Lemon Balm is an herb, grown originally in Africa and southern Europe. It now grows wild in many parts of the world, and is easy to cultivate both in your garden, and indoors. Lemon Balm likes rich moist soil that is a bit shaded. The plant will die down in the fall but will sprout again in the spring. It can easily be grown from cuttings, preferably started indoors during the winter. The leaves are most flavorful if picked before the plant has a chance to bloom. Although the leaves can be used dried, they are more flavorful when picked fresh.
Lemon Balm is related to mint, which can be seen by the similarly shaped, deeply-serrated, leaves. The leaves have a minty-lemon flower. Lemon Balm is used as a medicinal herb and is often made into a tea or used to add flavor to both sweet and tangy dishes. It is used in seafood, as well as desserts, and salads. You can make schnapps by seeping a few dozen fresh leaves of Lemon Balm in two cups of vodka for forty-eight hours. Lemon balm is also used in liqueurs such as Chartreuse and French Benadictine. This herb is also found in essential oils, aromatherapy, herbal toothpaste and even hair preparations.
Lemon Balm is considered a calming herb and is used medicinally for a variety of purposes. It is used as a mild sedative as well as for insomnia. It is believed to lower blood pressure and bring relief to mild colds as well as indigestion. There are even claims that it increases longevity,and mental efficiency and it has been considered of use in treating several mental conditions.
Lemon Balm is considered to be safe for anyone, in small doses. Always remember that prescribed medications are carefully measured, but the medicinal properties of herbs are more difficult to evaluate. If you have any serious medical issues or doubts about the affect of this herb, or any other, on your health, consult your family physician. Lemon Balm does seem to interfere with the absorption of some thyroid medications.
Lemon Balm is also known as honey plant, honey balm, dropsy plant, sweet balm, and Melisa or Melissa as the name Melissa, in Greek, means honey.