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Lemon Verbena

Scientific Name(s): Aloysia triphylla (L'Her.) Britt.
Common Name(s): Cedrón, Cidrao, Lemon beebrush, Louisa, Salva-limao, Verveine citronelle

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 22, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Lemon verbena extract has demonstrated antioxidant activity, and the essential oil has shown antimicrobial properties. However, clinical data are lacking to support use. Lemon verbena has also shown muscle supplementation and sedative properties, each supported by one clinical trial.


Clinical studies to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any lemon verbena dosing regimen are limited. Traditional dosing regimens include a 45 mL decoction taken several times per day. See specific indications in the Uses and Pharmacology section.


Contraindications have not been identified. Avoid use in individuals with renal insufficiency.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Contact hypersensitivity has been associated with members of related species. Avoid in individuals with renal insufficiency because lemon verbena is excreted via the renal route.


Lemon verbena is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption and for use as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages. It is also used in herbal teas.

Scientific Family

  • Verbenaceae


Lemon verbena, a deciduous plant native to Argentina and Chile, grows up to 3 m in height and is characterized by fragrant, lemon-scented, narrow leaves. It bears small, white flowers in terminal panicles.Gil 2007, Simon 1984, USDA 2019 Lemon verbena is commonly cultivated in the tropics and Southern Europe and is grown commercially in France and North Africa. Synonyms include Aloysia citriodora Paláu, Aloysia citrodora Paláu, Lippia citrodora Kunth, Lippia triphylla (L'Her.) Kuntze, Verbena triphylla (L'Her.), and Zappania citrodora (Lam).


The lemon verbena plant has been used medicinally for centuries and is believed to possess antispasmodic, antipyretic, carminative, sedative, and stomachic properties. In addition, indigenous people of South America and North Africa have used lemon verbena to treat conditions such as diarrhea, flatulence, insomnia, and rheumatism. The leaves and flowering tops are used in teas and as beverage flavors, and the fragrance is used in perfumery.Bahramsoltani 2018, Duke 2002, Ragone 2007, Simon 1984


An essential oil present in small quantities (0.42% to 0.65%) is extracted from lemon verbena leaves by steam distillation. Known as "oil of verbena," it contains a variety of volatile oils, including neral, limonene, and geraniol as the major monoterpene constituents. To a lesser extent, sesquiterpenes such as beta-caryophyllene are also present. Flavonoids (including vitexin), phenolic acids, and iridoid glycosides (verbascosides) have been described.Bilia 2008, Quirantes-Piné 2010, Quirantes-Piné 2013, Ragone 2007, Skaltsa 1988

The content and composition of the essential oil varies by genotype, plant part, growth stage, time of harvesting, and region of cultivation.Di Leo Lira 2013, Gil 2007 The European Pharmacopoeia describes the essential oil and main quality chemical markers for the species, including the phenylpropanoid glucoside acteoside.Di Leo Lira 2013

Uses and Pharmacology

Antimicrobial activity

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro, alcoholic leaf extracts demonstrated antibiotic activity against Escherichia coli, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Staphylococcus aureus.Duke 2002, Ghaemi 2007

Insecticidal activity of lemon verbena essential oils has been described, suggesting potential applications for controlling head lice infestation and repelling mosquitoes (possibly due to the limonene content).Gillij 2008, Toloza 2010, Werdin González 2013 A 2% emulsion of the oil was reported to kill mites and aphids.Duke 2002

Antioxidant activity

Animal and experimental data

Experiments in rats and laboratory tests have demonstrated antioxidant activity of lemon verbena extracts.Bilia 2008, Lenoir 2012, Quirantes-Piné 2013 Antioxidant enzymes and blood indices have been measured, and protection against induced colon inflammation in rats was demonstrated with a lemon verbena infusion.Lenoir 2011, Portmann 2012 Experimental studies suggest that lemon verbena's antioxidant activity is similar to that of green tea.Abderrahim 2011

Clinical data

In healthy male volunteers (N=15), supplementation with a lemon verbena extract containing 10% verbascoside had a modest effect on cytokine response and exercise-induced oxidative damage of neutrophils.Funes 2011 In a small, randomized, prospective, placebo-controlled clinical trial (N=9), C-reactive protein levels and markers of oxidative stress decreased in patients with certain forms of multiple sclerosis given a low-fat diet supplemented with lemon verbena extract; further studies are needed to confirm results.Mauriz 2014

