What does vervain smell like?


History and Folklore

Verbena spp

Vervain or Verbena is an herbaceous, sometimes woody perennial with opposite, narrow, oval-shaped, toothed leaves and small, five-petaled flowers that are usually blue to purple in color but may be pink or white. These flowers appear in dense spikes in late spring to summer. Various varieties of vervain grow wild throughout the United States and Europe. Vervain has no fragrance.

Verbena officinalis – Native to Europe. Also known as Verbena, Herba Sacre, herba veneris, herb of the cross
Verbena hastata – Native to North America. Also known as American vervain, False vervain, Indian hyssop, Purvain, Simpler’s joy, Traveler’s joy, Blue Vervain, Wild hyssop

It is said the vervain was used to staunch the wounds of Christ on the cross at cavalry and this is where its healing powers come from.

The word vervain comes from the Celtic term ferfaen meaning “to drive away stones” as it was believed to be a helpful treatment for kidney stones.


This is a good plant for a wildlife garden because both bees and butterflies find it attractive.

Vervain likes a sunny spot and is not picky about soil provided it does not allow standing water. Plant the seeds in the spring with a very light covering. They may take a few weeks to germinate but will come back year after year.

Harvesting & Storage

The magic of vervain is said to be the strongest when it is gathered after sunset or before dawn on the dark of the moon. A libation of milk or honey should be left after gathering the plant. Leaves should be harvested before the flowers are open. The root may be dug up after the plant dies back in the fall.

The herb is best used fresh but may be hung to dry in a dark, well-ventilated place.

Magical Attributes

Vervain resonates with the energy of Gemini, the planet Venus and the element Water. It is considered feminine in nature. Vervain is associated with Cerridwen, Isis, Thor, Jupiter. It can also be used in Midsummer celebrations.

Vervain combined with any other herbs in magical work is believed by some to enhance the action of these herbs.

The vervain plant may be bruised and worn about the neck for protection from both headaches and snakebites. This charm is also said to bring help to you when you need it, no matter how dire your situation. A fresh sprig carried on your person helps protect from baneful magick spells cast against you.

Vervain may be planted or placed around your property to protect it from damage by bad weather.

Vervain may be used in rituals to Thor or Jupiter. It may be burned as an offering or infused into water and sprinkled on the altar for purification. In Hellenic rituals, the plants may be bundled and used to sweep the alter or ritual area or dipped into sacred water to asperge the altar or ritual area.

It can also be used in a wash to rid an area or person of negative energies and may be combined with dill for this purpose.

Vervain may be used in love spells to rekindle a dying love. It may also be woven into bridal wreaths or carried in bridal bouquets to ensure love to the couple.

Drinking a tea made of vervain is said to ward off vampires.

A vervain plant buried in the garden will bring abundant crops.

The leaves may be burned to attract wealth.

Healing Attributes

Verbena hastata is recommended for healing. Vervain tea is bitter but relaxing. It is a good nerve tonic and may help with mild insomnia. It is also useful for people suffering from work-related stress. Women who are experiencing problems with menstruation due to stress may also find some relief from taking vervain tea. This tea may also help with bladder problems and acts as a diuretic. It can help with gall bladder issues and stimulates the liver.

Excessive use of vervain tea may lead to nausea.

Culinary Use

Vervain flowers may be placed in a dish with salt for several days to flavor the salt and add its unique energy to foods seasoned with the salt. Strain out the verbena flowers before using the salt.


Vervain Family (Verbenaceae)

Other Names:


Origin and Distribution:

White vervain is native of North America. White Vervain is common in eastern and central parts of the U.S. and rare on the west coast. It is also distributed throughout Ohio. White vervain establishes in old fields, pastures, roadsides, thickets, wood edges, and other disturbed places. The species prefers rich, heavy soils

Plant Description:

White vervain is an upright perennial. Among the characteristics it shares with other vervain species are small flowers consisting of 5 united petals in the form of a slender tube with a flared top. Flowers are located in dense spikes at the end of square stems. Fruits are nutlets that separate into 4, single-seeded sections and remain attached to the spike. White vervain has oblong-oval leaves, small white flowers, airy spikes, and widely-separated fruits scattered along the stem. It reproduces by seeds and spreads by short rhizomes (horizontal underground stems).

  • Root System:

    Roots are fibrous. Adventitious roots appear early at the soil surface and soon equal the taproot in length.

  • Seedlings and Shoots:

    Young leaves have hairs on the upper surface, edges, and veins on their lower surface. If crushed, leaves smell like puffballs. Young leaves and stems have dull purple staining.

  • Stems:

    Stem are 3 to 5 feet tall, slender, erect, square, grooved, slightly hairy, and have few branches. Stems often appear purplish

  • Leaves:

    Leaves are opposite (2 leaves per node), 1 to 5 inches long, oblong-oval, and have deeply-serrated edges.

  • Flowers:

    Flowers are about 1/10 inch wide and white. They consist of 5 petals that are united forming a slender tube with a flared top. Numerous, open, long, slender spikes of small flowers form at the ends of stems and axillary branches. Flowers are scattered along the length of the stem giving spikes an airy appearance.

  • Fruits and Seeds:

    Scattered along the length of the spike are widely-dispersed fruits that separate into 4 oval nutlets. Nutlets are reddish-brown, single-seeded, and have a netted surface.


White Vervain flowers in July through September.


None known.

Facts and Folklore:

  • Vervain was very popular in European folklore. People wore necklaces of the flowers as charms to cure headaches, prevent snake bites, and bring general good luck. Priests and Druids were said to use it during rites and incantations.

  • The plant was discovered on the Mount of Calvary, where it was used to dress the wounds of crucified Jesus Christ.

  • When medicines were in short supply during the Revolutionary War, doctors used vervain as an emetic and expectorant with favorable results.

  • Nearly 200 species in the genus Verbena are found in the New World. Many of these species have been hybridized and cultivated by New World inhabitants.

Lemon Verbena

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 22, 2019.

Clinical Overview


Lemon verbena extract has demonstrated antioxidant activity and the essential oil has shown antimicrobial properties, but support of clinical applications is lacking.

There are no clinical studies to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any dosing regimens. Traditional dosage of a 45 mL decoction taken several times per day has been described.


Contraindications have not been identified. Avoid in renal insufficiency.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

None well documented.

Contact hypersensitivity has been associated with members of related species. Avoid in renal insufficiency because lemon verbena is excreted via renal route.

Lemon verbena is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption and for use as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages.

Scientific Family

  • Verbenaceae


Lemon verbena is a deciduous, aromatic plant native to Argentina and Chile, growing to 3 m and characterized by fragrant lemon-scented, narrow leaves. It bears small, white flowers in terminal panicles.1, 2, 3 Lemon verbena is commonly cultivated in the tropics and Europe and grown commercially in France and North Africa. Synonyms include Lippia citrodora Kunth, Lippia triphylla (L’Her.) Kuntze, Verbena triphylla L’Her., Zappania citrodora Lam.

