Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial plant in the mint family (Laminaceae), native to southern Europe and Mediterranean region. When you rub lemon balm leaves between your fingers, you’ll smell a strong lemon scent. You can use the leaves to brew tea, flavor a fruit or green salad and season fish. Currently, I am still waiting the plant to grow larger before using it.
Grow Lemon Balm in Your Garden
After all danger of frost has passed, set lemon balm in rich soil where it will receive full sun to partial shade. Whenever your plant is looking tired due to drought, hail, insects or other stress, just water it. If in a few hours it does not start to look good, just cut it and let it rejuvenate itself with fresh, new growth. Lemon balm will bloom towards the end of the season. Plants look tired when this happens, but if you enjoy the leaves regularly, flowers will hardly have a chance to form.
You can grow lemon balm in a pot if you want, but remember that you have to water it frequently. Lemon balm loses much of its flavor when dried, so it is a seasonal delight to be enjoyed while the weather is mild and the plant is green.
Several studies show that lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops and chamomile) reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Some evidence suggests that lemon balm, in combination with other herbs, may help treat indigestion. Others reveal that lemon balm oil has a high degree of antibacterial activity. Also it maintains the cells of our body young by canceling free radical formation processes.
The use of herbs is a time honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take lemon balm.