Botanical name: Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm, although native to Europe, is grown all over the world. This plant from the mint family acquired it name because it has the scent of lemons. The plant grows up to 1-2 feet high, the leaves are very deeply wrinkled and range from dark green to yellowish green color, it has a bluish-white or yellow flowers. If you rub your fingers on the leaves, your fingers will smell tart and sweet, like lemons. The leaves should be harvested before the flowering for optimum flavor and fragrance.
Part used: Fresh or dried leaves
Available Forms: Lemon balm is available as a dried leaf that can be bought in bulk. It is also sold as tea, and in capsules, extracts, tinctures, and oil.
Health Benefits of Lemon Balm:
- Lemon balm combined with other calming herbs (such as valerian, hops and chamomile) helps reduce anxiety and promote sleep.
- Some studies suggest that topical ointments containing lemon balm may help heal lip sores associated with herpes simplex virus (HSV).
- The remedies made from the lemon balm are also very useful as an aid in regulating menstrual periods and in relaxing and strengthening women during the process of childbirth.
- Lemon balm tea can induce sweating in the body, this helps in reducing fevers and makes it a very good remedy for many childhood infections, such as colds and flu, as well as various coughs and catarrh which tends to affect children.
- Fresh leaves poultice is used to soothe insect bites, and a liniment made with lemon balm will help heal cold sores.
- Lemon balm tea is taken to treat colds and flu, lower blood pressure and indigestion. Experts suggest that this herb is also beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and hyperthyroidism.
- Lemon balm tea: 1/4 – 1 teaspoonful of dried lemon balm herb in hot water. Steep and drink up to 4 times daily.
- Tincture: 40 – 90 drops, 3 times daily
- Capsules: Take 300 – 500 mg dried lemon balm, 3 times daily or as needed.
- Topical: Apply topical cream to affected area, 3 times daily or as directed. Lemon balm also is used topically in children to treat cold sores. The dosage would be the same as the recommendations for use in adults.
Culinary Uses: Because of its delicate lemon flavor, the fresh leaves can be used to add flavor to sweet or tangy dishes. It combines well with allspice, bay leaves, mint, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Fresh herbs with essential oils, however, are less potent and should be added at the end of cooking.
Lemon Balm Side Effects and Cautions: No side effects have been reported, but this herb should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
“This post was originally published on January 3, 2012 @ 07:53”