Lemon verbena has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries as an antispasmodic, antipyretic, carminative, sedative, and stomachic, among other indications. The leaves and flowering tops are used in teas and as beverage flavors. Its fragrance is used in perfumery.1, 4, 5


An essential oil, present in small quantities (0.42% to 0.65%), is extracted from lemon verbena leaves by steam distillation. Known as “oil of verbena,” it contains a variety of fragrant compounds, including neral, citral (35%), methyl heptenone, carvone, l-limonene, dipentene, and geraniol. Flavonoids (including vitexin), phenolic acids, and iridoid glycosides (verbascosides) have been described,5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and high-performance liquid chromatography methods have been utilized.7

The content and composition of the essential oil varies by genotype, plant part, growth stage, time of harvesting, and region of cultivation.3, 10 The European Pharmacopoeia describes the essential oil and chemical markers for the species, including the phenylpropanoid glucoside acetoside.10

Uses and Pharmacology


Animal data

An alcoholic leaf extract demonstrated antibiotic activity in vitro against Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Staphylococcus aureus.4, 11 Insecticidal activity has been described, suggesting possible applications for controlling head lice infestations and as a mosquito repellent (possibly due to the limonene content).12, 13, 14 A 2% emulsion of the oil was reported to kill mites and aphids.4

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of lemon verbena for bactericidal effects.

Antioxidant activity

Experiments in rats and laboratory tests have demonstrated the antioxidant activity of lemon verbena extracts.6, 8, 15 Antioxidant enzymes and blood indices have been measured, and protection against induced colon inflammation was demonstrated.16, 17 It has been suggested that lemon verbena’s antioxidant activity is similar to that of green tea18

In healthy male volunteers (N = 15), supplementation with verbena extract containing 10% verbascoside had a modest effect on cytokine response and exercise-induced oxidative damage of neutrophils.19 In a small clinical trial, C-reactive protein levels and markers of oxidative stress decreased in patients with certain forms of multiple sclerosis who were given a low-fat diet supplemented with lemon verbena extract.20

Other uses


The chemical constituent vitexin showed spasmolytic activity in isolated rat duodenum.5 Chinese investigators have reported antitussive activity in a component of the related plant Verbena officinalis.21


There are no clinical studies to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any dosing regimens. Traditional dosage of a 45 mL decoction taken several times a per day has been described.4

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.4


None well documented. Apigenin, a chemical constituent of lemon verbena, is a cyclooxygenase inhibitor.4

Adverse Reactions

Contact hypersensitivity has been associated with members of related species. Avoid in renal insufficiency because lemon verbena is excreted renally.4, 22 One study described urinary excretion of verbascoside metabolites as hydroxycinnamic acids.22


Lemon verbena is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption and for use as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages.23 Extracts were not genotoxic to human blood in an evaluation of genotoxic biomarkers.17

Index Terms

  • Lippia citrodora Kunth
  • Lippia triphylla (L’Her.) Kuntze
  • Verbena triphylla L’Her.
  • Zappania citrodora Lam

1. Simon JE, Chadwick AF, Craker LE. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography, 1971-1980. Hamden, CT: Archon Books; 1984.2. Aloysia triphylla (L’Hér.) Britton. USDA,NRCS. 2015. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 16 April 2015). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC. 27401-4901. USA.3. Gil A, Van Baren CM, Di Leo Lira PM, Bandoni AL. Identification of the genotype from the content and composition of the essential oil of lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora Palau). J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(21):8664-8669.178801594. Duke JA, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, duCellier J, Duke P. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2002.5. Ragone MI, Sella M, Conforti P, Volonté MG, Consolini AE. The spasmolytic effect of Aloysia citriodora, Palau (South American cedrón) is partially due to its vitexin but not isovitexin on rat duodenums. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;113(2):258-266.176408366. Quirantes-Piné R, Herranz-López M, Funes L, et al. Phenylpropanoids and their metabolites are the major compounds responsible for blood-cell protection against oxidative stress after administration of Lippia citriodora in rats. Phytomedicine. 2013;20(12):1112-1118.238276677. Quirantes-Piné R, Arráez-Román D, Segura-Carretero A, Fernández-Gutiérrez A. Characterization of phenolic and other polar compounds in a lemon verbena extract by capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. J Sep Sci. 2010;33(17-18):2818-2827.207151418. Bilia AR, Giomi M, Innocenti M, Gallori S, Vincieri FF. HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS analysis of the constituents of aqueous preparations of verbena and lemon verbena and evaluation of the antioxidant activity. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008;46(3):463-470.181553789. Duke JA. Handbook of Biologically Active Phytochemicals and Their Activities. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1992.10. Di Leo Lira P, van Baren CM, López S, et al. Northwestern Argentina: a center of genetic diversity of lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora PALÁU, Verbenaceae). Chem Biodivers. 2013;10(2):251-261.2341817211. Ghaemi EO, Khorshidi D, Moradi A, et al. The efficacy of ethanolic extract of lemon verbena on the skin infection due to Staphylococcus aureus in an animal model. Pak J Biol Sci. 2007;10(22):4132-4135.1909029312. Toloza AC, Zygadlo J, Biurrun F, Rotman A, Picollo MI. Bioactivity of Argentinean essential oils against permethrin-resistant head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis. J Insect Sci. 2010;10:185.2106214013. Gillij YG, Gleiser RM, Zygadlo JA. Mosquito repellent activity of essential oils of aromatic plants growing in Argentina. Bioresour Technol. 2008;99(7):2507-2515.1758349914. Werdin González JO, Laumann RA, da Silveira S, Moraes MC, Borges M, Ferrero AA. Lethal and sublethal effects of four essential oils on the egg parasitoids Trissolcus basalis. Chemosphere. 2013;92(5):608-615.2366447315. Lenoir L, Joubert-Zakeyh J, Texier O, Lamaison JL, Vasson MP, Felgines C. Aloysia triphylla infusion protects rats against dextran sulfate sodium-induced colonic damage. J Sci Food Agric. 2012;92(7):1570-1572.2219024416. Lenoir L, Rossary A, Joubert-Zakeyh J, et al. Lemon verbena infusion consumption attenuates oxidative stress in dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in the rat. Dig Dis Sci. 2011;56(12):3534-3545.2168800917. Portmann E, Nigro MM, Reides CG, et al. Aqueous extracts of Lippia turbinata and Aloysia citriodora (Verbenaceae): assessment of antioxidant capacity and DNA damage. Int J Toxicol. 2012;31(2):192-202.2242719918. Abderrahim F, Estrella S, Susin C, Arribas SM, González MC, Condezo-Hoyos L. The antioxidant activity and thermal stability of lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) infusion. J Med Food. 2011;14(5):517-527.2143477519. Funes L, Carrera-Quintanar L, Cerdán-Calero M, et al. Effect of lemon verbena supplementation on muscular damage markers, proinflammatory cytokines release and neutrophils’ oxidative stress in chronic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(4):695-705.2096745820. Mauriz E, Vallejo D, Tuñon MJ, et al. Effects of dietary supplementation with lemon verbena extracts on serum inflammatory markers of multiple sclerosis patients. Nutr Hosp. 2014;31(2):764-771.2561756121. Gui CH. Antitussive constituents of Verbena officinalis . Zhong Yao Tong Bao. 1985;10(10):35.293877722. Felgines C, Fraisse D, Besson C, Vasson MP, Texier O. Bioavailability of lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) polyphenols in rats: impact of colonic inflammation. Br J Nutr. 2014;111(10):1773-1781.2451311023. Lemon-verbena. Food for Human Consumption. Fed Regist. 2014;21(3):2014. 21CFR172.510.


