Lemon verbena is a plant that offers many health benefits. This herb may not be as popular and as widely used as some other herbs, but considering all its uses and versatile properties, it definitely deserves more attention.
About Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena or Aloysia citrodora is a flowering plant grown mainly in South and Central America, especially in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. It is a perennial shrub that usually grows three to seven meters in height and emanates an intense lemony scent.
This plant needs plenty of water and sunlight and it loses its leaves on temperatures below zero. This is why it can be difficult to grow lemon verbena in many parts of the northern hemisphere.
Lemon verbena is a culinary herb, used to making marinades and salads, and it is a great condiment for meat dishes. It is also used in desserts and in cocktails.
Besides the culinary uses, lemon verbena also has several health benefits and it can be used for medicinal purposes.
Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena
The main chemical compound in lemon verbena is citral. Citral makes up from 30 to 35 percent of the total composition, and the rest is made of nerol and geraniol. Most of the beneficial properties of lemon verbena come from these compounds.
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 helps with constipation, diarrhea and colon irritability.
This herb also improves the metabolism and increases the fat burning. It is believed that lemon verbena reduces cellulite as well. Some people have testified that lemon verbena tea is a great aid in weight loss programs.
Lemon verbena is very effective against cold and flu symptoms, especially for reducing high fever associated with those illnesses. It also soothes nasal passages and the entire respiratory system, relieves cough and loosens mucus plugs. It can be used to treat sinus infections as well. The best way to use lemon verbena for this purpose is to make a nice warm tea with some honey.
Lemon verbena is also used in aromatherapy. Its essential oil can be used for massaging, and it also improves the mood and helps against depression and anxiety. It is particularly recommended for women who are going through menopause and for PMS. Lemon verbena essential oil can also be added to the bath water for a nice, relaxing and nerve-soothing bath.