Try rubbing a leaf of lemon verbena, scientific name Aloysia citrodora, between your fingertips, and smell the aroma that has been released. You will smell a charming, citrusy scent, which will immediately put you in a good mood. But the lemon verbena is not only a fragrant plant, it is also a precious ally for your health. So let's see the properties of lemon verbena on the basis of the most recent scientific research.
Lemon verbena against cellular degeneration and inflammation
Lemon verbena is also characterized by antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its precious active ingredients, such as limonene, geranial, hesperidin and ferulic acid. Not only that, in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that this plant also has anticancer properties, capable of counteracting the development and proliferation of tumors (Rashid et al, Plants, 2022).
Lemon verbena against anxiety and insomnia
Lemon verbena acts on the central nervous system, calming and chasing away anxieties and insomnia (Bahramsoltani et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2018). Studies have found that a four-week treatment with lemon verbena, also taken as a syrup before bedtime, improved sleep quality, reduced the sleep onset latency and daytime sleepiness in people suffering from insomnia ( Afrasiabian et al, Phytother Res, 2019).
Lemon verbena to protect the muscles
How many times, after exercise and in the following days, do you happen to feel muscle pain? Well, this is a normal condition, caused by any type of training and associated with fatigue, inflammation and oxidative stress. Muscles must be regenerated to continue with subsequent sessions of physical activity and avoid injuries. Well, the lemon verbena has shown, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, to accelerate the regeneration processes of the muscles, also alleviating pain and fatigue after physical activity (Buchwald Werner et al, J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2018). At the same time, however, lemon verbena does not block the process of adaptation to physical exercise by muscle tissue cells (Funes et al, Eur J Appl Physiol, 2011).
Lemon verbena and digestion
Lemon verbena has been shown to protect the intestinal tract, counteracting flatulence, colic but also diarrhea (Bahramsoltani et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2018). Not only that, the lemon verbena also helps in case of poor digestion (Farahmandfar et al, Food Sci Nutr, 2018).
Lemon verbena and obesity
Lemon verbena counteracts obesity. In fact, studies have shown that, in the case of a high-fat diet, the intake of extracts of lemon verbena has allowed to reduce the accumulation of fats, blood sugar and lipids circulating in the blood (Diez Echave et al, Mol Nutr Food Res, 2020). Not only that, a research has also observed that the combined action of the polyphenols contained in the lemon verbena and hibiscus, taken in the form of extracts, has allowed to increase the levels of the hormone that induces satiety and at the same time to reduce the hormone that stimulates hunger, a useful condition in case of overweight and obesity (Marina Boix-Castejón et al, Food Funct, 2008).
Lemon verbena, how to take it and warnings
An excellent choice is definitely to take a tea prepared by infusing a teaspoon of lemon verbena leaves in a glass of boiling water for ten minutes. In fact, studies have observed that aqueous extracts of lemon verbena are rich in polyphenols and are therefore characterized by an important antioxidant action (Buchwald Werner et al, J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2018). But lemon verbena can also be added to different preparations, such as fruit salad and even cookies. Indeed, adding dried and powdered lemon verbena to preparations such as biscuits that may contain a high percentage of fats has been shown to protect these fats from oxidation, thus preserving the product's aroma and color for longer periods (Sourki et al, Food Sci Nutr, 2021). Regarding the use of lemon verbena in pregnancy, although some studies report its safety, others indicate signs of toxicity for the fetus, therefore, the advice is to avoid the use of lemon verbena in pregnancy (Fateh et al, Chem Biol Interact, 2019).