This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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More about lemon verbena

Related treatment guides

  • Herbal Supplementation

Aloysia citrodora (Lemon verbena, Lemon beebrush) is a shrub appreciated mainly for the properties of its leaves that exudes a sweet lemon scent. It is simply delicious when we stroll through the garden on a windy day and we smell its fresh scent everywhere. Lemon verbena was brought to Europe by the Portuguese and the Spanish in the 17th century and cultivated for its oil.

Common name: Lemon verbena, Lemon beebrush
Scientific name: Aloysia citrodora
Plant type: Shrubs
Habit: Spreading / Branched
Foliage: Evergreen
Foliage color: Green
Season of interest: Summer
Sunlight: Full Sun, Partial shade
Moisture: Moist but well drained
Garden type: Informal Garden
Planting type: Flower borders and bedding
Other characteristics: Aromatic leaves

The genus contains about 40 species of evergreen shrubs originating in America. They are cultivated mainly by the aroma of its leaves, from which oils are extracted for various purposes.

How to plant

Lemon beebrush likes well-drained, light-textured soils. It prefers a position where it can benefit from direct direct sunlight. Lemon verbena does not like winter frost where the leaves and stems tend to be burned. This shrub can be cutted by the base to reborn every spring.

It can be cultivated in pots in colder climates so you can move it to a more sheltered place during the winter months. Early pruning during springtime stimulates the growth of the flowers, they are small and white and produced in groups on the terminal buds of the branches during the summer.

Aloysia citrodora (Lemon verbena, Lemon beebrush) flowers


Since it is a shrub with disorderly growth, it must be constantly pruned to maintain a more compact shape.

Aloysia citrodora (Lemon verbena, Lemon beebrush) can be propagated by semi-ripe cuttings in the summer or softwood cuttings in spring.

Spread our dear plants:

  • Lemon herbs are easy to grow and add a tangy zest to many dishes.

    Lemony herbs—lemon flavored and scented—are easy to grow and add a tangy zest to many dishes. Fresh leaves are commonly torn and added directly to salads and main dishes as seasoning or garnish. Leaves and some flowers can be steeped in teas or blended into oils and vinegars. All can be preserved for later use.

    Lemon flavored and scented herbs include lemon thyme, lemon basil, lemon mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass, and lemon bergamot.

    Lemony herbs can be grown in nearly every climate region except the very coldest. Grow these herbs in the garden from spring through summer. They require sun to partial sun and well-drained soil; most need slightly compost rich soil, but little extra attention. Almost all can be grown year-round indoors.

    Lemon herb butter is very easy to prepare: combine 5 tablespoons of any lemon herb (except for lemongrass) with a stick of room temperature unsalted butter and mix well by hand or use a food processor. Your lemon herb butter can be melted over vegetables or meats or grilled chicken or fish or for hot herb bread.

    Lemon herb-infused oil for brushing on grilled meats, fish or vegetables or to use in stir-fries or to drizzle on pasta or rice dishes (sparingly) is also easy to make: heat 1 cup of olive oil in a skillet until hot; add 2 or 3 cloves of garlic minced; stir until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and add a third of a cup or slightly more of fresh lemon herb leaves and steep for one hour at room temperature. Strain the leaves from the oil and store in a capped glass jar with a nonmetal lid for up to two weeks.

    Here are lemony herbs easy to grow and kitchen use suggestions:

    Lemon balm

    Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

    • Kitchen use: Use fresh leaves finely chopped in salads, white sauces for fish, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, poultry and pork. Add to fruit salads, jellies, custards, fruit drinks, and wine cups. Infuse fresh leaves for melissa tea. Add to blended vinegars: lemon balm and tarragon are well matched.
    • Description: Lemon-scented, hairy, strong-veined, toothed, oval and light green leaves; pale yellow flower blooms in clusters, matures to white to pale blue.
    • Grow: Grow in full sun with midday shade; grow in moisture retentive, well-drained soil. Allow 2 feet in all directions when planting; bushy and mounding form. Not hardy below 20°F.
    • Propagate: Sow in spring; divide plant or take stem cuttings in spring or fall; self sows.
    • Harvest: Flavor best when flowers begin to open; handle gently, bruises easily.
    • Preserve: Dry leaves; add fresh leaves to vinegar.
    • Varieties: ‘All Gold’ and variegated ‘Aurea.’

    Lemon thyme

    Lemon Thyme (Thymus x citridorus)

    • Kitchen use: Use in place of lemon, lemon zest, or lemon flavoring in any recipe. Use fresh for true lemon flavor; loses delicate citrus scent when dried. Add to chicken, fish, hot vegetables, fruit salads, and jams.
    • Description: Lemon scented, bright green leaves. Grows upright to 12 inches high and wide.
    • Grow: Plant in full sun in light. Grow in well-drained soil, slightly alkaline—not too rich in organic matter. Set transplants 15 inches apart. Prune frequently. Protect in winter; can grow indoors.
    • Propagate: Sow in spring; take 2 to 3 inch stem cutting and heel in spring or summer; divide roots or layer stems in spring or fall.
    • Harvest: Pick in bloom for best flavor; summer blooming.
    • Preserve: Dry leaves; make thyme vinegar or oil.
    • Varieties: ‘Aureus’ Golden lemon creeping thyme with yellow-tinged leaves sprawling habit; ‘Lemon Frost’ is low growing; ‘Silver Lemon Queen’ has silver splashed leaves; ‘Lemon Curd’ is long wiry with narrow leaves.


    Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

    • Kitchen use: Use bottom third of stock; peel off outer sheath and thin slice or pound inner stem for salads or seasoning. Use in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.
    • Description: Strong lemon scented; inch-wide strappy leaves growing in clumps. Plant grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide
    • Grow: Plant in full sun in well-drained, moisture retentive soil. Can survive mild winters, otherwise overwinter in a greenhouse.
    • Propagate: Divide plant in spring or fall; grows from divisions.
    • Harvest: Cut off thick, bulbous stem just above ground level; use the bottom third of each stalk. Upper part of leaf blades are sharp and too tough to eat.
    • Preserve: Thin slice and freeze in sealed plastic bag; will keep for several months.

