Botanical Name: Melissa officinalis
- English: Lemon Balm, Melissa, Balm Lemon
- Also, known as: Alahana, Appiastro, Badarendjabouya, Badranjbuyeh, Balm, Balm mint, Bee balm, Blue balm, Citrounelo, Common balm, Mallisa, Melissa, Melisse, Melissenblätter, Cure-all, Dropsy plant, Erva-cidreira-miuda-de-folha, Billilotan, Sitroenkruid, Citronnelle, Folia citronellae, Franjmeshk, Garden-balm, Herzkraut, Hhashyshat ennahhl, Touroudjan, Turungan, Zitronenkraut, Honey plant, Lemon balm, Limiera, Limouna, Limounneta, Melissenkraut, Melisso, Melliss, Ponciarada, Pouncinado, Sidrunmeliss, Sweet balm, Toronjil, Toronjil-cidrado, Cedronella, Citromfülevél, Citronelle, Citrounado, Citrounela, Zitronenmelisse, Zitronen-melisse, Erba cedrata, Badaranj, Baadranjboyaa, Mélisse, melissa, cedronella, Mountain Balm, Sweet Mary, and Toronjil.
Habitat: Western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean
Harvested: Wild or cultivated
Parts Used: Herb
Melissa officinalis, is an odorous perennial shrub, growing up to 3 feet tall. The plant dies down in winter, but the roots are perennial. The genus name for lemon balm is Melissa, which comes from the Greek meaning “honey bee” or simply “honey.” Lemon balm is a favorite plant of bees. Not only does it produce lots of nectar, but it has also been used by beekeepers to prevent bees from swarming. Several square stems,10-25 inches long, lemon-scented on bruising. Stems obtusely quadrangular, furrowed pubescent. Lemon-scented leaves 2-10 cm long and about 4 cm wide, broadly ovate to obovate-oval or heart-shaped, base cuneate truncate or cordate at the base, densely pilose on both surfaces, petiole 0.5-3 cm long. White or yellow-tinted, small, two-lipped flowers form small bunches in leaf axils in summer through early fall. Corolla white or pinkish; infundibuliform tube 8-10 mm long; stamens inserted deep in the tube; bracteoles oval-oblong, about 1.5 cm long, pubescent; calyx 5-8 mm long, pubescent outside, pubescent inside with very short hairs, densely pilose in the middle.
It was a common herb in the eighteenth century, as Spirit of Melissa, a tonic made from lemon balm, was often kept in the house. The plant is also known as balm or balm mint but should not be confused with bee balm. The aromatic leaves with their distinctive lemon aroma are used as an ingredient of green salads, fruit salads, desserts, ice cream. The tea of lemon balm, the essential oil, and the extract are used in traditional and alternative medicine, including aromatherapy. Melissa was mentioned by Theophrastus, the father of botany, and Arab and Persian physicians. Lemon balm is used alone or as part of various multi-herb combination products.
How to use:
The basic method for dried herbs and flower is, take 2-3 tablespoons of dried herb in a cup or teapot. Pour hot water over it and cover it with lid for 10-30 minutes. Hot water is needed to draw out the antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, flavonoids, and volatile oils from the botanicals. Strain and squeeze out as much as liquid as possible and enjoy!
- You can sweeten your herbal tea with a bit of honey, natural fruit juice, stevia leaves powder and or licorice root powder.
- You can make ice cubes or pops by freezing tea in ice trays or pop molds.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.