What is Lemon Verbena?
Lemon verbena, also commonly known as Aloysia citrodora is a plant that is known for its soothing aroma and bright taste. This plant is native to South America and is known for its powerful medicinal effects and qualities.(1) Lemon verbena has been in use for hundreds of years in traditional medicine for the treatment of respiratory issues, digestive issues, and more.(2,3) It is a perennial shrub that has a powerful lemony scent. This scent intensifies when its leaves and flowers are touched and bruised.
Lemon Verbena is used as a flavoring agent in poultry, fish, salads, dressing, jams, and various beverages.
5 Useful Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena has numerous health benefits.
Aids Weight Loss
Research suggests that lemon verbena has anti-obesity properties. A study was done on mice for 6 weeks. One group was left untreated and the other was given lemon verbena extract. The group receiving lemon verbena extract was found to have reduced fat accumulation and an improved ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. These are the 2 large phyla comprising of the gut microbiome.(4)
Another study done on 54 overweight people found that taking daily supplements with lemon verbena and hibiscus extract for 8 weeks reduced hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin and increased feeling of fullness.(5) Compared with the placebo group there was also a reduction of body fat in those taking supplements.
Contains Therapeutic Compounds
Lemon verbena contains several compounds such as terpenoids and phenolic compounds that are known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains polyphenol compounds known as verbascoside, a compound that has strong antioxidant properties.(6,7) Verbascoside protects against cell damage and improves against the body’s antioxidant defense.(8,9)
Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Lemon verbena has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the imbalance in the body’s antioxidant defense. It produces harmful free radicles that lead to cell damage and increases disease risk.(10)
A study was done in which 30 people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis were given lemon verbena extract for 28 days. There was a significant drop in the level of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein.(11) One more study showed lemon verbena supplements protected cells against oxidative stress and reduced exercise-induced muscle damage in healthy men.(12)
Lemon verbena contains numerous compounds that protect the cells from damage. It benefits athletes as exercise leads to stress and muscle damage in the body.
A study found giving lemon verbena extract before, during, and after an exhaustive test caused lesser muscle damage, compared with the placebo treatment.(13)
Improves Sleep Quality
How is Lemon Verbena Used?
Lemon verbena can be included in the diet in many ways.
- Lemon verbena can be used as an air freshener as it has bright, refreshing, and calming properties.
- Its essential oil can be used in an essential oil diffuser. It can be applied to the skin by mixing it with a carrier oil. But, before using it on the skin, make sure to do a patch test.
- The plant of lemon verbena can be used to make tea.
- It can, in a fresh and dried state be added to the desserts, soups, jams, and cocktails.
- Lemon verbena should be used with caution in pregnant and breastfeeding females. Research suggests lemon verbena oil to be increasing the risk of birth defects. This is the reason, why, pregnant females should not inhale aromatherapy with verbena.(17)
- If taking any herbal supplement or prescription medication and planning to take lemon verbena, it is important to consult a doctor and discuss safety issues.
- Lemon verbena is a plant with numerous potential health benefits.
- It reduces oxidative stress, improves sleep, and has anti-obesity effects. Human research is limited and more studies are needed to determine its effect on human health.