Muscle supplementation

Clinical data

In a small, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study with parallel design, a dried extract of lemon verbena was safe and well tolerated, and effective in reducing muscle damage after exhaustive exercise. Active healthy males and females (N=44) 22 to 50 years of age were randomized to receive lemon verbena extract 400 mg once daily or placebo. After 15 days, participants in the lemon verbena group showed less muscle damage as well as faster and full recovery. This group also had significantly less exercise-related loss of muscle strength (P=0.0311) over all time points, improved glutathione peroxidase activity by trend (P=0.0681), and less movement-induced pain (P=0.0788) compared with the placebo group.Buchwald-Werner 2018

Soporific effects

Clinical data

In a parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (N=100), patients were randomized to receive A. citriodora extract (as syrup) (total essential oil content of 1.66 mg per 10 mL; total amount of flavonoid in terms of quercetin of 3.22 mg per 10 mL of the syrup) or placebo syrup. Patients were advised to use 10 mL of syrup 1 hour before bedtime for a period of 4 weeks, then fill out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) questionnaires. After 4 weeks of treatment, mean global PSQI scores (components include sleep latency, habitual sleep efficiency, daytime dysfunction, and subjective sleep quality) and ISI score improved significantly with A. citriodora compared with placebo (P<0.001). These results suggest that oral use of A. citriodora may be used as complementary treatment for insomnia.Afrasiabian 2019

Spasmolytic effects

Animal and in vitro data

Vitexin, a chemical constituent identified in an aqueous extract of cedrón, showed spasmolytic activity in isolated rat duodenum.Ragone 2007 Chinese investigators have reported antitussive activity of a component of the related plant Verbena officinalis.Gui 1985


Clinical studies to substantiate the safety or efficacy of any lemon verbena dosing regimen are limited. Traditional dosing regimens include a 45 mL decoction taken several times per day.Duke 2002

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.Duke 2002


None well documented. Apigenin, a chemical constituent of lemon verbena, is a cyclooxygenase inhibitor.Duke 2002

Adverse Reactions

Contact hypersensitivity has been associated with members of related species. Avoid in individuals with renal insufficiency because lemon verbena is excreted renally.Duke 2002, Felgines 2014


Lemon verbena is considered GRAS for human consumption and for use as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages. It is also used in herbal teas.Lemon-verbena 2014 In an evaluation of genotoxic biomarkers, extracts were not genotoxic to human blood.Portmann 2012

Index Terms

  • Aloysia citriodora Paláu
  • Aloysia citrodora Paláu
  • Lippia citrodora Kunth
  • Lippia triphylla (L'Her.) Kuntze
  • Verbena triphylla (L'Her.)
  • Zappania citrodora (Lam)



