Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Lippia dulcis (TREV.)
Family: N.O. Verbenaceae

Synonyms: Yerba dulce. Mexican Lippia.
Part Used: Leaves.

A dozen species of Lippias are utilized in medicine and in perfumery for their fragrant oils.

The drug Lippia Mexicana consists of the leaves and flowers of L. dulcis, an evergreen shrub, about 18 feet high, with rough bark, the branches and leaves in pairs, the flowerstalks in the axils of the leaves, bearing many pyramidal, scaly heads about the size of a small grey pea, in which are many small yellow flowers between the scales. The leaves are 1 to 1 1/2 inch long, ovate, narrowed into the petiole, acute, finely-toothed above, veiny and glandular-hairy. They have a peculiar, sweet and very delightful, aromatic odour and taste.

Constituents: In 1886, Podwisrotzki separated an essential oil from the leaves,resembling that of fennel, as well as a camphor-like substance which he named Lippiol. (According to Maish, however, the plant used was probably the Cedronella Mexicana.)

Medicinal Action and Uses: The drug finds employment as a stimulating expectorant, the tincture, in doses of 1/2 to 1 fluid drachm, is given as a respiratory sedative in coughs. It acts as an alterative on the mucous membranc.

Lippiol, in doses of 4 1/2 grains, causes warmth, flushing, diaphoresis and drowsiness.

Other Species:
L. GRAVEOLENS (H. B.) is similarly employed in Mexico, where it is known as Yerba dulce.

L. ORIGANOIDES (Kunth) is used as a substitute for origanum.

The yellowish-green leaves of L. CYMOSA of Jamaica are scented like Pennyroyal.

L. NODIELORA (Mx.) is employed in India under the names of Buccar, Vakhar, Ratolia; and in Chile it is called Yerba de la Sainte Maria.

In Brazil, L. PSEUDO-THEA (Schauer) is used as a substitute for tea and its fruit is eaten.

L. SCABERRIMA (Souder) is the South African shrub Benkess Boas, and its leaves yield about 0.25 per cent of volatile oil, somewhat resembling lavender in its odour. It contains the crystalline alcohol, Lippianol.

The Lemon-scented Verbena of gardens (the Verveine odorante of the French), so much valued for the fragrance of its leaves, was once referred to the genus Verbena, under the name of Verbena triphylla. Lyons subsequently assigned it to the genus Aloysia (hence a gardener's popular name for it: Herb Louisa, a corruption of the Latin name, Aloysia), but it is now classed in the genus Lippia and named L. CITRIODORA (Kunth). It differs from Verbena in having two, not four, nutlets in the fruit.