Lemon balm is one of the most beloved of the healing herbs.
The scientific name of this herb—Melissa
officinalis—reveals much of its history. It is thought that
bees and lemon balm have been inextricably linked since ancient
The scientific name Melissa is derived from the
Greek term for "honey bee." Moreover, many herbalists agree
that lemon balm has much of the same healing and tonic
properties that royal jelly and honey has.
Lemon balm has traditionally been honored as an herb with
the ability to lend rejuvenation. During the Middle Ages, lemon
balm was a key ingredient in all medieval elixirs of youth.
Even as late as the 18th century, lemon balm continued to
maintain its reputation as an elixir of youth.
Herbalists describe the character of lemon balm as sour,
dry, cold, and slightly bitter. Lemon balm is known to contain
volatile oils (including citronellal), polyphenols, bitter
principle, tannins, rosmarinic acid, and flavonoids. The
actions of the plant have alternately been described as
sedative, anti-depressant, a relaxant and restorer, a digestive
stimulant, antibacterial and antispasmodic.
It has also known for its ability to promote sweating, relax
the peripheral blood vessels, and for its antiviral properties.
The leaves of the lemon balm plant are believed to help relieve
the symptoms of depression and tension.
The leaves are known as carminative, so are thought of as
ideal for those individuals who may suffer from digestive
upsets when they become anxious or worried. Because of its
cooling properties, lemon balm is also good for people who may
suffer from feverish colds.
The leaves of the lemon balm plant may be used both
internally and externally to treat the eruption of cold sores.
The herb can be used externally to treat sores or any other
kind of painful swelling. The best time to harvest lemon balm
is just before flowering. In the summer, the leaves of the
lemon balm plant can make a delightfully cooling and refreshing
An Interesting Herb Fact
Echinacea: Cure to the Common Cold?
Perhaps the most famous herbal remedies these days are made from the Echinacea flower. Native Americans have traditionally used Echinacea to treat colds, fevers, snakebites, and stubborn wounds. It is believed that the early settlers adopted the Echinacea plant early on as a popular home remedy to treat colds and influenza. The plant was a popular choice with the 19th century Eclectics. In recent years, Echinacea has grown immensely in popularity for its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial...
The essential oil of the lemon balm plant is also popular with
herbalists. The concentrated oils from the lemon balm leaves
are much more potent than the leaves themselves. Just a few
drops of lemon balm essential oil can affect an individual. A
few drops of lemon balm essential oil are recommended as an
antidote to depression. The potency of lemon balm essential oil
is thought to be able to "shock" the depressed patient out of
their state. Diluted lemon balm essential oil can also be
applied topically to help heal cold sores.
Other popular methods for consuming lemon balm
in herbal remedies include as an infusion for hot tea, an
ointment, tincture, infused oil, and in a compress. Hot lemon
balm tea is used to treat depression, nausea, indigestions, and
A tincture is an alcoholic extract of the
herb in question.
A lemon balm compress can be applied to any
area of suffering from painful swellings, or conditions such as
gout. Lemon balm can also be used to create a soothing massage
oil. Simply dilute 5-10 drops of essential oil by combining
with either almond oil or olive oil, and then rub to relieve
chest complaints or other areas of tension.