Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Lemon balm is, as its name suggests, a lemon-scented herb which has bright green, eggshaped
leaves and small, pale yellow flowers. Pinching the leaves produces a lemon
scent which can have a very stimulating effect on the senses. Its scientific name, Melissa,
is derived from the Greek word for ‘bee’ and in correlation with this, the chemical
composition of this herb is strikingly similar to the content of the Nasanov gland found
in the worker honeybee which is used for chemical communication regarding food
sources.
Lemon balm was used by the Swiss-born physician and
alchemist, Paracelsus, to prepare his famous elixir vitae,
premium ens melissae, which was purported to have a
reviving effect on the body. In addition to elixirs, lemon
balm has also been used in tisanes, wines, cordials and
liqueurs, as well as in various eau de colognes. It has
further been demonstrated that one percent dried lemon
balm used in a cream can accelerate the healing of
herpes infections and this herb has also shown further medicinal value through
modulating mood and cognitive performance in patients suffering from mild to moderate
Alzheimer’s disease. Other medicinal properties that lemon balm has displayed include
antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-cancer effects.
Lemon Balm has a pleasant citrus aroma along with a soothing and calming effect
when made into a tisane. In addition, it
makes the perfect bedtime drink when
honey is added to it.