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Différences entre verveine officinale et verveine citronnée.

Lemon Verbena and Common Verbena: What are the differences?

Vervain is a plant that has been used by humans since ancient times. This plant species encompasses over 250 varieties scattered around the world. Europeans cultivate and consume only two of these varieties: the common vervain and the lemon verbena. Let's explore the differences between these two species together.

Lemon Verbena and Common Verbena: What are we talking about?

The common verbena and the lemon verbena are both perennial plants from the Verbenaceae family. In botany, a species is referred to as "perennial" when it lives for several years, as opposed to an "annual" plant.

  • The common vervain (Verbena officinalis).

    This verbena is known by several names: Sacred Herb, Witches' Herb, or Wild Verbena. The official verbena stands out for its erect and branched stem that hosts opposite cut leaves. The multiple virtues of the official verbena were already recognised by the Gauls who named it Cure-all or Herb for all ailments. Nowadays, this plant is primarily used for its diuretic and digestive properties.

  • The lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora or Lippia citrodiora).

    The lemon verbena, also known as scented verbena or lemongrass verbena, is a shrub-like plant similar to the common verbena. Its leaves are highly fragrant, evoking the aroma of lemon. Lemon verbena is predominantly cultivated in the tropical regions of South America, such as Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Long used in the creation of love potions, the Romans associated this plant with Venus, the goddess of love.

Commonalities between lemon verbena and common verbena?

Lemon verbena and common verbena are very similar plants. Both belonging to the Verbenaceae family, they have several similarities.

  • A similar climate conducive to cultivation.

    These two species of verbena both thrive in a sunny climate, when temperatures exceed 20°C. They require a fertile and moist soil to grow. The planting of lemon verbena and common verbena is preferably done in an environment exposed to the sun and lightly shaded. In summer, they both need regular watering.

  • Plants favoured for herbal tea.

    Lemon verbena and common verbena are plants highly favoured by herbal tea enthusiasts. They possess a pleasant lemony fragrance, more pronounced in the case of the fragrant verbena. Some people even detect a slight minty taste, or one resembling that of a mandarin. Beyond their scent and flavour, verbena infusions are acclaimed for their digestive and soothing properties. Indeed, they are attributed with relaxing and calming effects, and, in some cases, efficacy in addressing sleep disorders and stress.

The differences between lemon verbena and common verbena.

Despite having a similar aesthetic, lemon verbena and common verbena exhibit several differences that are interesting to keep in mind.

  • A different cultivation period.

    While lemon verbena and common verbena require a similar cultivation environment, their growing schedule differs slightly. Indeed, the former variety is typically planted in May or June, while the latter is planted earlier, between the months of March and May. The flowering period of the common verbena is shorter than that of the lemon verbena and occurs around the month of May. The flowering period of the lemon verbena, on the other hand, falls between June and August. Finally, the harvesting time for the common verbena is between June and September, while that of the lemon verbena is longer and occurs between May and October.

  • Unique biochemical compositions.

    Lemon verbena and common verbena do not contain the same active ingredients. In the lemon verbena, we typically find isomers of citral (neral and geranial), nerol, geraniol, eucalyptol, alpha-terpineol and linalool. On the other hand, common verbena contains tannins, flavonoids, iridoids and polyphenols. This difference in composition is the reason for their differing properties for the skin.

  • Unequal benefits for the skin in topical application.

    The lemon verbena is highly favoured in cosmetics and is incorporated into many skincare products in the form of a hydrosol. Numerous studies have focused on this ingredient and have concluded that it possesses antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

    It is thus used to prevent photoaging and the appearance of brown spots, but also to reduce imperfections and aid the healing of lesions. This is why we have incorporated lemon verbena (INCI: Lippia Citriodora Leaf Water) into our radiance mask. Also containing yellow clay (INCI: Kaolin) and organic turmeric (INCI: Curcuma Longa Root Extract), it revives the radiance of dull skin while "purifying" them.

    There also exist hydrosols of common verbena, but these are more rare and are more often used orally than topically. Furthermore, few studies have investigated the properties of common verbena hydrosol when it is directly applied to the skin.


  • CANAC P. & al. Traité d'aromathérapie scientifique et médicale, les hydrolats (1ère édition). Paris : Édition Sang de la Terre (2018).


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