Today’s Herb Is Lemon Verbena
Botanical: Lippia citriodora
Family: N.O. Verbenaceae
—Synonyms—Aloysia citriodora. Verveine citronelle or odorante. Herb Louisa. Lemonscented Verbena. Verbena triphylla. Lippia triphylla.
—Parts Used—Leaves, flowering tops.
—Habitat—Chile and Peru. Cultivated in European gardens.
—Description—This deciduous shrub was introduced into England in 1784, reaching a height of 15 feet in the Isle of Wight and in sheltered localities. The leaves are very fragrant, lanceolate, arranged in threes, 3 to 4 inches long, with smooth margins, pale green in colour, having parallel veins at right-angles to the mid-rib and flat bristles along the edges. The many small flowers are pale purple, blooming during August in slim, terminal panicles. The leaves, which have been suggested to replace tea, will retain their odour for years and are used in perfumery. They should be gathered at flowering time.
All the species of Lippia abound in volatile oil.
—Constituents—The odour is due to an essential oil obtainable by distillation. It has not been analysed in detail.
—Medicinal Action and Uses—Febrifuge, sedative. The uses of Lemon Verbena are similar to those of mint, orange flowers, or melissa, as a stomachic and antispasmodic in dyspepsia, indigestion and flatulence, stimulating skin and stomach.
—Dosage—The decoction may be taken in several daily doses of three tablespoonsful.
Lippia Scaberrima, or Beukessboss ofSouth Africa, yields an essential oil with an odour like lavender, named Lippianol. It has a peculiar crystalline appearance, with the qualities of a monohydric alcohol.
From L. mexicana or possibly Cedronella mexicana, an essential oil resembling that of fennel was separated, and also a substance like camphor, called Lippioil.
The essence of Lemon-Grass, or Andropogon Schoenanthus, should not be confused with that of Lemon-Scented Verbena.