Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena - Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citirodora, Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia citrodora

The lemon verbena is the South American sister of the native verbena. However, verbena looks quite different and also smells strongly lemony, quite different from its relative. This is why it is called “lemon verbena”. You can easily distinguish the two plants because only the lemon verbena from South America has an intensive lemon aroma. The native verbena simply tastes bitter. Besides, the native verbena as a plant is much smaller than the lemon verbena.

You can use lemon verbena in a similar way to verbena, but it is also very well suited as a tasty house tea for pure enjoyment. In summer, verbena tea can be refreshing and soothing. What is unusual about lemon verbena is that it has three different scientific names. All three stand for the same plant species.

So as a refreshing plant for house tea, lemon verbena is very popular and is also used as a medicinal plant. It is also popular as a fragrance oil.

Plant description

The lemon verbena is native to South America in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. However, it is also cultivated in southern Europe because it thrives there. It prefers nutrient-rich sandy soils and loves full sun and a sheltered location. The perennial plant grows up to 3 metres high.

In spring, the root initially sprouts new stems, but the lignified stems from the previous year also continue to grow. From May onwards, the elongated leaves emerge from the stems, which grow vigorously in threes, i.e. always three at the same height around the stem. The fully grown leaves are a little rough and have a strong lemon scent. They have a slightly jagged edge. From August onwards the small white flowers appear at the top of the stem. They each have four tiny petals. Many of these flowers together form a loose spike.


Scientific name
Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla.

Plant family

Other names
Lemon beebrush, lemon-scented verbena, vervain, citroenverbena.

Used plant parts

Essential oil: citral, neral, geranial, geraniol, limonene, linalool, nerol; flavonoids.

Harvest period

Medicinal properties

Main use: Nervousness.

Healing effects

      • Reassuring
      • Relaxing
      • Motivating
      • Strengthening
      • Metabolically stimulating
      • Tonifying
      • Digestive
      • Activating
      • Antibacterial
      • Appetizing
      • Compensating
      • Invigorating
      • Refreshing
      • Diuretic
      • Promotes concentration
      • Antispasmodic
      • Menstrually stimulating
      • Lactic
      • Toe picking

Areas of application

      • Nervous heart condition
      • Insomnia
      • Cold
      • Insect bites
      • Catarrh of the upper airways
      • Lack of concentration
      • Headache
      • Stomach weakness
      • Migraine
      • Muscle aches
      • Acne
      • Circles under the eyes
      • Weakness in the connective tissue
      • Flatulence
      • Bronchitis
      • Depression
      • Fever
      • Cough
      • Nausea
      • Restlessness
      • Indigestion
      • Constipation

Healing powers

The main effects of lemon verbena seem contradictory at first, because it activates and calms at the same time. But in practice, these two effects complement each other wonderfully. If you are stressed, you want to relax, but not necessarily get tired. Those who feel limp want to be invigorated, but not to break out in a hectic rush.

This is how the lemon verbena ensures a pleasant feeling of well-being. In the evening it can even help you fall asleep, because it does not stimulate, but only has a gentle effect.

Lemon verbena also strengthens the metabolism and helps digestion. Pathogens are combated, cramps are relieved, but contractions are strengthened.

Internal use

When drunk as a tea, lemon verbena can be used for fatigue or nervousness. A nervous heart will be calmed, in case of depression and listlessness the life energy will be strengthened. Tension headaches and migraines are also reduced.
An irritated stomach feels better again with lemon verbena tea, except if you drink too much of it. Constipation also decreases because lemon verbena stimulates digestion.
If you have a cold, you will feel stronger and healthier faster if you drink lemon verbena tea. You can also mix other cold herbs with the verbena to get the best effect.
Together with shepherd’s purse herb you can drink lemon verbena to give birth. The lemon verbena strengthens the contractions, but at the same time has an antispasmodic effect so that the contractions are easier to bear. With its fresh scent, verbena also helps to make the laborious hours of childbirth easier to bear.

External use

Vegetable oil mixed with essential lemon verbena oil can be used for foot massages or sports massages. The muscles are better supplied with blood and relax. Incorporated in a light day cream, lemon verbena oil can help against acne and oily skin. In a body lotion, lemon verbena oil helps to strengthen the connective tissue.

Side effects

Too much or too intense consumption of lemon verbena can strike the stomach and cause nausea. The essential oil can increase sensitivity to light.

If you have light skin, you should not rub yourself with a verbena-rich cream in summer when you go out into the sun.


