Foundation Diet and Health
Diet and Health
QR Code
The best perspective for your health
This page was translated through Google Translator

Lemon verbena (Verveine), raw (organic?)

The leaves of the lemon verbena (organic?) have a fresh scent when raw, reminiscent of lemon. The aromatic tea is called lemon verbena or verbena.
The information we compiled for this ingredient complies with the standards ofthe USDA database.
Macronutrient carbohydrates 57.88%
Macronutrient proteins 38.4%
Macronutrient fats 3.72%

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 0.3g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, 0.2g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 1:1

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Here, essential linolenic acid (LA) 0.28 g to essential alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) 0.21 g = 1.33:1.
Ratio Total omega-6 = 0.28 g to omega-3 fatty acids Total = 0.21 g = 1.33:1.
On average, we need about 2 g of LA and ALA per day from which a healthy body also produces EPA and DHA, etc.

The refreshing scent of raw lemon verbena , also known as lemon bush, lemon scented bush or "fragrant verbena" called, is reminiscent of lemons. Aloysia citrodora is used as a spice and as a medicinal plant. If possible, it should be organic or wild-harvested.

Use in the kitchen

What is verbena? The name verbena can stand for lemon verbena (or the tea made from it) or for common verbena. The former is a perennial shrub with strongly scented leaves and the subject of our ingredient description.

Thanks to its lemony taste, lemon verbena gives many vegetarian and vegan dishes and drinks a delicious lemon note. It is particularly well-known in South America and Central America. The tea is very popular in France for its unique aroma and is sold as "Verveine". Verveine (or lemon verbena) is also a common name for the tea in Switzerland.

Can you eat lemon verbena raw? The raw leaves of the lemon bush are widely used as a spice for preparing various jellies, sauces, jams, vegetable marinades or desserts. 1 Gourmets and connoisseurs like to use raw lemon verbena in raw food recipes such as salads (e.g. in combination with lamb's lettuce , radicchio and avocados ) or in mushroom dishes, e.g. a risotto made from porcini mushrooms with Hokkaido pumpkin . The whole or chopped leaves of the lemon bush are used fresh as a seasoning addition to desserts such as fruit salad, pudding and vegan ice cream - or for the icing on a lemon cake.

Lemon verbena syrup is an aromatic thirst quencher for hot days. This herb can be used to give punches or drinks a refreshing note (perhaps mixed with orange and mint ). The 'Inca Kola' from Peru uses the aroma of lemon verbena (locally called "cedrón") and has established itself as a popular verbena drink in South America. 1

Vegan recipe for a cucumber salad with lemon verbena

Ingredients (for 2 people): 1 cucumber ; for the dressing: 1 stalk of organic lemon verbena (raw, chopped), 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar , 1 tablespoon walnut oil , 2 tablespoons water , 1 dash of lemon juice , salt andblackpepper .

Preparation: Wash the cucumber and cut it as desired. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegan dressing with the cucumber and serve.

Preparation for a fresh verbena tea

To prepare verbena tea, pour 250 ml (¼ l) of boiling water over three to five fresh lemon verbena leaves (or two teaspoons of dried lemon verbena), preferably organic, and let the tea steep for about 10 minutes. You can easily drink up to three cups a day. Lemon verbena tea can also be drunk cold in summer.

Recipe for Lippia Liqueur

The Lippia liqueur recipe works well with one litre of alcohol (40%), three sprigs of lemon verbena and 150 g of sugar. You put the herb sprigs upside down in a wide-mouthed container, leave them in there for two days and replace them with the sugar; the liquid should then be light green. The sugar dissolves in a few days. After that, the drink, kept in a dark place and somewhat cool (e.g. cellar temperature), gains its full flavour after about two weeks.

Vegan recipes with lemon verbena can be found under the note: " Recipes that have the most of this ingredient ".

Not only vegans or vegetarians should read this:
Vegans often eat unhealthily. Avoidable nutritional mistakes

Purchasing - Storage

Can you buy dried lemon verbena? Lemon verbena is rarely available from major retailers such as Coop , Migros , Denner , Volg , Spar , Aldi , Lidl , Rewe , Edeka , Hofer , Billa . Health food stores or organic supermarkets (such as Denn's Biomarkt and Alnatura ) sell dried lemon verbena in the form of verbena teas or as part of a herbal tea blend. The raw food quality of dried goods is not always clear, but according to the organic supplier Heuschrecke , the herb does not tolerate sterilization, which is why heating (steam sterilization) is not used. 17

Where can you buy fresh lemon bush? If you are interested in fresh herbs, you can find them as seeds or in herb pots in hardware stores and garden centers or online.

