Aloysia triphylla (or Aloysia citrodora), commonly known as Lemon Verbena (or lemon beebrush), is a fragrant herb that belongs to the Verbenaceae family. It is native to South America, particularly regions like Argentina and Chile, however can be grown in other countries and was historically introduced to England in 1784.
Lemon Verbena is a deciduous shrub with elongated, lance-shaped leaves. The leaves are bright green, slightly rough to the touch, and emit a strong lemon fragrance when crushed. It has small pale purple flowers. The plant can grow to be several feet tall and wide.
Cultivation: Lemon Verbena is typically cultivated in temperate climates and can be grown as a perennial in zones with mild winters. It prefers well-draining soil and full sun to thrive. The plant can be propagated from cuttings or seeds.
Harvesting and Drying: Leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and used fresh. They can also be dried for later use and will retain their scent for years. It is best to pick them when they are flowering if your plan is to dry them. To dry Lemon Verbena leaves, hang them in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.
Lemon Verbenas delightful lemony aroma and versatility in various applications make it a popular choice among gardeners, chefs, and herbal enthusiasts.
Mundane Uses of Lemon Verbena:
Lemon Verbena leaves are commonly used as a flavouring agent in cooking and baking.
They can be used, dried or fresh, to make teas, infuse syrups, flavour desserts (such as ice creams and custards), and enhance savory dishes like marinades, sauces, and salads.
Lemon Verbena is often grown for its aromatic qualities.
- The leaves of Lemon Verbena are prized for their intense lemon scent, which is often likened to lemon zest.
- The leaves can be dried and used in potpourri, sachets, and scented oils to add a refreshing lemon fragrance to spaces.
- The essential oil extracted from the plant is also used in perfumes and aromatherapy.
In traditional medicine, Lemon Verbena is believed to have calming and digestive properties and has been used to make herbal teas or infusions that may aid in relaxation and digestion.
It acts as a febrifuge (lowering body temperature to prevent or reduce fevers).
- Lemon Verbena is a sedative (promoting calm or inducing sleep)
- It is used in stomach ailments as an antispasmodic (helps to relieve or prevent spasms (especially of the smooth muscles)) in dyspepsia (a disorder of digestive function characterized by discomfort or heartburn or nausea), indigestion and flatulence.
Caution: While Lemon Verbena is generally considered safe for culinary and aromatic use, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using it for medicinal purposes, especially if you're pregnant, nursing, or have any underlying health conditions.
The Magickal Properties Of Lemon Verbena:
Folk Names: Cedron, Yerba Louisa
Powers: Purification, Love
- Purification and Cleansing: Lemon Verbena is believed to have purifying and cleansing properties. It can be used in rituals or as part of cleansing baths to remove negative energy, clear spiritual blockages, and create a sense of renewal.
- Love and Attraction: Lemon Verbena is sometimes carried or used in love spells or rituals to attract love, enhance romantic connections, and promote harmonious relationships. Its pleasant lemony scent is thought to have an uplifting and inviting quality.
- Emotional Balance: Lemon Verbena is associated with promoting emotional balance, reducing stress, and easing anxiety. It can be used in rituals or aromatherapy practices to create a calming atmosphere and promote a positive mindset.
- Increasing Creativity: Lemon Verbena is said to stimulate creativity and can be employed in magickal workings to increase this energy for more success in creative endeavors.
- Stopping dreams- Wearing a sprig of Lemon Verbena around one’s neck,using a herb pillow filled with lemon verbena or drinking it as a tea just before bedtime, is said to stop one from dreaming.
The Magickal benefits of this herb are not set in stone. These magickal benefits are from a Eurocentric viewpoint, as is my personal background and what I am familiar with. For example, Lemon Verbena in this instance is said to be good for love and attraction, however I have seen some resources that point towards it being used as an herb to cause break ups and rifts in relationships.
Do your own research before working with each ingredient always and consult sources from your own ancestral background. What is right for me in my situation, may be completely wrong for you.
Ways To Use Lemon Verbena:
- Brewed as a tea- I personally love the lemony taste of Lemon Verbena tea. I often have it, along with ginger and sometimes stevia leaves as a calming tea that is both good for you and tastes good also (recipe below)!
- Room spray/smokeless incense: The dried leaves can be brewed into a tea and sprinkled/sprayed around the house to remove negativity.
- Herb pouches- the dried leaves can be placed in cotton pouches and used under your pillow for a more relaxing and peaceful sleep.
- The dried leaves can be infused into oil to create salad dressings.
One of my favourite mundane ways to use Lemon Verbena is as a tea. The combination of Lemon Verbena and Ginger combined makes a perfect herbal tea, especially if you have any digestive troubles.
Lemon Verbena & Ginger Tea
A basic recipe to make any Herbal tea is:
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of herbs/spices/flowers/tea (I usually use 2-3 Lemon Verbena leaves and 2 slices ginger along with a couple of crushed stevia leaves)
- Add to 2 cups of boiling water.
- Steep for 3-5 minutes, then taste and adjust according to personal preferences.
This tea is great if you have general stomach aches or dyspepsia (a disorder of digestive function characterized by discomfort or heartburn or nausea) as it combines the carminative properties of ginger with the sedative and antispasmodic properties of Lemon Verbena, resulting in a potion that is both mentally calming and soothing to the stomach.
Personally, I love the taste and smell of Lemon Verbena. The fact that it is a dry climate herb that needs very little watering also suits me, both as a gardener without a green thumb and as an Australian that sometimes must restrict water usage in years where drought can be a problem (luckily where I am there is not much of this, but it is good to know that if there is, my plants will not just keel over and die!).
Let us know what you think about this fantastic plant. Do you grow it? If so what has been your experience with it? Do you use it for mundane purposes, magickal purposes, or both? We'd love to hear your experiences.