Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is also known as lemon beebrush. Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub with a lemon-like scent. This scent is even more pronounced when the flowers or leaves are bruised or touched.
Lemon verbena is relatively popular as a culinary additive. It also has medicinal and therapeutic benefits and could also be taken as a herbal extract or as herbal tea.
Below are various benefits of using lemon verbena;
1. Weight Loss
Drinking lemon verbena tea or adding it as a spice to your foods may help support your weight loss journey. Lemon verbena contains high amounts of the same types of polyphenols found in green tea that help assist with weight loss and fat elimination. A 2015 study determined that lemon verbena had a significant improvement in fat metabolism in mice, which could translate to a reduction in obesity in humans as well. In 2017, researchers concluded that lemon verbena may also assist with appetite suppression as well.
To make lemon verbena tea, put a quarter cup of fresh leaves or a teaspoon of dried leaves in one cup of water. Let the leaves steep for about ten minutes before drinking it. Steeping for longer or shorter periods would increase or decrease the potency of the tea.
2. Improves Joint Function And Reduces Joint Pain
In 2011, a human clinical trial was completed on lemon verbena testing for joint pain and stiffness. In the double-blind study, researchers gave one group a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid and another group a placebo. After nine weeks, researchers discovered that the group who received lemon verbena extract showed statistically significant relief in joint pain and stiffness than the group that received the placebo. The researchers concluded that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of lemon verbena extract, combined with fish-oil omega-3 fatty acids, may be investigated further as an alternative treatment or to reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in joint discomfort.
3. Inhibits Inflammation
In addition to its ability to improve joint function, lemon verbena has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. A 2014 study showed that multiple sclerosis patients ingesting lemon verbena supplements had a significant decrease in long-term inflammation when compared to those in the placebo group. Anti-inflammatory diets may also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
4. Speedy Recovery After Intense Workouts
Studies on athletes show that taking lemon verbena extract as an antioxidant supplement reduced the amount of muscle damage and exercise fatigue. Athletes who completed intense exercise programs showed less muscle damages than those not taking the lemon verbena supplement. Additionally, the extract did not inhibit the progress the athletes experienced as a result of the intense exercise program.
5. For Stomach Issues
Lemon verbena tea helps treat a number of stomach issues including diarrhea, indigestion, and constipation. Proponents for this usage suggest drinking lemon verbena tea as a digestive aid on a regular basis to avoid these inflictions. However, you should consult a doctor if you have ongoing health concerns with your stomach.
6. For Ailments (Such As Cold And Flu)
This herb is becoming increasingly popular as a home remedy for common ailments, including colds, fevers, and congestion. While more research would need to be done before lemon verbena can be conclusively said to treat or cure these conditions, proponents suggest that drinking it as a tea can clear congested nasal pathways and that its antioxidant properties can assist with lowering fevers. However, you should also consult with your doctor to determine the best treatment for what ails you.
7. Kills Germs
Laboratory tests indicate it may be effective in killing certain bacteria, including bacteria that cause staph infections. This is a reason, in addition to its pleasant odor, that lemon verbena is a popular addition to antibacterial hand sanitizers.
8. Reduces Stress
Lemon verbena has similar antioxidant levels as green tea, which is known to help reduce and relieve anxiety and stress levels. Drinking it as a tea can help bring calm. Lemon verbena has not specifically been shown to reduce anxiety or stress levels. However, drinking tea, in general, is a known way to reduce stress. Lemon verbena, both on its own or mixed with other teas, is an excellent choice.
9. For Sleeping Better
Because the antioxidants in lemon verbena may reduce anxiety, it may also help you get a good night’s sleep. Studies also suggest an oral intake of lemon verbena as a complementary treatment for insomnia.
10. Soothes Your Skin
Lemon verbena’s soothing aroma has made it popular in skin ointments, including massage oil and other creams, as it mixes well with rosemary and lavender. Consider adding it to your eye creams in order to reduce redness and puffiness.
However, if you are using lemon verbena in your skin creams or applying the oil to your skin, be aware that it can cause skin irritation or dermatitis in some people. It is best to patch-test it on your skin with a small amount first.
11. Natural Insect Repellent
Like citronella, lemon verbena is a traditional mosquito repellent. Hang fresh bunches of lemon verbena in doorways to keep out mosquitos, or dab lemon verbena oil on your wrists to ward off bloodsuckers.
You can also keep lemon verbena plants in your garden to protect the rest of your garden from parasites and other pests, including the stink bug. However, watch out for spider mites and whiteflies, which can be attracted to lemon verbena in gardens. Before bringing lemon verbena in from the garden, you should first inspect it for these critters.
12. For Cleaning Your House
Add lemon verbena to your homemade cleaning supplies to spruce up what can otherwise be boring, sterile-smelling concoctions. Steep lemon verbena and other herbs, such as rosemary, for a week in water and vinegar to liven up your cleaning routine and keep your home smelling fresh.
In addition to the pleasant odor, studies on lemon verbena have indicated it has antibacterial properties, so you may also be killing germs by adding it to your cleaning supplies.
13. As Perfume
Lemon verbena was historically worn as a pleasing perfume. Although this usage has dropped off in modern times, in favor of less expensive oils, you can still dab lemon verbena oil behind your ears or on your wrists to enjoy its fresh scents all day. You can also add it to hot running water in your tub to soak up the scent for a luxurious bath.
14. For Potpourri
Because the smell of lemon verbena is relaxing, you can also enjoy its dried leaves as potpourri. Simply let sprigs dry naturally, then either leave them whole or crumble them up to enjoy the pleasing scent. Leave the dried leaves in bowls around your home or sew it into sachets or pillows cases to enjoy the pleasant aroma.
15. Spice Up Your Cooking
Finally, lemon verbena can be used as an herb to flavor a number of dishes, both sweet and savory.
Consider tossing in a pinch of dried lemon verbena leaves to your baked goods, such as banana or carrot bread.
In some dishes, lemon verbena can be a replacement for oregano or other lemon-flavored spices such as lemon zest or lemongrass. Home chefs enjoy adding lemon verbena leaves to marinades, for chicken or pork, or blending it for vinegar for a unique vinaigrette salad dressing. Finally, because the leaf can be thick, you should either chop it finely or remove it before serving your dish, as you would a bay leaf.
Word Of Caution
Usage of lemon verbena on the skin could cause an allergic reaction which could result in mild dermatitis. As such, a patch-test is recommended before full usage on the skin. Furthermore, if you have kidney disease, taking lemon verbena could exacerbate it.
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