Lemon verbena is a deciduous shrub, with lemon-scented, lance-like leaves. Tiny lilac to white flowers are produced.It is very pure and fresh – in fact, of the many lemon-scented plants, only lemon myrtle comes close; yet lemon verbena is less intense than lemon myrtle.
Only 100 years ago, lemon verbena was a common ornamental in European gardens, but today it is rarely planted. The herb's culinary merits have also fallen into oblivion; to be fair, however, it should be stressed that lemon verbena has never been an important herb in European cookery.
Like many other lemon-scented spices, lemon verbena is often suggested to flavour fish stews and soups; it is also good with poultry. Its main application, however, is the flavouring of sweets, desserts and drinks.
Lemon verbena, like lemon balm (which it surpasses by far), has a strong affinity to fresh fruits: The subtle lemon flavour nicely emphasizes and reinforces the fruit's natural aroma. Thus, lemon verbena can be used to give fruit salads an unusual touch, or a chopped leaves can be sprinkled over a fruit bowl, or freshly prepared fruit juice can be garnished with one or two leaves of lemon verbena. Other applications include fruits sorbet or any processed dessert based on fruits, e.g., ice cream.
Aloysia triphylla (L’Her.) Britton (Verbenaceae).
Synonyms and Part Used
Aloysia citriodora (Cav.) Ort., Lippia citriodora (Ort.) HBK, Verbena citriodora Cav., Verbena triphylla L’Her.
Flowering top, leaf.
Flavones including apigenin, chryso eriol, cirsimaritin, diosmetin, eupafolin, eupatorin, hispidulin, luteolin and derivatives, pectolinarigenin and salvigenin.
Terpene components include borneol, cineol, citral, citronellal, cymol, eugenol, geraniol, limonene, linalool,β-pinene, nerol, and terpineol (monoterpenes), and α-caryophyllene, β-caryophyllene, myrcenene, pyrollic acid and isovalerianic acid (sesquiterpenes).
Lemon verbena is used in herbal teas.
Lemon verbena is reputed to possess antispasmodic, antipyretic, sedative and stomachic properties. It has been used for the treatment of asthma, cold, fever, flatulence, colic, diarrhoea and indigestion.
45 mL taken several times daily.
None documented for lemon verbena. Terpene–rich volatile oils are generally regarded as irritant and may cause kidney irritation during excretion.
Individuals with existing renal disease should avoid excessive doses of lemon verbena in view of the possible irritant nature of the volatile oil.
Pregnancy and lactation
In view of the lack of pharmacological and toxicity data, and the potential irritant nature of the volatile oil, excessive doses of lemon verbena are best avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
Limited information is available on lemon verbena. The traditional uses are probably attributable to the volatile oil, for which many components have been identified, and to the flavone constituents. In the UK, lemon verbena is mainly used as an ingredient of herbal teas.