Botanical name: Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm hails from the Mediterranean, where it has been cultivated for around 2000 years! Its latin name ‘Melissa’ means ‘bee’, and it is definitely a bee attracting plant. Herbalist Avicenna recommended it “to make the heart merry”. Paracelsus claimed that Lemon Balm could completely revitalise the body, and royalty prized it to keep in good health. In fact one king Llewelyn drank it everyday, and lived to the ripe old age of 108!
Lemon balm is a common garden herb with a pleasing flavour, and is even gentle enough for children. It is a calming herb that is useful for nervous stomachs, colic as well as heart spasms. Its carminative action helps dispel gas.
The hot tea helps bring on a sweat that can help relieve colds, flus, and fevers. It is also a powerful antiviral, useful for mumps and other viral infections. Recently it has been found to be very effective in treating symptoms of herpes simplex, when used topically as an ointment, wash or poultice of fresh leaves.
Lemon balm makes a soothing & uplifting tea for nervous tension, anxiety and depression. Aromatherapists use the essential oil (or simply sniffing the tea or fresh leaves) to reduce nervousness, insomnia and depression.
Preparation: 2 tsp / cup, steep covered 10 mins
Reference: Deni Brown (2002), New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses, p.235., Kathi Keville (1991), The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia, p.125.
Lemon Balm Common Uses
Lemon Balm Actions
Lemon Balm Recipes
Lemon Balm Precautions
Lemon balm is a safe and gentle herb. There is a theoretical possibility that it can interfere with thyroid medication, so caution should be exercised in this instance.
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