lemonverbena

Lemon Verbena: one of the herbs that crosses the divide between food and medicine, it is most often used as a tea or tissane ...

Common Names: Lemon Verbena

Botanical Name: Aloysia triphylla

Family: Verbenaceae

Plant Type: Deciduous shrub

Parts Used: Leaves

Flowering: August

Lemon verbena is native to South America.

Description: The lemon verbena bush grows to a height of about 6 - 10 feet, has strong, lemon-scented green leaves and clusters of aromatic, small, white or purple flowers that have a tiny yellow dot in the centre. When touched, the flower releases a refreshing fragrance.

Cultivation: Lemon verbena is a shrub, hardy to zone 9. This shrub is native to Chile and Peru; elsewhere it is frequently grown as a houseplant.

Harvest: Leaves and flowering tops are gathered in August when the shrub is in flower.

Culinary Uses: Use in marinades, fish or poultry dishes, salad dressings, and puddings. Lemon verbena is most often used as a tea or tissane, either alone or with other pleasant-tasting herbs.

Lemon Verbena Magick

Purification. Love.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Use lemon verbena in a purifying bath.

Place a leaf under your pillow at night to prevent dreaming.

Use lemon verbena in love spells, and add it to other spells to strengthen them.

Burn the dried leaves as incense to dispel negative energies and encourage love.

Herbal Healing with Lemon Verbena

Medicinal Actions: antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, aperitive, calmative, carminative, cholagogue, cooling, detoxifier, digestive, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, hepatic, insect repellent, insecticide, nervine, pectoral, refreshing, sedative, stimulant (circulatory system), stomachic, sudorific, tonic (nerves), tonifying (skin), uplifting

Medicinal Uses: Lemon verbena aids digestion, eases colic, and relieves spasms of the digestive track (colon). If strong enough, it will provoke a sweat which can help break and reduce fevers, or used as a tea for cooling and refreshing the body during hot summer weather. In Latin America (where this shrub is native), a tea is made from the leaves and stems for sore throats, colds, fevers, diarrhea, digestive problems, breathing congestion, and to promote a restful sleep.

Lemon verbena is not widely used as a medicinal herb; the leaves are a popular ingredient for potpourris, pomanders and linen sachets as they keep their scent for many years. Lemon verbena is highly valued in perfumery due to its essential oil content; lemon verbena oil is rare and expensive, and frequently adulterated with less expensive oils like citronella or lemongrass.

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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