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Lemon verbena is a half-hardy, deciduous perennial shrub that can grow up to 2m. It bears clusters of tiny white flowers in summer and has pale-green lance-shaped leaves that are highly fragrant, exuding an aroma of lemon even when only lightly touched. It needs full sun and well-drained soil. Prune back in spring and remove dead wood. In very cold areas it will not grow very big and new growth can appear very late. Lemon verbena grows well in containers.

Lemon verbena is native to South America and was introduced to Europe by the Spanish in the seventeenth century. Today it is cultivated all over the world in temperate climates as an aromatic, ornamental plant, as well as for its leaves — which are used as a popular herbal tea.
Harvest and parts used

The leaves and flowers. Gather the leaves when the flowers appear on the stalks. It can be used fresh as required or dried and stored in a dark glass jar and will keep its flavour for at least 3 years.

Other uses

Use dried Lemon verbena leaves in potpourri, linen sachets and in herb pillows. The dried leaves will retain their oil content for up to 2-3 years. Place a few dried leaves in your vacuum cleaner bag before you vacuum, and the house will smell nice afterwards.


Culinary

Young, finely chopped fresh Lemon verbena leaves can be used to give any dish a lemony taste. Use fresh in fruit salads, punches and fruit cups. Sprinkle over fruit or vegetable salads, or mix in herb butters and cottage cheese. Make a refreshing tea with Lemon verbena, on its own, or mixed with mint and/or any other herb — it tastes good, warm or cold. If you are not allowed to use salt in your diet, you can do the following: dry Lemon verbena leaves & grind them. Mix them with dried ground celery, lovage, winter savoury, parsley, and thyme leaves. Lemon verbena leaves can be infused in oils and vinegars which will add an extra dimension to your cooking.


Medicinal

Lemon verbena is an astringent, aromatic herb that is rich in volatile oils. It has calming and digestive properties. It is taken internally to reduces feverish colds, soothes bronchial and nasal congestion, relieves spasms, nausea, palpitations and soothes abdominal discomfort. Lemon verbena is a gentle sedative and tonic for the nervous system and helps to encounter depression.

Lemon Verbena is a fragrant medicinal herb that has mild antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties. Lemon verbena is excellent for the digestive tract as it is known to be good for relieving nausea, cramps, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, diarrhea, stomach or gastro-intestinal spasms, and colon irritability. It is also often used as a natural slimming aid as it has been shown to burn fat, break down cellulite, and regulate the metabolism.

Lemon verbena is highly beneficial for crohn’s disease, colitis, celiac disease, sciatica, nervous twitches and ticks, and any stress related disorders. Lemon verbena also works as a natural remedy for Candida due to its powerful anti-fungal properties. Lemon verbena is also particularly good for the nervous system and can help relax the nerves and muscles, calm the mind, alleviate depression, ease anxiety, and provide a general overall feeling of peace.

Lemon verbena is also effective at loosening up and removing mucus from the lungs and sinus passages and can aid in providing relief from the symptoms of colds, coughs, flu, asthma, and sinus and respiratory infections. It is also helpful in reducing fever in the body. Lemon verbena is often used by women for its ability to help regulate their menstrual cycle and reduce the symptoms of PMS.

Lemon verbena has a bright lemony scent and is a great addition to salad dressings, smoothies, fruit salads, baked goods, and rice and vegetable dishes. Lemon verbena tea is a relaxing and medicinal tea that can be prepared by adding two teaspoons of dried or fresh herb to 1 cup of boiling water and allowing to steep for at least 15 minutes or more. Fresh lime and raw honey can be used if desired. Lemon verbena is a relatively easy herb to grow in a pot or in the garden.

Omar Botha

Healer & Entrepreneur

Mobile 073 854 3103

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