Lemon verbena Benefits
Cedron, Lemon Beebrush, Lemon Luisa and Yerba Louisa
Native to South America, Lemon Verbena is a fresh, lemon scented herb that has a long history of medicinal and culinary use.
Known as the “Queen of the Aromatic Herbs”, Lemon Verbena was traditionally used to make as soothing tea to aid digestion and to alleviate colds, flu and break a fever. It was also made into an ointment or a poultice to disinfect wounds and speed up healing, and to relieve joint pain brought on by inflammation.
Lemon Verbena Benefits
Lemon Verbena tea has a long history of use to promote digestion and relieve digestive complaints. It has anti-spasmodic qualities which can relieve symptoms of indigestion, digestive cramp, bloating and flatulence.
With powerful anti-fungal properties, it is also an excellent remedy for Candida overgrowth which can interfere with nutrient absorption and proper digestion.
Whilst its exact mechanism is unknown, the mucilage in the leaves of Lemon Verbena exert a healing effect on the stomach membrane, protecting it against corrosive acid levels. It also contains the volatile oil citral which works to help the liver reduce toxicity and aids in the digestion of fats.
Verbascoside is one of the main chemical components of Lemon Verbena and is responsible for its many benefits. This powerfully anti-inflammatory compound has been studied in conjunction with omega 3 as an alternative treatment for joint pain.
In a study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine”, 45 patients took a supplement of Lemon Verbena extract and fish oil or a placebo for 9 weeks. Significant improvements in joint pain and stiffness were observed in the supplement group. The researchers concluded that this pilot study warranted further investigation as a natural alternative remedy for stiffness and joint pain.
Muscle Repair and Recovery from Exercise
With potent antioxidant capability, Lemon Verbena has been shown to reduce oxidative damage sustained during intense exercise. The “European Journal of Applied Physiology” published a study in which 15 healthy male volunteers followed a 90 minute running exercise for 21 days whilst supplementing with Lemon Verbena extract. Researchers found that oxidative damage to fats, proteins and muscles was significantly reduced.
Another clinical trial published in the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition” looked at supplementation with Lemon Verbena extract before and after an exhaustive exercise routine in 44 active men and women. The study found that participants in the Lemon Verbena group benefitted from less muscle damage, faster recovery and improved activity of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
Lemon Verbena contains hastatosides and verbenalin - volatile oils known as "monoterpenoids". They can aid insomnia by activating the GABA system. GABA is a brain chemical that switches off the transmission of nerve signals, helping to calm the mind and nervous system in readiness for sleep.
Obesity/Healthy Weight Loss
Lemon Verbena combined with Hibiscus has been found to benefit weight loss in a recent study. 54 overweight women were given a proprietary supplement containing a 500mg extract of both herbs. The results of the showed that this significantly increased satiety and fullness, decreased hunger and food consumption compared to the placebo after 1 month. The women experienced weight loss, decreased blood pressure and lowered fat levels.
Lemon Verbena Herbal Tea
Use ½ -1 teaspoon of dried leaves per person, per cup of boiling water. Let the tea brew for 5 - 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
There is a long history of Lemon Verbena consumption in South America, where it is believed that in ancient times, the Incas were the first to discover its beneficial properties.
Lemon Verbena brought from South America to Europe by Spanish explorers. It was named by Philibert Commerson, the French botanist, as Aloysia triphylla. Gomez Ortega and Antonio Paulau y Verdera provided the botanical name Aloysia citriodora. In Spain, Lemon Verbena was knonw as yerba Luisa.
This aromatic herb went on to be extremely popular with ladies of the Victorian era who sewed its leaves into the darts of their dresses, tucked them into hankies and floated them in fingerbowls of water.
In herbal lore, Lemon Verbena symbolises romance and sensitivity, and was used to transmit messages between lovers.
Main constituents include verbascoside, luteolin 7-diglucuronide, citral, eucalyptol (1,8-cineole), geranial, sulcatone (6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one)