Lemon Balm Uses
– Melissa Officinalis
Lemon Balm ( Melissa Officinalis) is native in Southern Europe. It is related to the mint family and does have the characteristic square stem of the mint plants. It has mint-green heart-shaped leaves.
Lemon balm is a hardy perennial which grows to from 30 cm up to 80 cm (12 – 32 in). Lemon balm likes moist soil and can thrive in a partly sunny place.
Lemon balm blossoms in late summer. It gets small white flowers which bees absolutely love. Actually Melissa is the Greek word for “honey bee”.
The lovely bonus of lemon balm is the fresh aroma of lemon from the leaves. Break off a leaf, crush it and enjoy the marvelous lemon scent. Lemon balm has the nick name “heart’s delight”.
Lemon Balm Uses in Cooking
Lemon Balm leaves are mostly used to make tea.
Lemon Balm leaves can be added in any dish which you would like to spice up with a lemon flavor; as garnish on ice cream and desserts, in salads, fruit dishes and in stuffing for fish or poultry dishes.
Many use a couple lemon balm leaves as garnish in cold drinks.
Lemon Balm Herbal Remedies
Lemon balm is an antidepressant and works wonders for your nervous system. Lemon balm tea is recommended when you are feeling stressed and worried.
Iced lemon balm tea tastes delicious and has a calming effect.
Lemon balm used externally is used to treat cold sores which are caused by the herpes virus. Lemon balm is antiviral.
Lemon balm oil is widely used in aromatherapy. Lemon balm oil sold in the stores today is most often blended with other citrus oils. Dried lemon balm leaves are common in potpourris.
“Balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy.” John Evelyn (1620-1706)
In Greek mythology there is a story about Zeus and his father Cronus. Cronus was led to believe that one of his children would overrule him.
He decided that the only way to prevent that from happening was to devour his children.
When Rhea (his wife) was pregnant with Zeus she hid in a cave on the island of Crete and gave birth to her son. Zeus grew up in secret hidden away from his tyrant father.
A nymph named Melissa fed him honey and cared for him when he was young. After Zeus eventually won over his father, Zeus transformed Melissa into a queen bee.
Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) got the name of the queen bee as it was her favorite flower.