Plant Lemon Verbena for its Aroma, Health Benefits & to Attract Butterflies
Every herb garden should include a lemon verbena, the leaves of which are highly prized for their lovely sharp lemony aroma, and with the added bonus that this pretty shrub will attract colorful butterflies to your garden.
Some tips on growing lemon verbena
The lemon verbena needs full sun in a sheltered and frost-free position. While it is not fussy about having a rich soil, it should be light, well-drained and alkaline – in fact the poorer the soil, the stronger the plants.
Buy your lemon verbena as nursery plants from a garden center or take your own cuttings during the summer months. The plants grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet and the branches should be pruned to encourage new growth.
While the leaves can be picked at any time, you should cut off the flowering tips if you want the plant to become thick and bushy. The lemon verbena is very happy to receive a good spray of water from time to time.
The many health benefits include combating both depression and those ill effects of stress
Lemon verbena has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. It is particularly beneficial for the digestive system, where it helps with conditions like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, bloating and cramps. It also assists in the treatment of constipation, diarrhea and colon irritability.
Lemon verbena herbal tea
To make an herbal tea:
- Use a handful of fresh chopped lemon verbena leaves or a tablespoon of dried and sifted leaves to each cup of water.
- Infuse gently by pouring hot water over the leaves, and leaving to infuse for ten to fifteen minutes until cool enough to drink.
- Strain and allow to cool slightly before drinking. Based on your individual taste, you can adjust the amount of herb used.
- For some extra sweetness to this tea, add a dash of raw honey.
- It should be drunk after meals. The brewed tea is faded yellow.
- It is popular in Europe for making relaxing, digestive after-dinner tisanes.
Lemon is nature’s antiseptic
- Lemon tea, including that made from the leaves of the lemon verbena, uses the benefits of lemon to help the body and mind of those who consume it.
- Lemon verbena is very effective against cold and flu symptoms, especially for reducing high fevers.
- It also soothes nasal passages and the entire respiratory system, relieving coughs and loosening mucus plugs. It can be used to treat sinus infections as well.
- Again, the best way to use lemon verbena is to make a nice warm tea with some raw honey.
The leaves of the lemon verbena have other health benefits too
- An infusion of lemon verbena applied to the eyes with cotton wool and left for 15 minutes will relieve puffiness. This infusion is made by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of crushed leaves and steeping for 10 minutes before straining and leaving to cool.
- For a lovely aromatic bath time, tie some leaves into a facecloth or a sachet or use lemon verbena essential oil and add to your bath water. You will emerge relaxed, with nerves that have been soothed.
- Lemon verbena is also popular in aromatherapy. Its essential oil can be used for massaging. Add some leaves to macerate in almond oil for an aromatic oil for massage. It is particularly recommended for women who are going through menopause and for PMS.
- You will find that dried leaves retain their scent for a very long time and can be included in potpourri or hung in bunches of fresh leaves in cupboards to keep clothes and linen fresh and scented.
To get the most out of your lemon verbena tea, it is recommended that you use glass-based or porcelain tea ware and first rinse the tea cup and teapot with hot water.
Afrasiabian F, Mirabzadeh Ardakani M, Rahmani K, et al. Aloysia citriodora Palau (lemon verbena) for insomnia patients: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of efficacy and safety. Phytother Res. 2019;33(2):350-359. View abstract.
Boix-Castejón M, Herranz-López M, Pérez Gago A, et al. Hibiscus and lemon verbena polyphenols modulate appetite-related biomarkers in overweight subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Food Funct. 2018;9(6):3173-3184. View abstract.
Buchwald-Werner S, Naka I, Wilhelm M, Schütz E, Schoen C, Reule C. Effects of lemon verbena extract (Recoverben) supplementation on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Jan 23;15:5.View abstract.
Caturla N, Funes L, Perez-Fons L, Micol V. A randomized, double-blindcd, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega 3 fatty acid on joint management. J Altern Complement Med 2011;17:1051. View abstract.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182. (Accessed, 9 November 2021).
Mauriz E, Vallejo D, Tuñón MJ, et al. Effects of dietary supplementation with lemon verbena extracts on serum inflammatory markers of multiple sclerosis patients. Nutr Hosp. 2014 Nov 4;31(2):764-71. View abstract.