Provenance and description
Verbena [Fondue Forks is also known as Herb Louisa, lemon scented verbena amd also as Lippia citriodora, Aloysia citriodora, Lippia triphylla, Verveine citronelle or odorante, Verbena triphylla, and Lippia triphylla.
Verbena or lemon scented verbena, should to be confused with Vervain or Verbena Officinalis. Lemon scented verbena is native to South America and was introduced to Europe by the Spanish.
Verbena belongs to the family Verbenaceae and is a genus that contains a large number of garden flowers numbering almost 250 species. Almost all of these are natives of the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. The USA is home to about 20 of these species.
Lemon Verbena was cultivated commercially in Europe for its lemon scented [essential oil]. This was widespread until it was replaced by the cheaper alternative extracted from [Lemon Grass]. Oil of Lemon Verbena was used in the manufacture of perfumes and drinks.
The latin name Aloysia citriodora or triphylla was given in honour of Maria Louisa the princess of Parma and wife of King Carlos IV King of Spain.
Since [lemon] goes especially well with fish and seafood dishes, combining verbena and fish is obvious. It is used to add fragrance to [fish stews] and [soups] and it is also good with [poultry]. It maybe used in almost all preparations where the use of [lemon zest] is recommended, though it does have a much more complex, almost flowery flavour.
Lemon Verbena is most commonly used to flavour [sweets], [desserts] and [drinks].
Like [lemon balm], which is less strong, lemon verbena marries very well with all manner of fresh [fruit]. Since lemon verbena has a flowery- fruity-lemon flavour, it blends very well with most natural fruit aromas. It can be used to add piquancy to [fruit salads], or it can be used as a garnish for freshly made [fruit juice]. It is also excellent in [fruits] [sorbet], [ice creams] and in lemonade.
The leaves of the lemon verbena can also be added to and baked in [cake] batter and [cookie] dough. It adds an interesting and unusual flavour to these preparations. To use in baked goods, the leaves should be cleaned, washed and wiped dry. They should then be processed with the [sugar] to be used in the recipe.
[Lemon] scented [herb vinegar] may be made by adding the leaves to white [vinegar] and leaving them to steep and absorb flavour.
Dried and powdered verbena [leaves] make an excellent rub for [meat] and may be used in [marinades] and stuffings for both [meats] and [fish] to impart a delicate flavour.
The therapeutic uses of Lemon Verbena are very similiar to those of [mint], [orange flowers], and [Melissa] or [Lemon Balm].
Lemon Verbena contains several [phytochemicals] including [Neral], [Geranial], [Limonene], [Nerol], [Geraniol], [Terpineol], [Caryophyllene], [Curcumene], [Isovalerianic acid], [Eupafolin], [Hispidulin], [Eupatorin], [Salvigenin], [Apigenin] and [Luteolin].
[Phytochemicals] are plant chemicals that are non-nutritional. They are useful in the prevention of disease in plants as well as in humans. Common phytochemicals include [lycopene] in [tomatoes], [isoflavones] in [soya] and [alyll sulphides] in [onions], [leeks] and [garlic]. These compounds are largely responsible for Verbena's therapeutic benefits.
Lemon verbena [tea] made by infusing the leaves in hot water is reputed to be effective as a strengthener for the nervous system, as an antidote to stress and as a digestive tonic with anti-flatulent effect.It is also used to treat diarrhoea. Verbena infusion helps bring down body temperature in fevers, helps treat colds and acts as a respiratory expectorant. Traditional medicine uses it as a cure for asthma as well. The tea also acts as relaxant and sedative, regulates the menstrual cycle and lessens [PMS] symptoms.
Lemon verbena essential oil also has similiar effects. It is inhaled to treat stress, insomnia, depression and to ease asthmatic attacks.
Lemon verbena oil helps break down [cellulite], can be applied to cold sores, [acne], [boils] and [cysts] as an [anti-bacterial] agent and can be applied to the skin to keep it healthy.
Use in Aromatherapy
Lemon verbena essential oil is alo used in aromatherapy as a relaxant and destresser, an appetite enhancer, and to regulate the digestion.
The essential oil has a beneficial effect on the liver and repairs damage to the organ.As a result, it is useful in the treatment of alcoholics. It is also used in cases to sinusitis and congestion of the rest of the respiratory tract.
It also reduces facial puffiness and is good for the hair.
Lemon verbena generally is recognized as safe for human consumption.
Lemon verbena makes an excellent potpourri.
It needs the full sun and shelter in an almost frost free position
Light, well drained and alkaline. Poor soil produces stronger plants able to survive cold winters
It should be sown in spring and the cuttings should be taken in late spring
Thin or transplant to 3 feet apart. Prune drooping branches to encourage new growth. Grow lemon verbena indoors in winter, though it may drop its leaves. Prune and spray with warm water in spring to revive the plant.
Pick leaves aytime but best when flowers begin to bloom.
Dry the leaves and use fresh leaves to flavour oil and vinegar.
Mrs. Meyers Aromatherapeutic Household Cleansers sells home cleaning products made with Verbena essential oil
- Larousse Gastronomique
- The Book of Ingredients: Philip Dowell and Adrian Bailey; Penguin/ Mermaid Books 1993
- The Complete Book of Herbs; A practical guide to growing and using herbs: Lesley Bremness: Dorling Kindersley 1988
- Encyclopedia Britannica
- Verbena, Lemon
- Lemon Verbena: aromatic oil, sedative
- Mountain Valley Growers
- Herbal remedies using Lemon verbena
- Using and Growing Lemon Verbena
- Healing Properties of Lemon Verbena
- Aloysia tiphylla
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