    Lemon basil

    Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

    • Kitchen use: Use in pesto sauce and to flavor blended vinegars; use to flavor fish or fowl; tear with fingers rather than chop.
    • Description: Lemony scented green, oval, puckered leaves, white flowers; grows to 12 inches tall.
    • Grow: Grow in full sun or partial shade in hot regions. Grow in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil. Avoid overwatering; best to water at midday. Grows well in containers and indoors.
    • Propagate: Sow in warm situation after danger of frost has passed.
    • Harvest: Best flavor picked young; harvest often to prevent flowering.
    • Preserve: Freeze leaves after lightly coating in oil or dry. Infuse leaves in oil or vinegar.
    • Varieties: ‘Mrs. Burns’ produces large leaves; ‘Sweet Dani’ has strong scent.

    Lemon mint

    Lemon Mint (Mentha x. aquatica ‘Citrata’)

    • Kitchen use: Infuse/steep in teas; use for mint sauce, vinegar; add fresh leaves to new potatoes, fruit salads, drinks; use in soups and stuffings.
    • Description: Smooth, lemon-scented, mid-green leaves. Plant grows to 16 inches tall and wide.
    • Grow: Plant in full sun or light shade or sun; prefers well-drained , compost-rich soil. Thin to 16 inches apart. Best to grow in large pots—roots are invasive. Remove flowering stems to avoid cross-pollination between mint species. Can grow indoors.
    • Propagate: Sow in spring; take or stem cuttings, or divide in spring and fall; stem cuttings will root in water.
    • Harvest: Pick leaves just before flowering for best flavor.
    • Preserve: Dry, freeze, or infuse leaves in oil or vinegar.


    Lemon Bergamot (Monarad citriodora)

    • Kitchen use: Flower can be sprinkled on salads sparingly. Infuse or simmer leaves in tea for 10 minutes to add flavor to tea. Fresh leaf added to China tea gives Earl Gray flavor. Use in wine cups and lemonade.
    • Description: Toothed, oval leaf with dark reddish veining; squared stem. Flowers have tight head with tubular scarlet blooms.
    • Grow: Plant in sun or partial shade in hot regions. Grow in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil rich in organic matter. Thin to 18 inches apart. Not suitable for indoor growing.
    • Propagate: Sow in spring; divide or take root cuttings in spring; take stem cuttings in summer.
    • Harvest: Pick leaves in spring or in summer when flowers form. Pick flowers when open.
    • Preserve: Dry leaves or flowers.

    Lemon verbena

    Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)

    • Kitchen use: Strong citrus scent and flavor; use fresh leaves to flavor oil and vinegar; infuse/steep leaves as herb tea. Finely chopped leaves to flavor, drinks, puddings, jelly, cakes, and ice cream.
    • Description: Long, lance-shaped and toothed, pointed leaves with central vein arranged in threes; stems are ridged, round green in first season, red in second season.
    • Grow: Plant in full in sandy, moist but well-drained soil; grows in alkaline and poor soil. Protect from frost indoors.
    • Propagate: Sow in spring; root from softwood cutting in late spring.
    • Harvest: Leaves can be picked at any time, but best when flowers begin to bloom.
    • Preserve: Use fresh leaves to flavor oil and vinegar. Dry leaves.

    More tips at How to Start an Herb Garden

    Learn about 13 Best Scented Flowers that smell like lemon and orange. As citrus scents boost Serotonin (*a hormone that makes you happy), growing these fragrant plants can be rewarding.

    Citrus scents are known to uplift mood and spirit. Also, they stimulate the nervous system, making you more alert, attentive, and happy. A study that supports this claim is here.
    So having plants that bear lemon scented flowers or orange scented flowers in your garden or home is a great way to enhance your mood.

    1. Lemon-Scented Geranium

    Photographed at Strybing Arboretum

    Botanical Name: Pelargonium crispum

    USDA Zones: 9-10

    Native to South Africa, the foliage of this warm climate plant is also lemon scented just like the flowers. Although, the flowers are very mildly fragrant and showy than bedding geraniums. The leaves are fan-shaped and look attractive because of the crinkled edges. The plant has shrubby and hairy foliage and can reach a height of around 2 feet. It becomes a beautiful container plant, and those who live in a cool climate can grow this as an annual.

    Growing Tips:

    • The loamy and light soil is perfect.
    • Place the plant where it receives at least 5 hours of direct sun. In a dry tropical region, protection from afternoon sun is essential.
    • Provide a minimum spacing of 6 inches for adequate root growth.

    2. Mock Orange

    Botanical Name: Philadelphus coronarius

    USDA Zones: 4-7

    Mock orange is a small to medium size shrub that fits well in containers. The flowers are white with a refreshing orange-like smell and start to appear from summer. In the garden, it can also be used to provide a privacy screen or as a hedge plant.

    Growing Tips:

    • Growing mock orange is easy, it prefers growing in a sunny site.
    • Soil that retains moisture must be avoided while planting the mock orange shrub as it doesn’t like wet feet.
    • If you’re a container gardener, choose a medium to a large sized pot to plant it.
    • We also added it in our list of best scented flowers, check it out here.

    Also Read: Best Chocolate Scented Flowers

    3. Gas Plant

    Botanical Name: Dictamnus albus var purpureus

    USDA Zones: 2-9

    Also, known as burning bush shrub, it is not a common plant, and you’ll rarely come across it in the garden. This low maintenance perennial is slow to establish and almost takes three long years before it starts to flower. Foliage is bushy and forms the upright clusters of glossy green color, which are lemon scented. It bears showy, fragrant purplish flowers from early summer to the end of summer. It can grow between 40-100 cm high. An interesting thing you can try with it is igniting a matchstick below the spiky flower for a burst of methane gas.

    Growing Tips:

    • Get an old plant from a nursery so that you don’t have to wait long for flowers.
    • It does well in full sun and partial shade.
    • A little alkaline soil that is well-draining and rich in organic matter and does not become soggy is optimum.
    • This plant is drought tolerant, water it moderately, and avoid overwatering.
    • Due to its long taproot, do not move or divide the gas plant once it is established.

    4. Orange Jessamine or Jesamine

    Botanical Name: Murraya paniculata

    USDA Zones: 9-11

    This flowering shrub deserves the number one spot when it comes to best scented flowers that smell like lemon or orange. It is native to tropical parts of the Indian subcontinent and China, where it blooms heavily, year round. Grow this shrub in a container if you’re living in a cool climate to enjoy the warm scent!

