Lemon balm is a perennial herb which grows up to 1 meter high. Lemon balm has an angular stem which branches. The leaves grow in opposite pairs and have a typical lemon flavour when bruised. The white to cream coloured small flowers bloom the whole summer and partly during autumn.
Mainly the lemon balm leaves, which are harvested just before blooming.
Citronellal, Triterpenens, Geranial, Neral, Rosmarinic acid, Geraniol, Flavonoids, Polyphenols
The Greek Dioscorides used lemon balm as a medicinal herb and describes it as being usefull to treat a disordered state of the nervous system. In the 1600s the Swis physisina Paracelsus called it Hearts Delight as it could revivify a man. Lemon balm is known for its calming and soothing properties. Lemon balm is used to treat sleeping problems, stimulation of the appetite and nervous stomach ailments. Tests with mice have shown that lemon balm has sedative properties.
Lemon balm has antiviral effects, which is believed to be caused by the inhibition of protein synthesis.
The polyphenols in lemon balm explain the antioxidant activity.
Lemon balm originates from Eastern Mediterranean and Asia. The lemon balm flowers are visited by bees which collect honey. The name Melissa is coming from a Greek word meaning bee. Lemon balm is also used in the kitchen as a spice, because of its lemon flavour. The lemon balm leaves are often used to decorate meals, drinks and desserts.
Balm, sweet balm, bee balm, melissa