The availability of lemon verbena varies depending on the size of the store, catchment area, etc. If you are interested, click on our recorded food prices for the DA-CH countries (above under the ingredient image). There you will find current prices from various supermarkets and their price development.

Storage tips

Fresh lemon verbena can be stored in a glass of water in the fridge for a few days, similar to green mint . It will also last for a few months when frozen, but it is recommended to use it for cooked dishes. For a longer shelf life, lemon verbena should be dried. To do this, place the plucked leaves on a clean surface and dry them for two weeks in a warm, dry and dark place. The leaves will keep for a long time in a sealable container. 3

Ingredients - Nutritional values - Calories

The nutritional information here corresponds to that of dried lemon verbena. The ingredients are therefore much more concentrated and, due to the lower water content, are on average 6-15 times more present than in the fresh ingredient. However, you usually consume significantly less of the dried version than the fresh one.

Here we realistically show you the ingredients of spices and herbs per 1 g (instead of per 100 g as usual).

1 g of dried lemon verbena has a calorie content of 2.35 kcal. Fats are barely present at 0.01 g. The carbohydrate content is 0.2 g, of which 0.06 g is sugar. The dried plant is rich in both fiber (0.44 g/1g) and protein (0.13 g/1g). 16

Dried lemongrass contains a lot of vitamin A, at 43 µg/1g. This amount is higher than that of hot paprika powder (25 µg/1g). Dried marjoram also contains a considerable amount of vitamin A, but still contains ten times less (4 µg/1g) than dried lemongrass. An even higher amount can be found in sweet paprika powder (60 µg/1g). 16,18

The vitamin C content in 1 g of dried lemon verbena is 1.76 mg/1g. This is similar to that of dried wild garlic (1.78 mg/1g) and seaweed (1.51 mg/1g). Significantly more vitamin C can be found in dried coriander leaves (5.67 mg/1g). 16,18

0.03 mg of manganese are found in 1 g of dried verbena. Ground cumin has the same content and dried dill (0.04 mg/1g) has a similar content. Ginger powder contains around ten times as much manganese at 0.33 mg/1g. 16,18

Raw lemon verbena is rich in biochemical compounds, phytochemicals and essential oils. The main component of the essential oil is citral (a mixture of neral and geranial) and photocitral A. 4

What does verbena smell like? Citral gives the plant its fine, fresh lemon scent. The scent intensity of the leaves is stronger than that of other similarly smelling plants. Gently rubbing the narrow leaves creates the typical verbena smell, which is reminiscent of citrus aromas. 2

In addition, there are monoterpenes (borneol, limonene, geraniol, nerol and terpineol) and sesquiterpenes (caryophyllene, curcumene, myrcene and isovaleric acid). It also contains flavonoids (such as apigenin, luteolin and 6-hydroxylated flavones) as well as their methyl esters (eupafolin, hispidulin, eupatorin and salvigenin). 4

The complete ingredients of dried lemon verbena , the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values with other ingredients can be found in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health effects

Is lemon verbena healthy? The leaves (Lippiae triphyllae folium) and the essential oil (Lippiae triphyllae aetheroleum) of Aloysia citrodora are usually used for medicinal purposes. 4 The essential oil of the leaves showed positive effects in the treatment of insomnia and led to an improvement in the time it takes to fall asleep, habitual sleep efficiency and subjective sleep quality. Oral intake of lemon verbena as a complementary treatment for people with insomnia is therefore recommended. 5

In animal experiments, researchers were able to demonstrate an anti-cancer effect, which they attributed to the secondary plant substances it contains. 6,7

A 2018 review highlights the diverse biological activities of lemon verbena (Citrus verbena). Antioxidative, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, anticancer, anesthetic, antimicrobial and sedative effects were demonstrated in cell cultures and in animal experiments. However, the plant has not yet been fully evaluated in terms of its safety and efficacy in humans, which will require well-designed human studies in the future. 8

Dangers - Intolerances - Side effects

The German Allergy and Asthma Association ( DAAB ) lists the fragrance citral as one of the potent or highly potent allergenic fragrances. In concentrated form, as can be the case with cosmetic products, these can cause allergic reactions such as redness, itching, blisters or swelling when they come into contact with human skin. Allergy sufferers and sensitive people such as babies, small children and pregnant women should therefore avoid direct contact. 9

Use as a recognized medicinal plant

The properties of lemon verbena are considered to be digestive and calming, and both the leaves and the essential oil extracted from them are used. The dried leaves are traditionally processed into a herbal tea. The tea infusion is said to have an antispasmodic, antipyretic and calming effect. It is used for nervousness, colds, fever, asthma or mild digestive problems with colic, flatulence and diarrhea. 4