    Growing Tips:

    • Growing orange jessamine shrub in a pot is easy.
    • Place the shrub in sunniest site possible.
    • Change the pot when it outgrows the existing container.
    • Avoid overwatering and water moderately.

    Also Read: how to keep flowers blooming

    5. Bikovo

    Botanical Name: Geranium x cantabrigiense

    USDA Zones: 4-8

    Bikovo is very common in Croatia. A hybrid of Geranium dalmaticum and Geranium macrorrhizum, it does not require much maintenance. The flowers appear from spring to summer and exhibit beautiful shade of white with a flush of pink at the center. The low spreading foliage gets a delightful shade of red in the fall. Both foliage and flowers have almost lemony fragrance.

    Growing Tips:

    • Plant it in a full sun or partial shade. It can tolerate full shade but doesn’t bloom prolifically.
    • In hot climates, grow this plant as an annual.
    • Plant it in the well-draining soil.
    • Removing flowered stems and dead leaves regularly promotes the production.

    6. Rose ‘Angel Face’

    Botanical Name: Rosa angel face

    USDA Zones: 5-10

    Angel Face Rose is a hybrid floribunda rose that stands out well among the thousands of other hybrid rose varieties. Its stunning lavender colored flowers produce a strong and sweet fruity fragrance with notes of lemon. The blooms are bigger and fuller with around 30 petals per bloom.

    Growing Tips:

    • Growing it is similar to all the rose plants.
    • Like other rose plants, it also requires basking in the full sun for around 6-8 hours.
    • Add a layer of mulch to the soil, so it remains moist and cool.
    • Take good care when the plant is young, once established, it will not stop blooming from spring to end of fall.
    • In the spring, bud starts to form, boost your plant by the application of fertilizer.
    • Check out our article for help.

    7. Bergamot

    Botanical Name: Monarda didyma

    USDA Zones: 3-10

    Bergamot is a herb, which also goes with the common names like Bee Balm, Monarda, Horsemint, and Scarlet Beebalm. It is called bergamot because of its bergamot orange-like fragrance. An ideal plant for herb, cottage or rock gardens! It also attracts pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bumblebees, which is a bonus.

    Growing Tips:

    • It prefers well-draining moist soil rich in organic matter.
    • It does equally well in partial shade and full sun.
    • It is susceptible to powdery mildew so plant it at a place where air circulation is good.
    • Get the detailed information on how to grow bergamot with our article.

    8. Winter Daphne

    Botanical Name: Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’

    USDA Zones: 7-9

    Just like the sirens of Greek mythology that lures fellow travelers, winter daphne lures the gardeners with its sweet fragrance. Some people say that the fragrance somewhat resembles lemonish vanilla while some believe there is no trace of citrus in it. Whatever the case might be, no one ever said that the fragrance is not alluring.

    Growing Tips:

    • It does well in well-drained and moisture-rich soil. Make sure to add ample amount of organic matter to it.
    • Place the plant in partial sun.
    • Prune the plant lightly and only when necessary as deep pruning may hinder the plant growth.

    9. Chinese Perfume Tree (Mock Lemon)

    Botanical Name: Aglaia odorata

    USDA Zones: 9-11

    The everblooming Chinese perfume tree never stops showing its fragrant bright yellow blossoms when the weather is warm, the notes of lemony scent makes it an amazing addition to a fragrant garden. It grows best in the hot tropical areas. In cooler regions, it’s often sold as a houseplant as it is quite adaptable to indoor conditions.

    Growing Tips:

    • The mock lemon tree prefers full sun to partial shade but adapts well to low light conditions as an indoor plant.
    • Keep it near a South facing window, if growing as a houseplant.
    • It can grow up to five meters tall (around 15 feet), but you can easily maintain the height and grow it in a large container.
    • Use light soil that is rich in organic matter and drains well.
    • Water the soil deeply but moderately, only when the topsoil is dry.

    10. Mexican Orange

    Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata ‘Aztec Pearl’)

    Botanical Name: Choisya ternata

    USDA Zones: 7b-11

    Choisya an evergreen small sized dense shrub that doesn’t grow above 6-8 feet tall. It’s heavenly citrus scented flowers are similar in appearance and fragrance of orange blossoms, which is why it is known as Mexican Orange.

    Growing Tips:

    • Mexican orange is a wonderful small shrub to add in your container garden collection.
    • It requires full sunlight, but in hot climates, save the plant from afternoon sun.
    • Choose a spot that is protected from cold drafts and strong winds.
    • Water moderately, the plant doesn’t mind sitting in slight moisture.

    11. Iris ‘Blue Rhythm’

    Botanical Name: Iris croatica

    USDA Zones: 3-9

    As the name suggests, blue rhythm produces flowers in the gorgeous shade of blue. It’s a sight to withhold, the pencil-shaped buds unveil and spread vibrant colors in the warmth of spring. The majestic plant continues to add drama in the garden with its sword-shaped foliage after the flowering season. The best part is the flowers are lemon-scented. Resting at the top, granting the overall 40 inches height to the plant.

    Growing Tips:

    • Flavescens, Polygonatum odoratum ‘Lemon Seoul’, Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’ and Black Lace are some other iris cultivars with citrus-like fragrance.
    • Direct sunlight of around 6 hours is required for the optimum growth.
    • Check out this helpful growing guide for more info.

    12. Lemon Myrtle

    Botanical Name: Backhousia citriodora

    USDA Zones: 9-11

    This Austrailian plant produces the showiest flowers among the lemon-scented flowers in this list. In the growing season, the creamy white flowers appear in clusters. Lemon myrtle leaves have the highest amount of citral, a compound that is responsible for the citrus scent. Its leaves are used for many medicinal, cosmetic, and household purposes.

    Growing Tips:

    • It can grow from cuttings and seeds.
    • In a mild climate, it tolerates full sun but in a hot tropical region, grow it in a dappled shade.
    • Soil should not be waterlogged but slightly moist.

    13. Japanese Cheesewood

    Botanical Name: Pittosporum tobira

    USDA Zones: 8-12

    Also called Japanese mock orange, Japanese cheesewood or Australian Laurel. It’s a low maintenance plant, perfect for coastal areas and containers. The sweet citrus scented flowers appear in clusters for a short time. But it provides year-round interest with its attractive foliage with the glossy and leathery texture on the upper side and a lighter undertone on the underside.

    Growing Tips:

    • The plant is low maintenance and tolerates frost to some extent.
    • Apart from the overly wet and hard to work soil that retains water, it doesn’t mind the texture.
    • It thrives well in both full sun and partial shade.
    • Check out the detailed article on our website here!

    Who knew that the herb taking over a corner of my garden was such a valuable asset?

    A member of the mint family, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an easy-to-grow herb treasured for its lemony scent and medicinal qualities. Popularized in the Middle Ages as an herbal remedy, it has been used to reduce stress, promote sleep, and improve digestion. Made into a tincture, lemon balm acts as a salve for cold sores and other skin irritations.

