While lemon verbena and peppermint teas are often drunk for their flavour, they may also have several health benefits. The herbal teas themselves are rarely studied scientifically in isolation, but extracts derived from the herbs often are.
The research and studies cited below are based on either their herbal tea form or the herb extract (concentrated form).
Muscle Repair and Exercise Recovery
Lemon Verbena has powerful antioxidant capabilities, it has been shown to reduce oxidative damage sustained during intense exercise.
A study in the "European Journal of Applied Physiology )", focused on 15 healthy male volunteers who participated in a 90 minute running exercise for 21 days, each of them taking Lemon Verbena extract as a supplement. Researchers found that oxidative damage to fats, proteins and muscles was significantly reduced.
In another clinical trial in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition ", 44 active volunteers took Lemon Verbena supplements before and after participating in an exhaustive exercise routine. The trial found that participants who took the supplements benefitted from less muscle damage, faster recovery, and improved activity of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase.
One of the key chemical components of Lemon Verbena is verbascoside. Verbascoside is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that has been studied in conjunction with omega 3 as an alternative treatment for joint problems.
In a study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine”, 45 patients took a supplement of Lemon Verbena extract and fish oil or a placebo for 9 weeks.
Significant improvements in joint pain and stiffness were observed in the supplement group. The researchers concluded that this pilot study warranted further investigation as a natural alternative remedy for stiffness and joint pain.
De-stress and Insomnia
Lemon Verbena contains hastatosides and verbenalin that are volatile oils known as "monoterpenoids". They can aid insomnia by activating the GABA system. GABA is a brain chemical that switches off the transmission of nerve signals, helping calm the mind and nervous system for relaxation or sleep.
A study in "Phototherapy Research " focused on 100 insomnia patients each taking a lemony syrup 1 hour before bedtime. Those who received Lemon Verbena, rather than a placebo reported significantly improved sleep quality according to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) compared to the placebo group.
Lemon Verbena has long promoted digestive health and relieved digestive complaints. It has anti-spasmodic qualities that can relieve symptoms of indigestion, digestive cramp, bloating and flatulence.
While its exact mechanism is unknown, the mucilage in the leaves of Lemon Verbena exert a healing effect on the stomach membrane, shielding it from corrosive acid levels. It also contains the volatile oil citral which helps the liver reduce toxicity and aids the digestion of fats.
Digestive Health and IBS Symptoms
Peppermints digestive aid qualities are due to the high menthol content of the herb. When consumed as a tea menthol helps relieves gastrointestinal problems like indigestion, gas, and bloating. Menthol encourages bile to flow into the small intestine, where it promotes digestion by breaking down fats more rapidly.
Menthol also has strong anti-spasmodic effects, relaxing the muscles of the abdomen and the digestive tract, allowing gas to pass through the system more easily.
A review by "Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology " of nine studies including over 700 patients with IBS found that taking peppermint oil capsules improved IBS symptoms significantly more than placebo capsules.
Antibacterial, Antiviral and Antioxidants
A study by "Journal of Oleo Science " showed that peppermint has significant antiviral and antibiotic properties, helping to support the body's immune system. This is why peppermint tea can be a great addition to treating things like the common cold.
In a study by "Food Chemistry ", focusing on peppermint tea and essential peppermint oil revealed that they're both rich in phytochemicals like vitamins and minerals and have strong antioxidant properties that can help strengthen your body's immune system.
Revitalisation and Brain Function
In addition to ingesting mint, there are claims that inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil might provide further health benefits including improved brain function.
A study in the "International Journal of Neuroscience " focused on 144 young adults. It demonstrated that smelling the aroma of peppermint oil five minutes prior to testing produced significant improvements in memory.
Another study in the "North American Journal of Psychology " found that smelling peppermint oils while driving increased alertness and decreased levels of frustration, anxiety, and fatigue.
However, should be acknowledged that not all studies agree that peppermint oil can improve brain function. Another study by the "North American Journal of Psychology " found that although the aroma of the oil was invigorating and led to less fatigue, it had no effect on brain function.
While another study in "Nutrients. " found that peppermint aids performance for complex tasks and helps ease mental fatigue. Which could make a cup of peppermint tea perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up!