Folk medicine - natural medicine

Aromatherapy also makes use of the calming effect of lemon verbena essential oil to relieve inner restlessness, stress-related exhaustion, difficulty falling asleep and minor digestive problems. 2.10

Lemon verbena tea is recommended in naturopathy during breastfeeding, as the ingredients are said to stimulate milk production. Lemon verbena vinegar, on the other hand, is said to have a cooling and invigorating effect on hot skin and heat-related headaches. 2

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

The ecological CO 2 footprint of lemon verbena depends on various factors. The type of agricultural production (conventional vs. organic), average or seasonal or regional production, domestic production or import by truck, ship or plane, different types of packaging and whether the product is fresh or frozen all play a decisive role. 13 Despite extensive research, we were unable to find a specific value for the CO 2 footprint or the water footprint of lemon verbena.

Conventional cultivation of lemon verbena often involves the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides, which have been shown to have a negative impact on important pollinators. It should also be noted that residues of the pesticides used can be found in the end product. This was confirmed by an older study of a wide variety of herbs, all of which were found to be contaminated by pesticides. 20 More recent studies have shown contamination by heavy metals, pesticides and fungicides, but also by plasticizers and BPA (from packaging). 21,22

Organically grown lemon verbena is preferable because organic farming avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Animal protection - species protection

In temperate zones, the lemon bush can be easily kept as an ornamental and aromatic plant - and at the same time as a tea supplier. This is also good for the environment, because this labiate serves as an important source of food for butterflies, carpenter bees and bumblebees. The lemon verbena can therefore help to increase biodiversity in your own garden. 19

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Lemon bushes grow mainly in subtropical regions and originally come from South America (Bolivia, Paraguay and the northwest of Argentina). Today the subshrub is cultivated in other countries in Central America and South America (southern Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela). 14 At the end of the 17th century, Spanish sailors brought the plant to Europe, where Aloysia citrodora is now cultivated mainly in France and partly in Spain, 10 to use its fresh leaves or to process them further; or it is popular as a cut flower in scented bouquets.

Found in the wild

Lemon verbena can now be found in the wild mainly in the regions of Chile and Uruguay. 10 Less frequently in other subtropical regions, such as the Canary Islands (as "hierba luisa") - but also in warmer temperate zones.

Possibility of confusion

In Europe, lemon verbena is often confused with common verbena ( Verbena officinalis ), although they look very different from each other. The name verbena tea is often used for tea made from lemon verbena (or fragrant verbena / fragrant verbena). However, unlike lemon verbena, common verbena has a bitter taste and a rather inconspicuous smell. 2

Cultivation - Harvest

Due to its origins in South America, the lemon bush needs a sunny to full sun location with permeable, humus-rich, rather nutrient-poor and slightly moist soil. It blooms from July to September, but can be harvested all year round. 10

You can also plant lemon verbena in your own garden or in a pot on your balcony. From March to April you can sow it yourself in well-drained, nutrient-poor soil in a sunny spot. In summer or autumn you can easily propagate Aloysia citrodora using cuttings from semi-woody shoots or by layering. 11

It is hardly winter hardy and can only withstand temperatures of -5 °C or colder for a short time. If you keep the lemon verbena in a pot, you can overwinter it in the garage or cellar during the cold season. 12

Further information

The lemon tree ( Aloysia citrodora , syn.: Aloysia triphylla , Verbena triphylla, Verbena citrodora, Lippia triphylla ) is a plant species of the verbena family (Verbenaceae) and the genus Aloysia . 10 The genus name is reminiscent of the Princess of Parma, Maria Luisa, then wife of the Spanish King Carlos IV. 10 In Spanish the plant is known as hierba luisa, in Cuba it is called yerba luisa.

Alternative names

Lemon verbena is also known in German as Zitronenverbena or, as mentioned, as Zitronenstrauch - as well as non-specifically as Verbene and, mainly in Switzerland and France, as Verveine. In English, the verbena plant is called vervain or verbena; the lemon verbena is called lemon verbena. It is also called true or fragrant verbena, 4 although the name 'true verbena' is actually reserved for the common verbena ( Verbena officinalis ) (see above for possible confusion).

Other uses

The intense scent of verbena keeps moths away from the wardrobe and also acts as an insect repellent to drive away mosquitoes. 15 In perfumery, the plant is used in large quantities to produce various types of eau de cologne, fresheners and scented sprays. 1