    And then there is the scent. Large sprigs smell great mixed with cut flowers or tucked in a bud vase on the kitchen counter.

    Lacking a garden? Lemon balm can be grown indoors in pots. It just needs a sunny window that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight per day; water only when the soil gets dry. Bonnie Plants offers good guidelines on growing lemon balm.

    Photography via Bonnie Plants.

    Above: Lemon balm plants are commonly found in local nurseries. Lemon Balm Seeds ($3.95 for a packet of 500 at Burpee) can be started in the early spring or propagated indoors. Potted Lemon Balm Plants are available online at Horizon Herbs; $7.20 each.

    Above: Lemon balm grows voraciously; some find it to be a garden pest for its real-estate hogging tendencies. It also grows well in pots, which is an easy way to contain the plant.

    Above: Lemon Balm flourishes when it is cut back periodically, making it a great harvesting herb.

    Verbena Essential oil Morocco

    Verbena, a somewhat scraggly shrub, is much loved for the powerful lemon scent of its foliage. This fragrance led to the plant being nicknamed lemon verbena. The waffled leaves are of a pretty shade of bright green and are covered in secretory glands containing the essential oil. Summertime is when its small, pale lavender flowers bloom, forming terminal spikes. The flowering stems are reaped in July and August and immediately distilled. The resulting essential oil is herbaceous, with a refreshing citral character. The aromatic verbena, Lippia citriodora, should not be confused with lemongrass, Verbena officinalis, with properties similar to those of melissa or lemon balm, or with the verbena used for herbal tea, Dracocephalum moldavica.
    Originally from Latin America (Chile, Peru, and Argentina), verbena was introduced to Europe by 17th-century Spanish conquistadors. It is now grown around the Mediterranean basin, especially in France and North Africa, as well as in the West Indies, Réunion Island, and India. Verbena has many botanical names: Lippia citriodora, Aloysia citriodora Aloysia triphylla, Lippia triphylla, and Verbena triphylla. The common name comes from the Latin verbēnnae, referring to branches of laurel, olive, myrtle, and verbena, clustered together. With time, this term came to mean only verbena.

    Lemon Verbena Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

    You may have had many recipes where lemon verbena was added to give a slight lemon flavor. It has also been used as a folk remedy along with its distance cousin verbena officinalis. Though it is not the most common of essential oils, there are still several proven benefits and uses of verbena essential oil.

    This post contains affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission if items are purchased, at no extra cost to you. This does not affect our opinions expressed above. For more info, read about our approach.

    You may have had many recipes where lemon verbena was added to give a slight lemon flavor. It has also been used as a folk remedy along with its distance cousin verbena officinalis. Though it is not the most common of essential oils, there are still several proven benefits and uses of verbena essential oil.

    Recommended Lemon Verbena Based Products

    • Greek Lemon Verbena
    • Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener

    Looking for the Best Lemon Verbena Essential Oils?

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    What is the Difference Between Verbena and Lemon Verbena?

    You’ve probably used lemon verbena in the kitchen, and you’ve most likely seen a plant called “verbena” when you browsed your local garden center. There is also lemon verbena and verbena essential oil, so you could wonder what the difference between the two is.

    Despite the fact that they have similar names, lemon verbena and verbena are two very different things. Lemon verbena is one of several plants that you could call verbenas. There are roughly 1,200 plant species are in the verbena plant family, or Verbenaceae. They’re very fragrant, and you find it in alcohol and various recipes as well as a medicinal herb.

    On the other hand, you have the verbena species. These plants give off a pungent and usually unpleasant scent. It’s a different genus than the lemon verbena, and you’ll commonly see it as a balm.

    6 Major Benefits and Uses of Lemon Verbena Essential Oil

    1. Disinfectant

    It seems that science is always being confronted with new forms of common germs, each with a resistance to the chemicals that we use on the surfaces of our home. And if you’re anything like me, I use commercial cleaners as sparingly as possible, if just for the safety of my family. Thankfully, essential oils like lemon verbena have natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that allow it to kill many of the common viruses that are found around the house. (1)

    To kill germs on surfaces, add lemon and vinegar to your lemon verbena and store in a spray bottle for easy cleaning after preparing food. Diffusing in the air may help kill any airborne bacteria as well.

    2. Protect the Brain

    The brain can be a very sensitive organ, susceptible to many different environmental factors. This includes diet, medications, or even stress. This can cause inflammation of the neurons and lead to mental fatigue or even conditions like depression. Lemon verbena has anti-inflammatory properties as well as being neuroprotective; it may help protect the neurons from damage and prevent any number of possible conditions in the future. (2)

    Diffuse lemon verbena with chamomile also helps to relax your mind and body. Even aromatherapy allows you to enjoy the lemon verbena benefits of neuroprotection and reduced neural inflammation.

    3. Mosquito Control

    Mosquitoes are the bane of every summer evening. Our yard has some particularly low places where water loves to gather and linger after a hard rain, making it the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. Not only are they bothersome, but many carry contagious diseases that can be spread easily. And, as more and more chemicals are employed to control them, they are becoming resistant to commercial treatments as well. It has been shown that essential oils such as lemon verbena can help control the mosquito population by killing them in the larval stage and preventing them from maturing to breed more. Lemon verbena recipes for insect control may also include other repellent oils like citronella and are able to be sprayed directly onto the water source where eggs are laid. (3)

    4. Relief from Pain and Inflammation

    Ordinary days being on different kinds of aches and pains, from joint pain as you age or muscle pain from working out. I’m always looking for different ways to relieve pain that don’t involve the use of everyday analgesics. Many essential oils are excellent for this purpose. Lemon verbena has been shown to reduce inflammation in joints and muscles, which allows the body to heal more quickly. It may also block the chemical signals that tell the body that it is a pain. Used in conjunction with other pain relieving therapies, this oil may bring some relief to aching joints. (4)

    Lemon verbena recipes for aches may include not only verbena but also other anti-inflammatories such as ginger or turmeric. Working in synergy, these oils may help to ease some of your body pains.

    5. Aids In Digestion

    Many people suffer from a variety of digestive problems, some caused by a diet of highly processed foods or caused by the disease. Sometimes even a change in diet or use of medication is not quite enough to ameliorate the symptoms that accompany these conditions. Use of essential oils such as lemon verbena may be used as a supplemental therapy. It has been shown to reduce the inflammation in the colon caused by certain foods or diseases such as colitis. It may also prevent spasms that can cause cramping. (5)

    The oil can be diffused as an aerosol or applied to the abdomen after being diluted in a carrier oil. Either method will allow your body to absorb the oil and enjoy the benefits.

