Lemon Balm

(Melissa οfficinalis L.)

 

Lemon balm’s name alludes to its lemony aroma, in Greek its name is “bee herb” due to the preference bees show it. In ancient Greece it was dedicated to the goddess of hunting Artemis and its medicinal properties are known for more than 2000 years with references to its qualities from Dioscorides, Theophrastus but also from the roman Pliny. During medieval times it was believed to be a love charm, an elixir for longevity and a cure against headaches.

 

Cooking


Lemon balm has a sweet lemony taste and it can be used as a seasoning for soups, fish, mushrooms, poultry and meats especially as a marinade. Lemon balm can be combined with herbs such as mint, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. It can also be used to create various hot or cold beverages especially when mixed with mountain tea or peppermint.

 

Traditional Properties


Traditionally an infusion made out of lemon balm is used as a relaxing beverage since it helps against insomnia; it also provides multiple benefits to mental health as it improves memory, clears the mind and is thought to be helpful against depression. It has antioxidant properties and helps the function of the heart, especially in cases of hypertension. Lemon balm can relieve digestive problems, catarrh, migraines and menstrual pains.

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