There has hardly been a summer in my adult life where I didn’t grow Lemon Verbena. Be it a window sill in a rental or garden in my permanent home, the fragrant plant has been a fixture in my apothecary garden. I crave the refreshing lemon scented herb in ice cold water during heat filled summer solstice days and as a light sedative tea at night to calm nerves. The plant has served me well as a drink. It has also served me well when verifying the essential oil. Lemon Verbena yields a scare .02% oil with steam distillation and with low yield comes high fraud. Much of Verbena is adulterated with cheaper high citral oils such as Lemongrass or Citronella and it takes a little time with the plant to train the nose to pick up the difference. Occasionally, Lemon Verbena essential oil is adulterated with Litsea cubeba or sold in place of Verbena making sourcing crucial.
Lemon Verbena’s fresh herbal lemony scent is uplifting and calming and when a few drops are added to Rose or Mastic hydrosols, it provides a refreshing spray to mist on the forehead for tension headaches. I have found it to be quite effective in cases of badly inflamed boils and acne due to it’s high citral bactericide and antiseptic qualities. Verbena is valuable in perfumery as well, elevating a base heavy composition and rounding out the blend. It can be a sensitizer so keeping that in mind when blending is recommended.
Suggested uses: Blend with wheatgerm or jojoba oil for acne care. Use in perfumery blends where a lighter note is needed.