Friday, 14 September 2012

HOME REMEDY: Lemon verbena

Written by Sof McVeigh
Back in April I wrote about my 'medicinal garden', which I had just planted, and mentioned that I had doubts about my new tiny lemon verbena plant. It is really a Mediterranean plant, loving sun and welldrained soil, so asking it to thrive in my garden, which is none of those – in fact it's rather shady, with claggy clay soil and after this summer, very wet – is quite an ask. However, amazingly, it has grown – maybe not quite thrived, but enough to harvest its leaves.

The fresh leaves have a light, lemony scent, not unlike the old-fashioned lemon sherbet sweets. They dry quickly in a few hours if left in the sun, which slightly tones down the smell. The leaves can be put in an airtight container and used for a relaxing tea throughout the year. It is soothing and calming for evening use and is also a good digestive tea, relaxing the gut. But avoid taking too much of it or using for long periods.

I tend to swap my evening teas, moving between chamomile and verbena, which are both calming, to mint tea – it's good for the digestion and can be invigorating, too.

Sof McVeigh:

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