Lemon Verbena Oil Uses, Health Benefits & Side Effects


Lemon verbena oil is obtained by hydrodistillation of lemon verbena plant (Aloysia citriodora Palau) leaves (fresh or dried). It belongs to the family Verbenaceae which contains around 200 species. Its main uses include act as an ingredient in liquors and nonalcoholic beverages as well as a flavoring in jams and energizing sorbets. This plant was originally cultivated in South and Central America and was introduced to Europe in the 17th century and became popular for its scented oil. This oil has a lemon-like, sweet and herbaceous scent (due to flavonoids and phenol derivatives) and has a yellow to light green color (1).

Common name

cedrón, Verbena grass Louise, Arabic tea.

Geographic distribution

Lemon verbena is native to Western South America and is cultivated in North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East like Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Europe, and Africa Mediterranean regions (2).

Constituents of Lemon verbena oil

Lemon verbena leaves are rich in essential oil content ranged between 0.2 and 1% on dry wt.  A total of ninety-two components were identified in this essential oil accounting for 97.0% of the total composition (3).

Oxygenated monoterpenes51.9 %
Monoterpene hydrocarbons14.8 %
Sesquiterpene hydrocarbons13.1%
Oxygenated sesquiterpenes16.2%
Geranial21.0 %
Limonene11.4 %
caryophyllene oxide4.8%

Health benefits of Lemon verbena oil

Lemon verbena oil is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of some of the gastrointestinal disorders and several other diseases like diarrhea, flatulence, insomnia, rheumatism carminative, antispasmodic and sedative as well as for abdominal pain relief and against nausea and dizziness

1. Antioxidant properties 

Flavonoids and phenolic acids obtained from lemon verbena leaves possess antioxidant properties (4)

2. Treats insomnia

Lemon verbena oil syrup for 4 weeks is very effective to improve sleep quality, daily function, and reduction of insomnia. This oil contains sedative compounds like linalool, caryophyllene, and limonene which induce sleep (5).

3. Antimicrobial and anticancer properties

It contains antimicrobial compounds like Citral and limonene. Which inhibits the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Aspergillus niger. This oil also shows a wonderful cytoprotective effect against tumor cells thus prevents cancer cell growth (6).

4. Treat candidiasis

1,8-cineole, geranial, germacrene-D, limonene, linalool, and menthol found in oil showed antifungal activity against several strains of candida thus it is a promising alternative for the treatment of candidiasis (7).

5. Treat gastroduodenal diseases caused by Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori is a bacteria that grows in the digestive system and responsible for gastroduodenal diseases like stomach cancer in humans. 

However, antibiotics treatment improves the condition but after some time these bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics. Therefore, lemon verbena essential oil (geranial and neral) is a promising alternative without the development of acquired resistance against helicobacter pylori (8).

6. Treat neurodegenerative diseases

The presence of limonene, geranial, neral, 1,8-cineole, curcumene, spathulenol, and caryophyllene oxide in lemon verbena oil show a significant effect on Alzheimer’s disease as well as other neurodegenerative diseases (9).

7. Anti-parasitic properties 

Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that causes heart and gastrointestinal tract disease. Lemon verbena essential oil (250 mg/kg) has a beneficial effect on Trypanosoma cruzi infection reduces parasitemia (85%) and inflammatory cell infiltration in the heart (10).

8. Prevents dengue and arboviral diseases

This oil exhibits antiviral effects on Aedes aegypti (cause dengue) and Culex quinquefasciatus (responsible for lymphatic filariasis and arboviral diseases) Say prevent dengue virus replication and inactivate virus before adsorption on the host cell (11). 

Side effect of Lemon verbena oil

1. Risk of contact dermatitis

Inhalation or ingestion of lemon verbena oil sometimes causes dermatitis with symptoms are a bright red rash or pigmentation of the skin thus if you are allergic do not use lemon verbena oil (12).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati

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