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

More about lemon verbena

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Abderrahim F, Estrella S, Susin C, Arribas SM, González MC, Condezo-Hoyos L. The antioxidant activity and thermal stability of lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) infusion. J Med Food. 2011;14(5):517-527.21434775
Afrasiabian F, Mirabzadeh Ardakani M, Rahmani K, et al. Aloysia citriodora Palau (lemon verbena) for insomnia patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of efficacy and safety. Phytother Res. 2019;33(2):350-359.30450627
Aloysia triphylla (L'Hér.) Britton. USDA, NRCS. 2019. The PLANTS Database (, 8 August 2019). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
Bahramsoltani R, Rostamiasrabadi P, Shahpiri Z, Marques AM, Rahimi R, Farzaei MH. Aloysia citrodora Paláu (Lemon verbena): a review of phytochemistry and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 2018;222:34-51.29698776
Bilia AR, Giomi M, Innocenti M, Gallori S, Vincieri FF. HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS analysis of the constituents of aqueous preparations of verbena and lemon verbena and evaluation of the antioxidant activity. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008;46(3):463-470.18155378
Buchwald-Werner S, Naka I, Wilhelm M, Schütz E, Schoen C, Reule C. Effects of lemon verbena extract (Recoverben) supplementation on muscle strength and recovery after exhaustive exercise: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:5.29410606
Di Leo Lira P, van Baren CM, López S, et al. Northwestern Argentina: a center of genetic diversity of lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora PALÁU, Verbenaceae). Chem Biodivers. 2013;10(2):251-261.23418172
Duke J, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, duCellier J, Duke P. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2002.
Felgines C, Fraisse D, Besson C, Vasson MP, Texier O. Bioavailability of lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) polyphenols in rats: impact of colonic inflammation. Br J Nutr. 2014;111(10):1773-1781.24513110
Funes L, Carrera-Quintanar L, Cerdán-Calero M, et al. Effect of lemon verbena supplementation on muscular damage markers, proinflammatory cytokines release and neutrophils' oxidative stress in chronic exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011;111(4):695-705.20967458
Ghaemi EO, Khorshidi D, Moradi A, et al. The efficacy of ethanolic extract of lemon verbena on the skin infection due to Staphylococcus aureus in an animal model. Pak J Biol Sci. 2007;10(22):4132-4135.19090293
Gil A, Van Baren CM, Di Leo Lira PM, Bandoni AL. Identification of the genotype from the content and composition of the essential oil of lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora Palau). J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(21):8664-8669.17880159
Gillij YG, Gleiser RM, Zygadlo JA. Mosquito repellent activity of essential oils of aromatic plants growing in Argentina. Bioresour Technol. 2008;99(7):2507-2515.17583499
Gui CH. Antitussive constituents of Verbena officinalis [in Chinese]. Zhong Yao Tong Bao. 1985;10(10):35.2938777
Lemon-verbena. Food for Human Consumption. Fed Regist. 2014;21(3):2014.
Lenoir L, Joubert-Zakeyh J, Texier O, Lamaison JL, Vasson MP, Felgines C. Aloysia triphylla infusion protects rats against dextran sulfate sodium-induced colonic damage. J Sci Food Agric. 2012;92(7):1570-1572.22190244
Lenoir L, Rossary A, Joubert-Zakeyh J, et al. Lemon verbena infusion consumption attenuates oxidative stress in dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in the rat. Dig Dis Sci. 2011;56(12):3534-3545.21688009
Mauriz E, Vallejo D, Tuñón MJ, et al. Effects of dietary supplementation with lemon verbena extracts on serum inflammatory markers of multiple sclerosis patients. Nutr Hosp. 2014;31(2):764-771.25617561
Portmann E, Nigro MM, Reides CG, et al. Aqueous extracts of Lippia turbinata and Aloysia citriodora (Verbenaceae): assessment of antioxidant capacity and DNA damage. Int J Toxicol. 2012;31(2):192-202.22427199
Quirantes-Piné R, Arráez-Román D, Segura-Carretero A, Fernández-Gutiérrez A. Characterization of phenolic and other polar compounds in a lemon verbena extract by capillary electrophoresis-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. J Sep Sci. 2010;33(17-18):2818-2827.20715141
Quirantes-Piné R, Herranz-López M, Funes L, et al. Phenylpropanoids and their metabolites are the major compounds responsible for blood-cell protection against oxidative stress after administration of Lippia citriodora in rats. Phytomedicine. 2013;20(12):1112-1118.23827667
Ragone MI, Sella M, Conforti P, Volonté MG, Consolini AE. The spasmolytic effect of Aloysia citriodora, Palau (South American cedrón) is partially due to its vitexin but not isovitexin on rat duodenums. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;113(2):258-266.17640836
Simon JE, Chadwick AF, Craker LE. Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography, 1971-1980. Hamden, CT: Archon Books; 1984.
Skaltsa H, Shammas G. Flavonoids from Lippia citriodora. Planta Med. 1988;54(5):465.17265320
Toloza AC, Zygadlo J, Biurrun F, Rotman A, Picollo MI. Bioactivity of Argentinean essential oils against permethrin-resistant head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis. J Insect Sci. 2010;10:185.21062140
Werdin González JO, Laumann RA, da Silveira S, Moraes MC, Borges M, Ferrero AA. Lethal and sublethal effects of four essential oils on the egg parasitoids Trissolcus basalis. Chemosphere. 2013;92(5):608-615.23664473

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