    6. Decrease Signs of Aging

    Lemon verbena has been studied for a property which makes it very helpful to the cells of the body that may have been damaged by exterior problems such as too much sun, smoking, or other factors. These may cause signs of premature aging, evidenced by wrinkles and spots on the skin. The antioxidant properties of lemon verbena oil help protect cells from this damage and may even repair some of what has already occurred. (6)

    Add a few drops of oil to a carrier such as sweet almond or jojoba to create a rub for your hands or other areas of your body that may be showing signs of aging. It may help prevent any further damage from occurring.

    What is the Best Lemon Verbena Essential Oil?

    The best lemon verbena essential oil varies by brand. There are dozens of excellent examples of this essential oil out there, and the best choice depends entirely on user preference. However, we’ve pulled three excellent options and outlined each of them below for you.

    Florihana Organic Lemon Verbena Essential Oil

    Florihana’s lemon verbena essential oil is 100% organic and 100% natural. In turn, it makes an excellent choice for topical use. Dilute it in your favorite carrier oil and use it for a massage oil. The steam dilution process ensures the oil has a strong scent that lasts all day from the moment you put it on.

    Best for: Topical Use


    AMRITA Lemon Verbena Essential Oil

    If you have a problem with sore joints and inflammation, Amrita’s lemon verbena essential oil can help. Diffusing it and breathing it in can get it into your system, and topical application can also help. It helps to reduce inflammation and congestion, and this can help you look and feel better after a few uses. It also works to soften your skin!

    Best for: Inflammation


    Sheer Essence Lemon Verbena Essential Oil

    The cheerful lemon scent is refreshing and clean, and this is a 100% therapeutic-grade essential oil that makes an excellent cleaning agent. Along with the great smell, it’s an antimicrobial and antibacterial that kills germs as soon as you spray it on surfaces. You can also add a few drops to your wash for a clean and lasting scent.

    Best for: Cleaning


    My Favorite Use Of Lemon Verbena Essential Oil

    Every summer I get this terrible urge to clean the inside of my house. I don’t know if it’s the awful heat outside that makes me want to keep to the air conditioning, but cleaning fever hits every year without fail. I always make my own cleaning products, especially since having kids, because of the news of superbugs that have become resistant to germ-killing chemicals. It also worries me that almost everything comes with bleach, which isn’t good for your skin or to breath anywhere near.

    I always associate the idea of clean with the smell of lemon or other citrus scents. I typically use lemon or orange oils in my cleaning products, and lemon verbena has made the list. Using it in conjunction with other oils ensures that I can clean away different kinds of germs since each oil may have a different level of efficacy with various bacteria and virus types.

    Lemon verbena has a milder scent to it as well, not as sharp or acidic as just lemon, so if you’re not a fan of heavy lemon, this may be your best bet. It still gives me that whole house clean satisfaction, after every surface has been wiped and scrubbed with a simple solution of water, white vinegar, and my favorite germ-killing essential oils.

    Recommended Lemon Verbena Based Products

    1. Greek Lemon Verbena

    Klio Organic Greek Lemon Verbena – Karditsa, South Pindos Mtns. Whole Leaves. High Polyphenol and…

    • Boost your daily intake of important antioxidants, polyphenols and…
    • A delicious and mildly earthy taste with strong hints of lemon….
    • Single origin – Karditsa, Greece, one of the driest environments in…

    A few years ago I gave up soda. Black and tea and herbal teas have been my go-to replacements, and I love hot tea in the winter if only to use the cup to warm up my hands. This product is perfect for those of you who like to use whole tea leaves instead of tea bags. You may get more of the nutrients and chemicals that make lemon verbena a healthy addition to your day. Drinking it as a tea may help with digestion and help relax you at the end of a long day.


    2. Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener

    Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener, 8 OZ (Lemon Verbena, Pack – 1)

    • Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Air Freshener contains essential oils and…
    • Room Freshener.
    • Ingredients are at least 94% naturally derived.

    This spray has been formulated by a company that makes many of its products with healthier ingredients in mind. Using essential oils allows you to bring an added benefit into your house along with a scent that lingers pleasantly. A scent that lasts can keep the best properties of the essential oils still affecting your home long after you’ve used the spray. This spray can be used on furniture and rugs and may kill the bacteria that causes odor. Spraying it in the air may have the same effect, killing airborne germs that can lead to respiratory irritation.


    Caution of Verbena Essential Oil

    • Be careful not to confuse lemon verbena essential oil with verbena officinalis, also known as vervain. Lemon verbena benefits may be different from that of verbena officinalis as they are made from different plants.
    • May cause skin irritation in individuals with sensitivities.
    • Do not consume in large quantities as this may cause kidney issues. Avoid using lemon verbena if you have kidney issues as this may aggravate the condition.
    • Always choose quality verbena essential oil from reputable suppliers.

    The Bottom Line

    I hope this list was an enjoyable way to learn about lemon verbena and perhaps change your mind about whether or not it is a worthy addition to your essential oil collection. Please share with anyone who may wonder about lemon verbena uses and who you think may enjoy a refreshing lemon scent that may also be beneficial to their health.


    Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 7, 2019.

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    Vervain has been used for many conditions, including stimulation of lactation and treatment of dysmenorrhea, jaundice, gout, kidney stones, and headache; however, there are few clinical trials of vervain or its components.

    There is no clinical evidence to support specific dose recommendations for vervain. Traditional use for its astringent properties required 2 to 4 g daily in an infusion.

    Contraindications have not been identified.

    Documented adverse reactions. Avoid use.

    None well documented.

    Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of this product.

    No toxicology studies have been reported on vervain.

    • Verbenaceae

    Vervain is a slender perennial plant with small, pale lilac flowers borne on leafless spikes. It is indigenous to the Mediterranean region but has been widely cultivated throughout eastern Europe, North Africa, China, and Japan.1, 2

    A different species in the verbena family, Aloysia triphylla (lemon verbena or lemon beebrush), is used to produce the essential oil of verbena known as vervaine.1

    The name verbenae was originally used in ancient Roman times to describe all plants used on altars for their aromatic qualities. Legend has it that Jesus’ wounds were attended to with vervain after his removal from the cross. Vervain is listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and The Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China.2, 3 The aerial parts have been used traditionally for many conditions, including stimulation of lactation and treatment of dysmenorrhea, jaundice, gout, kidney stones, headache, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.3, 4, 5 Vervain is also considered an astringent, a bitter digestive tonic, and a diuretic.5 Traditionally it has been used in Spain as a topical hemostatic and antirheumatic, and it has been mixed with other herbs for thyroid dysfunction.2

    The most characteristic chemical constituents of vervain are the iridoid glycosides verbenalin6 and hastatoside.7 Also prominent is the caffeic acid glycoside verbascoside, which is found in a number of other medicinal plants.8 Flavonoids, such as luteolin 7-diglucuronide have been isolated in vervain9 as have rsolic acid, sterols, and several related triterpenes.3, 10 Other iridoid glycosides, sterols, and littorachalcone have been found in related verbena species (Verbena litoralis and brasiliensis).11, 12, 13

