I have several lemon balm plants growing right outside my kitchen window, and I just love the wafting lemon scent that flows into the house. This easy to grow herb thrives in any sunny, well drained location. Both the foliage and the flowers are attractive in the garden and the small white flowers attract honeybees and other beneficial insects. I love to add fresh leaves to salads, soups, herbal vinegars, and fish. A simple cup of lemon balm tea is delicious too. If using the fresh leaves for tea, the leaves lowest on the plant are the highest in essential oils. In pastures this plant increases the flow of cows' milk, and is excellent with marjoram after calving. You can grow your own lemon balm from seeds found here in my local harvest store.
Melissa officinalis is a mint with a distinctly lemony scent. Its botanical name
Melissa is Greek for bee, as bees obtain large quantities of honey from the flowers. And
"balm" refers to balsam, the ancient world's most important
sweet-smelling oils. For thousands of years herbalists used lemon balm
to treat any kind of disorder of the central nervous system.
Lemon balm is an excellent carminative herb that relieves spasms of the digestive tract and is often used internally for indigestion, flatulent dyspepsia and chronic gastrointestinal disorders. I like to recommend combining lemon balm with hops or chamomile for digestive troubles.
Because of its antidepressant properties, lemon balm is a good choice for anxiety or depression, as the gentle sedative oils relieve tension and stress. For stress and tension it combines well with lavender and lime blossom. Balm also has a tonic effect on the heart and circulatory system, thus lowering blood pressure. If you looking for fresh dried herbs you can buy lemon balm leaf here in my local harvest store.
Herbalists often use lemon balm to treat viral infections of the skin, especially herpes, both genital herpes and cold sores. Although it wont eliminate the flare-ups, it helps relieve itching, and will help lesions heal. Lemon balm is useful, both medicinal and culinary and is a wonderful herb for just about anyone, including pregnant moms and children.
This beautifully fragrant herbs is one of my favorites and I guarantee it will be one of your favorites too!
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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.
Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.
Jessica Morgan, M.H.