One thing I love about South America is that Lemon Verbena grows into trees:
In this area the locals collect lemon verbena (in Spanish cedrón) from backyards and old herb plantations for sale by the kilo. Most commonly cedrón is used in yerba mate or as a tea by itself. During these past few months of pandemia we have been drinking a tea combination of lemon verbena leaves and dried orange peel for relaxation and vitamin c – both so important to immune system health.
Another way I use lemon verbena is by making huge pot of tea with the fresh leaves to bathe in. The tea could be added to a hot bath or bring the pot in the shower for a sauna-like effect. The aroma of the tea is so relaxing and the lemony scent repels mosquitos which there are lots of during summer. And it is during summer that I am out and about in the fields all day, collecting lemon verbena and other herbs:
The property where we work and live is quite large and there are different herbs planted in seemingly random locations, so I always bring a basket, scissors, and string to keep the herbs neat and organized:
And often my cat, Kisu, acompanies me in my herbal roundup. I so appreciate her presence and I am sure she enjoys a moment away from her four demanding kittens:
And when I am done harvesting and the baskets are full, I hang up my haul in my herbal dryer which is just a covered structure in the shade outside of our house. The herbs are protected from intense sun, wind and rain and will slowly dry here until being processed and brought inside for long-term storage:
And lastly I wanted to mention another way to use lemon verbena. A natural insect repellent can be made by soaking fresh lemon verbena leaves in alcohol – the same alcohol we are using to disinfect everything. Fill a glass jar halfway with fresh leaves and top it off with alcohol, let it sit for about a month, or at least two weeks if you are in a hurry. Once done soaking filter out the leaves and use the alcohol in a diluted spray, for topical use only, you can use this spray on clothing as well as to clean your house and prevent the spread of covid & keep away insects at the same time!