The plant Lemon verbena having its botanical name Alloysia triphylla is famous for its luscious lemony scent. This scented flowering plant is native of Argentina, Brazil, chili and other South American states where it grows in abundance. Centuries ago the Spanish brought it to Europe where it was used in perfume industry. The plant grows to the height of 9 to 15 feet. It needs plenty amount of water and sunlight. It cannot bear cold temperature and the leaves shrivel. This deciduous shrub has attractive pointed green leaves and tiny white flowers which bloom in summer season.
Lemon verbena, a queen of lemon scented herb is widely used in various culinary dishes. When used in salads, marinades, fish, poultry, stuffing and dressing it brightens the taste and flavor of the dish. The leaves of lemon verbena are used for various purposes. They can be used as fresh leaves or in their dried form. Besides its use for making beverage teas and culinary dishes, lemon verbena also has medicinal benefits. Let us know the medicinal side of this magic herb.
Health Benefits Of Lemon Verbena Leaves
Though there is very little research work done to back its therapeutic values, the use of lemon verbena in folk medicine since ages for treating various ailment is well acclaimed.Citral is a chemical compound which makes the most of lemon verbena; the remainder is made up of geraniol and nerol.
It masks the bitter and less palatable flavor of herbal teas when used together with other herbs. Moreover, lemon verbena has its own claim of treating ailments.
Colic and indigestion: It is a natural and effective remedy for colic and indigestion. The anti- inflammatory and astringent qualities of lemon verbena aid is digestive ailments, especially in nausea, colic, flatulence, stomach upsets, diarrhea etc. When fresh mint leaves is added to lemon verbena tea, its strength grows many fold in alleviating digestive ailments. Since it accelerates the metabolic activities in the body many people use it for reducing weight.
Respiratory illnesses: a fresh tea prepared from lemon verbena herb is effective in treating colds, coughs and bronchitis. It is useful to reduce temperature when a person is suffering from cold and flu. In mild form of asthma, lemon verbena herbal tea when used with warm water and honey alleviates the agony caused by this chronic respiratory ailment.
Fever herb: it is known for its qualities of reducing body temperature, especially in flu like ailments.
Uses Of Lemon Verbena Essential Oil
De- stressing agent and nervine tonic: The pleasant aroma of lemon verbena tea or even the essential oil relaxes the strained and stressful mind. The essential oil is often added to massage oils for mental relaxation and de-stressing the body. In case of depression and anxiety, the pleasant lemony flavor aids the mind to distance itself from worries of daily life. It also aids in premenstrual syndrome and women approaching menopause where mood changes are a given.
Other uses of lemon verbena can be mentioned in a nutshell are:
- Compresses of lemon verbena around the eyes helps in reducing puffiness around the eyes.
- It is also used to refresh the skin. The astringent quality helps to regulate the sebum secretion. Thus it is useful for people having oily skin.
- Wash the face with cool lemon verbena tea to reduce and cure acne.
- It is also used to treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Side Effects Of Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena is found to be safe when consumed in appropriate amount. Too much of anything may be harmful. The same applies to lemon verbena herb. Do not consume this magic herbal tea in large amount or any beverage which is laced with lemon verbena.
When consumed in large quantity, it can cause stomach irritation due to its astringent qualities. In the same way, if you are suffering from kidney problems, large amount of lemon verbena may further irritate the kidney. So avoid it when you have kidney problems.
The essential oil of lemon verbena may cause skin irritation in people who are having delicate skin. Pregnant woman and nursing mothers should not consume lemon verbena.