Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis

Melissa officinalis
  • Common Names
  • Lemon Balm , Melissa
  • Botanical Name
  • Melissa officinalis
  • Family

Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Lemon Balm

remedyHow to Use| Side Effects | Plant & Garden| Aromatherapy Oil | Folklore

How to Use: Lemon Balm

Herbalists refer to the plant as lemon balm, aromatherapists use the botanical name melissa, both refer to the same plant, Melissa officinalis. Lemon balm is an aromatic mint with a venerable reputation for having calming properties. Lemon balm can be very helpful for those times when nerves, headaches and/or mild depression are preventing you from relaxing and getting a good nights sleep. Combined with valerian, it may even be more beneficial than many prescription sleep aids.(Balch, Phyllis A.) Lemon balm's sedative and analgesic properties make it a favorite remedy for women having cramping, painful periods or any kind of stomach upset.

Lemon balm has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and like all of it's mint family relatives, a cup of hot lemon balm tea induces perspiration to help break a fever making the herb useful for treating colds and flu. Lemon balm extracts are also effective against herpes, cold sores and mumps viruses. (Duke, pp139) A concentrated extract of Melisa is sold in Europe for the treatment of core sores, herpes HSV-1 and HSV-2, genital herpes. (Robbers, James E. ,PhD, Tyler, Varro E. PhD,ScD, pp 228-229)

Preparation Methods & Dosage :Lemon balm Leaf tea, extracts, and the essential oil, melissa are all commonly used. Lemon balm is used to flavor chicken and fish, use it in any recipes that call for a lemon type seasoning.

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Lemon Balm Remedies

In the Kitchen: Lemon balm is used to flavor chicken and fish, use it in any recipes that call for a lemon type seasoning.

Lemon Balm Side Effects: None reported, lemon balm is considered a very safe herb even for babies and the frail.

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Plant Description

  • Plant Class: Perennial
  • Etymology: Balm short for balsam -The sweet smelling oils
  • Flowers/Fruit/Seeds:Clusters of small yellow flowers in the axils of the leaves
  • Parts used: Leaves, flowers, essential oil
  • Leaves:Opposite,heart shaped leaves with serrated edges,give off a heady lemon scent when bruised, and have a delicate lemon flavor
  • Flowering Season:June to August
  • Distribution:widely grown in the Mediterranean and France and over much of the eastern and central US. Prefers warm climates.

How to Grow Lemon Balm

Lemon balm grows easily from seed, and is not fussy about soil. If you allow it to go to seed, you will find lemon balm coming up in unexpected places the next year. Like all mint relatives, it likes a bit of shade from the hot afternoon sun. You can propagate by taking cuttings from vigorous growth in the summer, or by root division in the spring and fall. Harvest leaves all summer by pinching the topmost growth, this will help the plant bush out and not be so lanky.