Thyme leaves ( Thymus vulgaris )

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Lemon verbena, also known as Aloysia triphylla, is a native South American herb that was first introduced to Europeans by the Spanish in the 1600s, then later became popular in North America in the 1800s, according to the website Sara's Superb Herbs. Naturalists have used the plant's leaves and flowers since that time for a wide variety of culinary and medicinal uses, ranging from teas and oils to digestive system treatments. However, neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the medical establishment endorses lemon verbena's use as a treatment for certain medical problems.

Lemon verbena has a strong lemony smell, both as a fresh and dried plant, and has been used as a flavoring in all types of dishes--salads, stuffings, meat dishes, baked goods and grains--for generations, as well as being a popular tea, notes Sara's Superb Herbs. The dried leaves of lemon verbena are a prized scented filling for sachets and pillows and a popular ingredient in potpourri mixtures. For most medicinal purposes, users will make a tea by pouring boiling water over the fresh or dried leaves and allowing the concoction to steep for at least five minutes, says the herbal website Ageless. At the end of the steeping time, the leaves are strained out, leaving lemon verbena tea.

Although the exact function of lemon verbena within the human body is unknown, RxList reports that lemon verbena plants may harbor compounds that are capable of killing the microbe populations--for instance, certain types of bacteria and mites--that are thought to be responsible for contributing to larger medical conditions. While Drugs.com acknowledges these findings, it points out that there are insufficient clinical data to know if lemon verbena functions in this manner.

According to Sara's Superb Herbs, a cold compress made from steeped lemon verbena leaves can reduce skin puffiness, especially around the eyes. Vinegar made with lemon verbena is thought to clean and tone the skin, and oil infused with the herb can be used as a soothing massage oil that stimulates circulation in the skin.

Womens-Health-Symmetry.com suggests that lemon verbena may be effective against mild digestive disorders such as diarrhea, indigestion, constipation and gas. The herb is also thought to calm digestive tract cramping or pain. However, these claims have not been sufficiently scrutinized by scientific researchers; if you have a digestive problem you would like to treat with lemon verbena, be certain to speak to your physician first.According to Ageless, lemon verbena is commonly used to stimulate the function of the nervous system and to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress. It is a known sedative.