Lemon Verbena Extract Guide
Lemon Verbena is a natural compound prized for its ability to protect the body from muscle damage and joint pain. Here’s our lemon verbena extract guide.
What is Lemon Verbena Extract?
Lemon Verbena Extract is a purified and condensed version of dried lemon verbena leaves. Lemon verbena is grown around the world today – although it’s native to Argentina and Chile.
Known for its strong lemony fragrance, lemon verbena leaves aren’t actually lemons at all: they’re just called lemon verbena because they give off a strong lemon scent. The plant’s benefits come from the natural compounds within the leaves. When the leaves are crushed, these compounds are released.
Today, lemon verbena extract can be found in teas and tinctures. The herbal extract is particularly popular for its protective benefits created by the high antioxidant content.
The plant itself has long lanceolate leaves. Lemon verbena plants can grow up to 15 feet tall. The plant’s scientific name is Aloysia citrodora, also known as lemon beebrush.
In the 17th century, early explorers from Spain and Portugal brought the plant back from South America and introduced it to Europe and other western countries.
Benefits of Lemon Verbena Extract
Lemon verbena extract is prized for its natural benefits, which include things like high antioxidant content and the ability to protect your muscles and joints against damage. Here are the key benefits of lemon verbena extract:
Keeps your Body Hydrated
Tea is a well-known way to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. Keeping your body hydrated means your organs can operate at optimum condition. Many medical professionals recommend getting at least eight glasses of water during the day, and there’s nothing wrong with drinking herbal tea – like lemon verbena extract tea – for some or all of these glasses.
Good hydration also makes for good digestive efficiency. Some people take lemon verbena extract to soothe their digestive systems.
Low in Calories
Like most teas, lemon verbena extract tea is extremely low in calories. Herbal teas like lemon verbena tea contain just 2 calories per one cup serving. Some people use it to complement a weight loss routine and satisfy hunger cravings.
Reduces Muscle Damage
In 2011, researchers told participants to take lemon verbena extract for 21 days. Researchers published their work in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Participants worked out for 90 minutes each day while taking lemon verbena extract as an antioxidant supplement to their regular diet. By the end of the 21 day period, researchers noted that lemon verbena extract reduced overall muscle soreness without having any effect on endurance or speed.
Reduces Joint Pain
Another study in 2011 examined the connection between lemon verbena and joint health. The study was published in the November 2011 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Over the course of a 9 week training program, 45 participants with joint problems took a combination of omega-3 fatty acids with lemon verbena or a placebo. After 3 to 4 weeks, participants claimed to experience a reduction in overall joint pain and an increase in mobility. Scientists believed that the ability for lemon verbena to reduce joint pain was linked to its high levels of antioxidants.
Enhances your Immune System
One final study on lemon verbena extract from 2012 showed that the extract could significantly reduce overall oxidative stress in athletes. That study lasted 21 days. Over the course of the 21 days, participants were instructed to take part in a moderate aerobic training program three days a week. Some of the participants took 1.8 grams of lemon verbena extract daily, while another group took a placebo.
By the end of the 21 day period, the lemon verbena extract group was found to have stronger white blood cells, which is a key indicator of a healthy immune system. These participants also exhibited fewer markers of oxidative stress. Scientists believe the reduced stress was linked to the high antioxidant content.
This study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.
How to Use Lemon Verbena Extract
Lemon verbena and lemon verbena extract can be used in many different ways. Here are some of the ways in which people use their lemon verbena plants:
— Lemon Verbena Sun Tea: Cut and wash two handfuls of leaves, then stuff the leaves into a jar and let them sit in the sun for 3-4 hours.
— Salad: Slice the lemon verbena leaves into thin slices then put them in a salad or mix them with vegetables. They’ll provide a nice lemony zest to your meal.
— Make a Hot Tea: Bruise or cut up 1/4 cup of lemon verbena leaves and mix with one cup of hot water. Let steep and enjoy. Consider adding mint to make a particularly delicious tea.
— Lemon Verbena Vinegar: Some people create their own lemon verbena-infused vinegar by chopping or bruising the leaves. Then, cover the leaves with a white wine vinegar and leave for 30 days.
— Lemon-Infused Olive Oil: Use the same method you used with the vinegar, but replace the vinegar with olive oil.
— Lemon Flavored Sugar: Do you like the flavor of lemon and the scent of lemon verbena? Make lemon flavored sugar by mixing bruised leaves into a bowl of sugar, then leave it overnight. Overnight, the sugar will absorb the oils in the verbena leaves to give you sugar a unique lemony taste.
How to Grow Lemon Verbena
Lemon verbena plants can be found all over the world. In America, the plants grow best in zones 9 and 10 but can survive in zone 8 if you provide protection from frost. Although the plant grows wild to up to 15 feet tall, you shouldn’t expect your lemon verbena plants to grow larger than 6 feet at their full maturity.
Lemon verbena is a heavy feeder plant that requires good drainage. The plant does not like soggy roots. Pruning is also very beneficial to the plant.
After harvesting your lemon verbena leaves, the best way to preserve the leaves is to dry them at home. Use a food dehydrator or hang the leaves upside down in a brown bag until they’re crisp (it takes 1-2 days).
Ultimately, lemon verbena is a popular plant that has demonstrated powerful proven benefits in its leaves due to its high levels of antioxidants.