Cultivated mostly for its essential oil, lemon verbena is a popular herb throughout the world. Also referred to as lemon beebrush, it has a strong lemon scent with a little purple or white flower that blooms in the spring. In fact, the citrus scent of this plant is considered the strongest of all the lemon scented plants.
Lemon verbena derives its fragrance and minty-licorice taste due to the chemicals citral and geraniol. These allow the plant to give a lemon flavor to anything, making it an exceptional addition to culinary dishes and beverages.
Benefits of Lemon Verbena
Fish, vegetable, and chicken dishes are excellent with lemon verbena. It can also be a great flavor base for dressings, jams and even sorbets and ice cream. It is popular to make herbal tea and beverages as well.
The metabolic processes can be positively affected by lemon verbena by calming the processes in the gut, due to its antispasmodic qualities. In herbal tea form, it can help to curb the appetite, calm the nerves, aid in digestion, increase the metabolic rate, and help to streamline your body’s level of functioning.
Because our muscles incur injuries while working out, lemon verbena tea can be one of those restorative rituals for the health conscious. It aids the body in recovery and healing by reducing joint pain. It is also a great pre-workout tea as it will aid in the reduction of inflammation within the bodies tissues.
How to Grow Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena at full growth stands typically 6 feet in height and sometimes a little higher. It is a lovely plant that provides added beauty in your garden, coupled with a lovely scent. It needs full sun and to be planted in rich organic soil. Lemon verbena will go dormant in the winter months and do well indoors if not overwatered.
Troubleshooting Lemon Verbena
If you live in an area where it frosts, you will want to grow this plant indoors in a container. It will certainly be fine in the warmer months, but it is a tropical herb and it will not survive freezing temperatures.
It is also imperative that you keep the soil watered, but not constantly wet. Lemon verbena is a very temperamental plant that will not tolerate wet roots, so make sure that it is planted in soil that is well drained. One last point to consider about growing lemon verbena is that it tends to be a haven for spider mites and whiteflies.
If that is not enough support for the use and enjoyment of this fresh smelling herb, try it for immune support. Because lemon verbena has antioxidants, it aids gives our white blood cells a helping hand.
At the very least, try it instead of the zest of a lemon in a recipe. No one will be the wiser and your recipe will be exceptionally fresh!