Lemon verbena has a fresh, lemony flavor. The raw leaves are used in salads and to add flavor to desserts. The herb is also used to prepare a wide range of drinks. A tea infusion with lemon verbena is calming, stimulates the appetite, and promotes digestion. Today, lemon verbena is still found in the wild in Chili and Uruguay.
From Wikipedia: “Aloysia citrodora is a species of flowering plant in the verbena family Verbenaceae, native to western South America. Common names include lemon verbena and lemon beebrush. It was brought to Europe by the Spanish and the Portuguese in the 17th century and cultivated for its oil.”
“Lemon verbena originates from the subtropical regions of South America (Uruguay, Argentina (Catamarca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Salta, and Tucumán), Chili, and Peru) and was brought to Europe around the end of the eighteenth century.*”
“Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or subshrub growing to 2–3 m high. The 8-cm-long, glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon when bruised (hence the Latin specific epithet citrodora—lemon-scented).
Sprays of tiny purple or white flowers appear in late spring or early summer. It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F), although the wood is hardy to −10 °C (14 °F). Due to its many culinary uses, it is widely listed and marketed as a plant for the herb garden.”
“Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet. In addition, it has anti-Candida albicans activity. In the European Union, Verbena essential oils (Lippia citriodora Kunth.) and derivatives other than absolute are prohibited when used as a fragrance ingredient (Commission Directive 2009/164/EU of 22 December 2009). ...
When making teas, it is said to help with muscle spasms, stomach pain, menstrual cramping, anxiety, and a fever reducer.”
“Lemon verbena extract containing 25% verbascoside showed strong antioxidant capacity, especially in a lipophilic environment, which was higher than expected as concluded from the antioxidant capacity of pure verbascoside, probably due to synergistic effects. The capacity of verbascoside to act as an effective radical scavenger in lipophilic environments was also shown. Verbascoside-enriched extracts might have interesting applications in cosmetic, nutraceuticals or functional food.”
“Small sacks or bunches of lemon verbena bring a fresh fragrance into your home or refrigerator.*”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry