Hackney Herbal: Super herb Lemon Verbena
Words by Alicja McCarthy
Photos by Jake Kenny
For beauty on the inside and out
There are several reasons why lemon verbena (Aloysia Citrodora) is such a gem. Firstly, it smells and tastes like sweet lemon, which is particularly delightful in salads, sweets and drinks. Secondly, it has numerous health and wellbeing benefits. It has natural calming properties that aid sleep and insomnia and has effective antiviral elements that can fortify the nervous system. Because it acts as a relaxant, it is also used for treating anxiety, depression and exhaustion. The natural and organic cosmetics and skincare industry love it too for all of the above. You’re likely to have used it in a natural product without even realizing it.
Growing the herb can sometimes be a little tricky so it’s worth taking extra care with it. “Lemon verbena originates from Chile and Argentina where it enjoys relatively mild weather and tolerates low rainfall,” explains Mady. “As long as you keep it in a sunny sheltered spot, or bring it indoors in the winter, it will surely do well.”
Get creative in the kitchen
Not a typical or well-known herb, lemon verbena can mainly be sourced online. In the UK, Mady recommends Herbal Heaven, a trusted online grower and seller. Once in your possession, the leaves are easy to dry and store or frozen fresh in ice cubes. “For a de-stressing night-time tea, brew lemon verbena, lemon balm, vervain, and passionflower. It is beneficial but also delicious!”