Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena

aloysia vitrodora

Lemon Verbena is a sedative and will help you relax. It can also help reduce a fever.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Lemon Beebrush
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves
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About Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena is a highly prized deciduous sub-shrub that belongs to the verbena family, Verbenaceae. It is also acknowledged as lemon beebrush and can reach a height of approximately 10 feet. Lemon Verbena is characterized by arched branches where the emergence of pleasantly lemon-scented, lance-shaped, green leaves can be seen. This prestigious bush is capable of producing tiny white or pale lilac flowers that embellish the garden.

Lemon Verbena owns a rich medicinal history and stands as a reputable entity in cultural culinary usage. Its leaves are better used fresh to impart strong lemon fragrance to the salads, teas, and other beverages. Medicinally, Lemon Verbena is a potent antispasmodic, analgesic, antipyretic, sedative, and digestive tonic. Lemon Verbena works wonders in treating colic, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, rheumatism, asthma, piles, insomnia, varicose veins, and various skin disorders.

The Polyphenolic compounds and essential oils found in Lemon Verbena are reasons people sought after it. They not only produce lemon-like scent upon bruising the leaves but also confer the amazing medicinal properties to add up to the already soaring reputation of the Lemon Verbena.

Growing

Lemon Verbena requires full sun to partial afternoon shade and rich organic potting soil (6.1 to 7.0 pH) to thrive. Indoor containerized lemon verbena plant does not produce flowers whereas the outdoor one flowers blissfully.

Plant cuttings and seedlings can be sown in spring or summer. In semi-tropical regions, outdoor lemon verbena does not ask for fertilizers but in cold climate zones, it is better to feed the plant with water-soluble fertilizer from spring to fall to see a flourishing growth. Lemon verbena plants need sunny, dry or humid, and frost-free settings to show pronounced growth.

The thermometer bar should indicate temperature more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit to prosper or else the lemon verbena plant undergoes dormancy. Lemon verbena plant has the tendency to produce few viable seeds therefore it is planted or replanted through semi-ripe cuttings of the parent plant.

Lemon verbena starts blooming from mid-summer and continues to blissfully flower till early fall. The flowers belong to the cast of hermaphrodites and get pollinated through insects like butterflies.

After pollination and fertilization, the flower begins to fade, and in comes the emergence of small fruits or pods. Initially, the pod is green which shows that the seeds contained in it are still unripe. When the pod and the stem turn brown, it indicates that the seeds are fully ripe and ready to perpetuate the life cycle of lemon verbena.

Harvesting

The leaves and flowers of lemon verbena can be harvested any time of the year.

The leaves and flowers of lemon verbena are harvested by simply picking them.

The leaves and flowers of lemon verbena can be air-dried in a well-ventilated region where sunlight does not reach. The dried leaves and flowers can then be stored in an airtight glass container.

Usage

Lemon verbena is used frequently in place of lemon balm in cultural culinary disciplines and the medicinal world for the wellbeing of masses.

  • Tea - Fresh lemon verbena leaves are soaked in hot water for 10 minutes. A teaspoon of honey can be stirred in it to add some flavor.
  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped lemon verbena leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Decoction - Fresh or dried lemon verbena leaves can be simmered in water for an hour. The plant material is then strained and the decocted liquid can be consumed.
  • Salve - Lemon verbena oil is used to make a healing salve.
  • Syrup - Fresh lemon verbena leaves are simmered in white sugar solution to form a syrup.
  • Infused oil - Fresh lemon verbena leaves and grape seed oil are blended together and allowed to stand for an hour. The mixture is then strained to yield lemon verbena infused oil.