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Lemon Verbena Uses

Lemon verbena is a herb that is used for both culinary and therapeutic purposes. Let us take a look at some of the common uses of this aromatic herb.
HolisticZine Staff
Native to certain South American countries like Argentina and Chile, lemon verbena is a herb that is now widely cultivated in other parts of the world too. The scientific name of this plant is Aloysia citriodora, and it is also called lemon beebrush. It has alternate names like Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citriodora, Lippia triphylla, Verbena triphylla, Zappania citriodora, verveine citronelle, odorante, etc. As the name rightly suggests, this herb has a strong lemony scent, and so is used for various cosmetic and culinary purposes. Lemon verbena is also said to be effective as a remedy for a wide range of health problems.
This plant is a woody herb that can grow to a maximum height of 15 to 20 feet. It has long pointing leaves that fall off during winters. During other seasons, the leaves are found to be light green in color. The plant produces lavender flowers during summers. Both fresh and dried leaves as well as flowers are used for various purposes.
Culinary Uses
  • With a strong lemony scent and a delicate flavor, lemon verbena is used as a flavoring in herbal teas, baked goods (like cakes and breads), etc.
  • You can prepare lemon verbena tea by steeping these leaves in boiling water for around ten minutes. A few drops of lemon juice will add to the flavor of this tea. Honey can also be added.
  • Apart from the leaves, even the flowers are used as a flavoring in teas. In some regions, these leaves are added to rice, so as to impart a lemony flavor. It can also be used in fish and poultry recipes.
Medicinal and Cosmetic Uses
  • Herbal tea made with lemon verbena is said to be effective in reducing fever. It is also used as a remedy for sleeplessness and is claimed to be a good stress relieving herb.
  • This herbal tea is also used for relief from bowel problems, like heartburn, indigestion, etc. Infusion of lemon verbena is used to clean teeth, and also to reduce puffiness around the eyes.
  • Lemon verbena oil is widely used as a massage oil. It is diluted with carrier oils, like lavender, rosemary, orange, and other citrus oils.
  • This essential oil is also used in various products, like cosmetics, aromatherapy oils, perfumes, potpourris, soaps, etc. It is said to be good for regulating skin conditions like acne.
As an Ornamental Plant
Apart from its culinary and medicinal uses, lemon verbena can also be grown for ornamental purposes. Stem cuttings are usually used for propagation of this herb, as seeds are produced infrequently. Lemon verbena should be planted in rich loamy soil (pH around 6.5) in a location that can provide the plant with full sun. This plant requires lots of water for a healthy growth. During cold climates, it may lose its leaves. In case of colder regions, it will be better to keep lemon verbena indoors, as frost may kill the plant. It may not tolerate temperatures below 40° F. Once indoors, keep the plant on a sunny window, and water it only when the soil gets dry (or once a week).
Even though there is no conclusive evidence to prove the therapeutic uses of lemon verbena, it is widely used as a home remedy. However, moderate use is always recommended. It will be better to consult a qualified herbal practitioner, if you want to use this herb for medicinal purposes. Pregnant and breast feeding women, and those with kidney diseases must avoid using this herb.