Scientific Name:Melissa officinalis
About this Herb:A perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, Lemon Balm now grows wild in North America in areas without severe winters. It grows in clumps of up to 3 feet with leaves that are opposite, ovate and hairy. The flowers grow in clusters and may vary in color from pale yellow to rose colored or blue-white. The flowering time is July and August.
Common Names:Blue Balm, Garden Balm, Honey Leaf, Honey Plant, Melissa, Sweet Balm
Uses:Lemon Balm has many culinary and medicinal uses. Lemon balm is often used as a flavoring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. It is also frequently paired with fruit dishes or candies. It can be used in fish dishes and is the key ingredient in lemon balm pesto.
The crushed leaves, when rubbed on the skin, are used as a repellant for mosquitos. Lemon balm is also used medicinally as a herbal tea, or in extract form it is claimed to have antibacterial and antiviral properties (it is effective against herpes simplex). It is also used as a mild sedative, a calming agent, and a mood elevator. Ob-X, a mixture of three herbs, Morus alba, M. officinalis, and Artemisia capillaris, may help regulate obesity. Ob-X reduces body weight gain and visceral adipose tissue mass in genetically obese mice.
Applications:Tea: Drink 1 to 2 cups of hot or cold tea daily may add honey if desired.
Infusion: Add 2 tsp. chopped herb or leaves to 1 cup boiling water. Drink warm, as needed.
Tincture: The dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp.