Natural remedies, the virtues of verbena and lemon verbena

Verbena fragrant also called lemon verbena

Verbena is lemon verbena they are a bit the same thing because to be called lemon verbena (but also luigia grass, lemon grass and limoncina) is in fact the fragrant verbena, cousin of the officinal verbena. The two verbene they are easily distinguished because they are very different: the officinal verbena it is skeletal, has thin twigs, small flowers and the leaves are short and lobed. There fragrant verbena it is large, has broad leaves and exudes a heady lemon aroma.

Same name but different origins: la officinal verbena (also called verbena of sorcerers, consecrated grass, enchanting grass, sacred grass, colombina grass, crocina grass) has always grown spontaneously in Europe and is usually found in uncultivated land, along the banks and among the rubble. There fragrant verbena, or lemon verbena, on the other hand, comes from South America and has only been cultivated in the old continent since 1700.

The healing virtues of the two verbene are similar, with the difference that the lemon verbena being more exuberant it is also the most active and rich in substances. This is not always an advantage given that certain disorders respond better to mild treatments. The version officinale it is considered a tonic and antispasmodic, useful against nervousness, cough, insomnia and anxiety states. There fragrant verbena it is also recommended against neuralgia, migraines, dizziness and intellectual exhaustion.

Both are used mainly in infusion: 10-15 pinches of dry plants in 1 liter of water for the officinal verbena; 10-15 pinches of leaves and flowers in the same amount of water forlemon verbena (decreasing the dose to 3 pinches per 1 liter you get an excellent one verbena drink). With both varieties of verbena you can also take hand baths and foot baths using a small handful of essence for each liter of water.

Where the fragrant verbena outclasses the cousin is in the uses of the home and in the kitchen: apart from the aforementioned drink, with the lemon verbena you can make ice creams, flavor meat and fish to be grilled and add a delicate hint of lemon to marinades, salads, jams, puddings and fruit salads. With the dry leaves of lemon verbena you can perfume the linen by putting some in the drawers and cupboards as you do with lavender.

Where and when is verbena harvested? That officinale you can find it in the countryside or grow in the garden. It is a rustic plant that adapts well to all terrains. It should be cut at ground level just before full flowering and dried in bunches hanging in the shade. There fragrant verbena instead it does not tolerate the cold and requires a rich and permeable soil and frequent watering in summer. The leaves and flower spikes must be picked at the time of flowering, always to be dried in bunches hanging in the shade.

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