Because verbena has a menstrual and contraction stimulating effect, it should not be used during pregnancy, at least not in large quantities. Only to support the birth the verbena is then suitable again.

So take care! No lemon verbena in pregnancy!

Mystical use

Lemon verbena is said to protect against bad dreams when you drink its juice or hang a twig around your neck. It is also said to be suitable as a love potion, both in love potions and around the neck to attract potential partners. Together with other magical plants, verbena has a strengthening effect.

When used for incense or in the fragrance lamp, lemon verbena is said to cleanse the room and the atmosphere – a reasonable assumption considering the effect of its essential oils.

Forms of preparation

Lemon verbena can be used either as tea or as an essential oil. It is also used in the kitchen. But the most common way to use lemon verbena is as a herbal tea.


To make a lemon verbena tea, pour a cup of boiling water over one or two teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon verbena leaves and leave to infuse for ten minutes. Then strain and drink the lemon verbena tea in small sips. You drink one to three cups of this tea a day.

As with all highly effective medicinal herbs, after six weeks of continuous use, one should take a break and temporarily drink another tea with similar effects. Afterwards you can drink lemon verbena tea again for six weeks. The break prevents possible undesirable long-term effects and the desired effectiveness of lemon verbena is maintained.

Lemon verbena is also very well suited as an ingredient in mixed teas. It improves the taste of the tea blends so that they taste fresh and slightly lemony.

Cold extract

As a pure refreshing drink, the lemon verbena can be prepared as a cold extract. Fresh lemon verbena leaves are best suited for this purpose, but you can also use dried ones. Put two teaspoons of fresh or dried lemon verbena leaves together with a slice of lemon in a carafe of cold water. Leave this mixture in the fridge overnight. The next day you get a refreshing cold drink.

Essential oil

Unfortunately, the essential oil of lemon verbena is relatively expensive, which is surprising at first because the lemon verbena leaves smell so intense that one thinks one could extract a lot of essential oil from them. But this is obviously not the case.

You can evaporate the essential oil in scented lamps to refresh the air in the room. You can also drip it into vegetable oil as body and massage oil, e.g. 10 drops per 100 ml vegetable oil. Even homemade creams and ointments can enrich the essential verbena oil with its scent.

Bath additive

Some bath additives contain essential verbena oil. Such a bath relaxes and invigorates at the same time. One becomes calm without getting tired and one is invigorated but remains calm.


The fresh leaves of lemon verbena can be used very well in the kitchen. Fruit salads and other fruity desserts get a certain lemon spice from them. Lemon verbena leaves are also very good in salty salads or vegetable dishes. You can also try the verbena with roasted meat.


The lemon verbena originally comes from the south of South America, where it has been used as a medicinal plant and tea herb for a very long time. Lemon verbena was introduced to Europe at the end of the 18th century, and in 1784 lemon verbena was first scientifically described as a species.

Shortly after its introduction in Europe, lemon verbena was a popular ornamental plant in European gardens. Nowadays, however, it is rarely seen in gardens, and when it is, it is enthusiasts of its lemony aroma who cultivate it.

Cultivation tips

In Central Europe, lemon verbena is best planted in tubs because it is only conditionally hardy. You can either grow it from seeds, propagate it by cuttings or buy finished plants.

As a permanent container you need a very large tub, because lemon verbena can become very stately (3 m high) when it feels well. The plants should be watered sufficiently, but cannot tolerate stagnant moisture. If you can’t put them in a winter garden or similar in winter, cut back the branches and cover them. Then put them in a place that is as sheltered as possible. During longer periods of frost, you can place the tub temporarily in the cellar.

Collection tips

The leaves of lemon verbena are usually harvested. But you can also use the flowers. The leaves are harvested before and during flowering. You can either pick single leaves if you need very little plant material. Or you can cut off a whole shoot or its upper half.

If you cut off directly above a pair of leaves, the regrowing plant will branch and become bushier and more luxuriant. The leaves and possibly flowers must be dried gently and as quickly as possible in partial shade.


Lemon Verbena (Wiktionary)



lemon verbena (plural lemon verbenas)

  1. A deciduous perennial shrub native to South America, used for its lemon-like fragrance and flavor, Aloysia citrodora.


  • lemon beebrush; Verbena triphylla and others


Further reading

  • Aloysia citrodora on Wikipedia.Wikipedia
  • Aloysia citrodora on Wikispecies.Wikispecies
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