What is Lemon Verbena herbal tea?
By Caleb Fanshawe
Originally from the sloping hillsides of South America’s west coast, the evergreen shrubs of the Lemon Verbena plant were first introduced to Europe by Portuguese and Spanish explorers in the 17th century. The leaves of Lemon Verbena, Latin name Aloysia Citrodora, are pointed and rough to the touch, with a delicious aroma of lemon (Citrodora means ‘lemon-scented’ in Latin).
Our Lemon Verbena is grown in sunny southern Portugal, in the Alentejo region, and is farmed using wholly organic methods. Rows of green bushes fill the air with perfume, making it easy to see why Lemon Verbena has historically been used in soaps and fragrances. The leaves are gently picked by a harvesting machine that does not disturb the still-growing plant or the surrounding soil, and then they are kept whole and naturally dried in the sun. The resulting leaves are dusty-green and elegantly curled, with a gentle lemon scent.
Though we call it herbal tea for the sake of simplicity, Lemon Verbena tea is, strictly speaking, an infusion or tisane. This is because it is not brewed from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis: the tea plant. You can find out more about why herbal teas are not actually teas here.
What does Lemon Verbena tea taste like?
Lemon Verbena, as its name suggests, produces a bright yellow cup with a citrusy aroma. Its flavour is refreshingly lemony, with a smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel. It’s lighter and more fragrant than, for example, our zingy Lemongrass tea, with gentle herbal notes that set it apart from other lemon flavours. Altogether it’s a wonderfully balanced cup: the aromatic lemon in harmony with a delicate natural sweetness.
Health benefits of Lemon Verbena tea
As well as its refreshing taste, Lemon Verbena tea is prized for its many health benefits. It’s widely drunk as a digestive aid, making it the perfect cup for after dinner. The tea’s relaxant qualities mean that it can be drunk to sooth stomach cramps and period pain. Lemon Verbena is also calming for mind as well as body: it’s well-known for relieving stress and nervousness.
Caffeine and Lemon Verbena tea
Like the rest of our herbal teas Lemon Verbena is naturally caffeine-free, and so it makes for a wonderfully soothing bedtime brew. It even promotes a good night’s rest, as it has natural properties that relax the body’s nervous system.
How best to enjoy Lemon Verbena tea
With its lack of caffeine, smooth mouthfeel and digestive qualities, Lemon Verbena is an ideal post-dinner drink. Two teaspoons of leaves should be perfect for 200ml of boiling water (98˚C), brewed for four minutes. Lemon Verbena also makes for a fresh take on iced tea: paired with a sprig of fresh mint it’s an excellent summertime alternative to sugary lemonade. Not just for teas, it can be used as an ingredient to add a creative lemony twist to classic recipes. The distinctive lemon flavour stands up well to the complexity of whiskeys and gins, and so a Lemon Verbena syrup in your cocktail cabinet is a welcome addition. Lemon Verbena’s subtle herbal notes also add aromatic flair to cake sponges and icing – and what could be a better decoration on a Lemon Verbena drizzle cake than a few of its delicate dried leaves.