Lemongrass Oil is produced from two distinctly different botanical species of Cymbopngon. One is a native of East India (Travancore, etc.) where it grows wild, and is now cultivated over a comparatively limited area in the western parts of India.
Lemongrass Oil is steam distilled from the fresh or partly dried leaves of the above grass occasionalIy, it is water-and-steam distilled. Outside of India, the “west-Indian” grass is distilled in Africa (Kenya, Tanganyika, Belgian Congo, Angola, Equatorial Africa, Madagascar, Comoro islands, etc.), in Central America (Guatemala and Honduras), in the West Indies (Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico), in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Suriname), and in Formosa, Indochina, Indonesia, Malaya, etc. It is one of the 10 largest essential oils in the world in respect to volume produced annually (about 1500 tons in 1958), although a good portion of this goes into the production of citral either for perfumery or flavor use, for the production of ionones, or for pharmaceutical use in the synthesis of vitamin A, etc. Lemongrass oil, as such, is not used very extensively in perfumes and not at all in flavors.
Lemongrass Oil is a yellow or amber-colored, somewhat viscous liquid with a very strong, fresh grassy lemon-type, herbaceous or tea-like odor.
Lemongrass Oil contains about 70° citral which is the starting material for the production of ionones.