Lemon Verbena (Aloysia Triphylla) is known by these other names: Aloysia citrodora, Aloysia triphylla, Cedrón, Herb Louisa, Hierba Luisa, Lemon-Scented Verbena, Lippia citrodora, Lippia triphylla, Louisa, Verbena Citrodora, Verbena triphylla, Verveine Citronnée, Verveine Citronnelle, Verveine des Indes, Verve…
Lemon verbena is a deciduous woody shrub with a strong lemon fragrance. The light green leaves are lanceolate, with pointed margins that are slightly toothed or toothless and fringed with hairs. The short stalks are 2 to 4 inches long, 1Ž2 to 1 inch wide, and arranged in three or four whorls. The tiny lavender flowers are tubular with two equal lips, four stamens, and a toothed calyx in spikes or racemes from the leaf axis. Nevertheless, the primary attraction of lemon verbena is its foliage that exudes a potent citrus fragrance when it is bruised. In fact, the aroma of lemon verbena is the maximum during the early evening.
In tropical climatic conditions, lemon verbena grows rapidly into a graceful shrub that often grows to a height of about 15 feet. If the herb is not grown in full sunlight, it will grow tall and thin and will be deprived of the essential oils enclosed by normal lemon verbena shrubs.
Lemon verbena is indigenous to Central and South America and is cultivated in Latin America, France, China, and Algeria. It was was brought to Europe by the Spaniards. There are many species of Lippia in Latin America and Africa such as Mexican oregano and Ethiopian koseret.
In the 17th century, Spanish explorers brought lemon verbena to Europe from Chile and Argentina. In Europe, lemon verbena was cultivated for the plant’s wonderful oil having a lemony aroma and was used in the manufacture of cosmetics and perfumes till the time the inexpensive lemongrass oil substituted it.
Lemon verbena is a popular spice for European teas, fruit drinks, and desserts. Verbena, a Latin word meaning leafy branch, was originally used as a perfume. Though not widely used in culinary applications, it adds a refreshing taste to many cold dishes.
Benefits Of Lemon Verbena (Aloysia Triphylla) For Health
Lemon verbena has a number of therapeutic uses. For instance, a placid sedative tea is prepared using the leaves of the herb to comfort nasal and bronchial congestion. In addition, this herbal tea is also taken internally to treat palpitations, indigestion, stomach cramps, flatulence and nausea.
As a therapeutic herb, lemon verbena is much underrated. Nevertheless, this herb encloses an essential oil having a potent lemony aroma. This essential oil possesses soothing as well as digestive properties. Lemon verbena possesses a mild tranquilizing effect and is reputed for easing abdominal uneasiness. This herb also has a mild tonic or stimulating action on the nervous system and facilitates in lifting the spirits and combating depression.
Lemon verbena is used for digestive disorders including gas, colic, diarrhea, and constipation. Lemon verbena is also used for agitation, joint pain, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, colds, fever, hemorrhoids, varicose veins.
The leaves as well as the flowering tops of lemon verbena possess sedative, antiseptic, febrifuge (any medication that reduces fevers) and stomachic (any medication that is beneficial for the stomach) properties. An herbal tea prepared with the leaves of the herb possesses a delectably revitalizing lemon flavour and is primarily employed to treat digestive problems, for instance, flatulence and acidity.
The pleasantly lemony smelling essential oil contained by the leaves of the herb is employed in aromatherapy in treating nervous as well as digestive disorders. In addition, the essential oil is said to be effective in treating boils, acne and cysts. People using this herb for a long period of time or in excessive amounts need to exercise a few precautions since it has the propensity to result in gastric irritation.
Culinary Uses of Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia Triphylla) is commonly used by Europeans to flavor fruit-based drinks, fruit salad dressings, fish soups, marinades, puddings, jams, and desserts. It does not tend to lose its flavor during cooking. It pairs well with fruits, vanilla, and seafood dishes. You can use lemon verbena in place of lemon zest in recipes.
Virtually any fruit salad can be enhanced with its finely chopped leaves. Lemon verbena makes one of the best beverage teas, especially when blended with mint. It can also be used to brighten the taste of fish, poultry, veggie marinades, stuffing, salad dressing, jellies, and vinegar. Chop up leaves and put them in drinks. As the leaves are tough, remove them before serving. Finely crumbled dried leaves can be added to the batters of carrot, banana, or zucchini bread. Try adding some to cooked rice just before serving.
Bury 6 lemon verbena leaves in a cup of sugar that has been placed in a covered jar or container. Use this sugar to top muffins, fruit, or sprinkle on the top of muffin batter before baking. Because the leaf is rather tough you’ll need to mince it very fine if you plan on leaving it in a dish, or add it whole and remove before serving. Dried, it should be crumbed before adding to recipes. Spice Blends: fish marinade blend, soup blend, and pickle blend.
Lemon Verbena (Aloysia Triphylla) Special Precautions and Warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of lemon verbena during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Kidney disease: Large amounts of lemon verbena may irritate the kidneys and make kidney disease worse. Avoid using large amounts if you have kidney problems.