    The biosynthesis of the iridoid glycosides has been studied in detail.14 Several methods have been published for the analysis of vervain constituents. High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) with postcolumn derivatization was used to quantify iridoids, flavonoids, and phenolics.15 An HPLC separation with diode array detection was used to assay the same compounds in another study.16 Micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography with mass spectrometry was used to achieve a separation and characterization of several iridoids, including verbenalin.17


    The differentiation of a human adenocarcinoma cell line was induced by verbascoside, reducing the malignant phenotype.18 Verbascoside affected telomerase activity and telomere length, as well as inducing apoptosis in a gastric cancer cell line.19 A further experiment found that verbascoside counteracted muscle fatigue in an isolated tissue preparation.20 In vitro proapoptotic activity of the essential oil and of the constituent citral has been described.21 In mice, anti-tumor effects have been demonstrated for a Verbena officinalis extract.22

    Research reveals no use of Verbena officinalis extracts in cancer.


    Anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, and sedative properties of Verbena officinalis have been demonstrated in rodents.23

    Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of verbena in CNS conditions.

    An aqueous extract of verbena prevented extracellular accumulation of beta-amyloid peptide, a factor considered to trigger neuronal death in Alzheimer disease. Decreased destruction of neurites and decreased neuronal apoptosis were also observed.(2)

    Anti-inflammatory activity of a vervain extract and several fractions in a carrageenan paw edema model was reported; however, specific triterpenes, iridoids, and phenolics isolated were not bioassayed to identify which were active.24 Other reports have shown verbenalin to be active in blocking 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol acetate-induced mouse ear edema and carrageenan-induced paw edema.25 In comparison with piroxicam gel, a 3% preparation of 50% methanolic verbena extract produced better anti-inflammatory results, while the same preparation had less analgesic activity than methyl salicylate ointment.3

    In the isolated rat heart, verbascoside increased heart rate, force, and coronary perfusion, with a marked increase in cyclic AMP levels.26 A later study found an increase in prostacyclin levels, which may be responsible for the observed effects.27

    Antioxidant effects of verbascoside have been demonstrated in several models, including radical scavenging28 and pulse radiolysis methods.29 Vervain essential oil was active in an antioxidant screen, although the oil is not expected to contain verbascoside.30

    Modest antiviral activity against vesicular stomatitis virus, but not herpes simplex, at a high dose of verbascoside was observed.31 Antibiotic activity caused by an effect on protein synthesis and leucine incorporation was also found with verbascoside.32 Vervain flavonoids have been studied infrequently; however, a flavonoid fraction of vervain inhibited growth of several bacterial species at relatively high concentrations.33 The efficacy of a verbena extract in reducing gingivitis was compared with placebo in a clinical trial (n=260), with reductions in plaque and gingival indices reported.34

    There is no recent clinical evidence to support specific dose recommendations for vervain. Traditional use for its astringent properties required 2 to 4 g daily in an infusion.35

    Documented adverse reactions. Avoid use.36

    In an in vitro model of an infant’s GI system, infusions of vervain reduced the absorption of iron, especially at a high pH.37

    Verbenone, a constituent of vervain, was demonstrated to be converted via CYP-450 2A6 to 10-hydroxyverbenone. It is unclear if the metabolite is active, inactive, or toxic.38

    Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of vervain. No adverse reactions were noted in infants ingesting a tea of vervain and other herbs, but the trial sample size was too small to observe anything other than major events.3

    No toxicology studies have been reported on vervain.

    • Aloysia triphylla
    • Lemon beebrush
    • Lemon verbena

    1. Verbena officinalis L. USDA, NRCS. 2007. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, Oct 1, 2007). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.2. Lai SW, Yu MS, Yuen WH, Chang RC. Novel neuroprotective effects of the aqueous extracts from Verbena officinalis Linn. Neuropharmacology. 2006;50(6):641-650.164060213. Calvo MI. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of the topical preparation of Verbena officinalis L. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107(3):380-382.167232014. Guarrera PM, Forti G, Marignoli S. Ethnobotanical and ethnomedicinal uses of plants in the district of Acquapendente (Latium, Central Italy). J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;96(3):429-444.156195625. Owen N. Verbena officinalis L. Vervain. Br J Phytother. 2001;5:114-117.6. von Karrer P, Salomon H. Verbenalin. Helv Chim Acta. 1946;29:1544-1554.7. Rimpler H, Schafer B. Hastatoside, a new iridoid from Verbena officinalis and Verbena hastata (Verbenaceae). Tetrahedron Lett. 1973;17:1463-1464.8. Bianco A, et al. Iridoid and phenylpropanoid glycosides from new sources. J Nat Prod. 1984;47:901-902.9. Carnat A, Carnat AP, Chavignon O, Heitz A, Wylde R, Lamaison JL. Luteolin 7-diglucuronide, the major flavonoid compound from Aloysia triphylla and Verbena officinalis. Planta Med. 1995;61(5):490.748021810. Deepak M, Handa SS. 3α, 24-dihydroxy-urs-12-en-28-oic acid from Verbena officinalis. Phytochemistry. 1998;49:269-271.11. Ono M, Oishi K, Abe H, et al. New iridoid glucosides from the aerial parts of Verbena brasiliensis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006;54(10):1421-1424.1701598112. Li Y, Ishibashi M, Satake M, Oshima Y, Ohizumi Y. A new iridoid glycoside with nerve growth factor-potentiating activity, gelsemiol 6′-trans-caffeoyl-1-glucoside, from Verbena littoralis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003;51(9):1103-1105.13. Li Y, Ishibashi M, Chen X,Ohizumi Y. Littorachalcone, a new enhancer of NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth, from Verbena littoralis. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003;51(7):872-874.14. Damtoft S, Jensen SR, Nielsen BJ. Biosynthesis of the iridoid glucosides cornin, hastatoside, and griselinoside in Verbena species. J Chem Soc Perkin Trans. 1983;1:1943-1948.15. Calvo MI, San Julian A, Fernandez M. Identification of the major compounds in extracts of Verbena officinalis L. by HPLC with post-column derivatization. Chromatographia. 1997;46:241-244.16. Deepak M, Handa SS. Quantitative determination of the major constituents of Verbena officinalis using high performance thin layer chromatography and high pressure liquid chromatography. Phytochem Anal. 2000;11:351-355.17. Suomi J, Wiedmer SK, Jussila M, Riekkola ML. Determination of iridoid glycosides by micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography-mass spectrometry with use of the partial filling technique. Electrophoresis. 2001;22(12):2580-2587.1151996218. Li J, Zheng Y, Zhou H, Su B, Zheng R. Differentiation of human gastric adenocarcinoma cell line MGc80-3 induced by verbascoside. 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