoebic, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.

In addition to this behavior, the study proved its anti-mutagenicity, anti-malarial, antioxidant, anti-mycobacterial, hypoglycemic and neurobehavioral attributes.

Since the results proved very positive, it was suggested that extensive studies on the same be carried out.

Reference Links:

  1. Citral by Wikipedia
  2. Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Cymbopogon citratus, stapf (Lemon grass), published in the Journal of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research
  3. Citral is a new inducer of caspase-3 in tumor cell lines by Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel published in Planta Medica Journal and PubMed