Thursday, November 20, 2014

They Said What About My Favorite, Lemon Verbena? Part Two

Lemon Verbena Hanging Out in the Kitchen Sink!
Well, I didn't imagine I would become so engrossed in this topic.  I'm sort of obsessed with finding the source of the dermatitis remarks.  So here is a second wave of fun herbal factoids that I have found.  Yes, I did find another source of the sensitivity issue and it comes from across the pond.

I will start with the earliest factoid not about the sensitivity issue.  In Sybil Leek's Book of Herbs (1980) she says that lemon verbena "relieves harsh, barking coughs, which can be a strain on the heart."

Taylor's Guide to Herbs (1995) Edited by Rita Buchanan says "It is recommended for colds, headaches, colic, dyspepsia and fever.  Rub leaves in pets' fur to repel fleas and on yourself to repel mosquitoes."  I will be trying that last tip about mosquitoes and will let you know!

The Illustrated Book of Herbs (1996) by Barbara Hey talks about putting a handful of lemon verbena in the vacuum to perfume the air.  She also talks about stinkbugs in dry conditions are a problem for lemon verbenas.  She talks about using paraffin in a can with a stick.  I just use a jar with soapy water in it.  You do have to be adept at getting them.  I have gotten pretty good.  So good that they tattoo my hands with an orange coloring!  Ms. Hey says if you miss them, a lizard may take care of them for you.  I think I might get a pet lizard!

Paul Seitz in The Complete Herb Gardener (1996) says protect lemon verbena from rust.  My lemon verbenas never get rust (knock on wood) but I must remember that other parts of the country may have this disease affecting lemon verbenas.  He also says "use only small amounts and not over a prolonged period of time."

Deni Bown in Herbal (2001) and in her Encyclopedia of Herbs for the Herb Society of America (1995 or 96) says "the essential oil was once popular in perfumery, notably in a citrus-scented cologne know as eau de verveine. (My favorite summertime perfume!) Its use declined following evidence that it may sensitize the skin to sunlight."  I'm going to being looking into her bibliography and seeing her sources and if I can find a much earlier source.

Sarah Baker the Editor of Herbaceous (2003) talks about powdery mildew as a problem for lemon verbena!  In SW Pennsylvania, I have never heard of this disease as a problem for lemon verbena.

In the Reader's Digest The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs (2013) Barbara Booth, Editor talks about a common name for lemon verbena as lemon beebrush.  In cooking, the leaves are best used fresh and young.  Use sparingly, otherwise the flavor can overwhelm the food and be reminiscent of lemon-scented soap!  This book originally was published in Australia.  I just have never had the taste of lemon-scented soap in any cooking or baking where I have used lemon verbena.  I guess just stick with the recipes suggestions as far as amounts of lemon verbena used and you should be fine.

In Culinary Herbs & Spices of the World (2013) Ben-Erik Van Wyk talks about growing lemon verbena from seed.  He is from South Africa and maybe you can grow lemon verbena from seed there.  Have you ever seen a packet of lemon verbena seeds?  I would love to find them if they exist.  I would still suggest taking cutting from your existing plant to make new plants.

So Deni Bown is another author talking about sensitivity to lemon verbena.  I am on a quest.  Looking for that very old source.  I'll let you know what else I find.

It is very cold here in the 'Burgh.  We are going to moderate over the weekend.  So sorry for the Buffalo area!  Hope you are having a great day.  Talk to you later.

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