Every once in a while I hit a writing block, and this is one of those weeks. Each time I struggle like this, I take a walk around the house to see if there is anything new in my world that I could share.
In the past week we’ve brought in our plants for the winter… kaffir lime, my lemon tree, sage, rosemary, and lemon verbena. We are so in love with lemon verbena here at the house, so I’ve decided to write a little bit about it.
Lemon Verbena Benefits (Aloysia triphylla)
We grew our lemon verbena plant in the middle of our vegetable garden in a pot this year. It is actually a tropical shrub that is native to Argentina and Chile. I know it mainly for its strong lemon flavor and smell. It is common to find it in many dessert recipes for this reason.
This year, while on a camping trip with my husband, I made my morning campfire tea with just a bit of hot water and a few leaves of lemon verbena. It was very tasty and gave us a strong lift.
A. triphylla can be used for the following:
- As a digestive aid to settle the stomach
- To reduce phlegm in the digestive tract
- To expel mucus from the chest and reduce coughing
- As a sedative
- To ease stress and anxiety
- To ease joint pain
- For boosting the immune system
- Topically, as an anti-inflammatory for acne
- To reduce a fever
- Topically, to reduce the appearance of cellulite
Growing Lemon Verbena
If you decide to grow a lemon verbena of your own, you can still buy one from specialty growers. Remember that the plant is tropical so it needs to be kept relatively warm. It won’t thrive outdoors in temperate winters. When you bring it inside as I’ve just done, it helps to give it a bit of a trim. Most of your leaves will drop anyway due to the transition from outside to inside so its best to make use of them before they yellow.
Leaves can be used right away, kept in the fridge for a week or two, or simply dried for later use.
Water your plant just as the soil is drying out – don’t keep it too wet. A bit of misting from time to time will benefit it and mimic the humidity it likes. Position lemon verbena in full sun and it will reward you with a large crop of leaves for food and healing.
Lemon Verbena Butter
- 2 Tbsp lemon verbena leaves (grow your own or find organic lemon verbena here)
- 1 stick of butter, room temperature
Finely chop the lemon verbena leaves and stir into the butter. Store butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze the butter wrapped in freezer paper and stored inside a zip-top freezer bag.
Add this butter to vegetables, fish, desserts, or bread.