Family: Verbenaceae, Aloysia triphylla (L'Her.) Britt.
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla (L'Her.) Britt., is an
aromatic shrub native to Argentina and Chile. Also known as herb
Louisa and formerly classified as Aloysia citriodora (Cav.)
Ort., Lippia citriodora (Ort.) HBK, Verbena citriodora
Cav., and Verbena triphylla L'Her., the deciduous plant
is commonly cultivated in the tropics and Europe. It is produced
commercially in France and North Reaching heights of 1 to 3 meters,
the plants are characterized by fragrant, lemon-smelling,
narrow leaves and small white flowers borne in terminal panicles.
Lemon verbena prefers full sun and a light loam soil. The plant
is sensitive to cold and has high water requirements. Either seeds
or vegetative cuttings are used for generating new plants. Commercial
areas are generally harvested in early summer at full bloom and
in the autumn just prior to cold, killing temperatures. Essential
oil is extracted by steam distillation as soon as possible to
minimize volatilization, because yields of the oil are very low
The essential oil, known as oil of verbena, contains -citral,
-citral, methyl heptenone, carvone, l-limonene, dipentene,
linalool, -terpineol, borneol, nerol, geraniol, and other
constituents (14.1-11). Because of the its high price, oil
of verbena is often adulterated with distillates from other plant
material. Extraction of verbena with petroleum ether and alcohol
gives the concrete and absolute of verbena (14.1-11).
The leaves and flowering tops of lemon verbena are used in teas
and to flavor alcoholic beverages. The plant is also an ingredient
in some desserts, fruit salads, and jams. It is used in perfumery,
especially in making toilet water and eau de cologne. The plant
is often grown as an ornamental, but it needs to be kept indoors
during winter months in northern regions.
As a medicinal plant, the leaves and flowers of lemon verbena
have been used as an antispasmodic, antipyretic, sedative, and
Lemon verbena is generally recognized as safe for human consumption
in alcoholic beverages (21 CFR section 172.510 ).
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in
full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997