As we move closer to spring, very few herbs can rival lemon balm in gently cleansing and renewing the mind and body after a long winter.
Lemon Balm:Melissa officinalis
Today’s common uses: Lemon balm is a good nervine for insomnia, tension headaches, nervous stomach and mild depression. It is a de-stressing aromatherapy oil to treat nervousness. New studies suggest it may even improve mental performance and balance moods in dementia patients.
Traditional Herbal Medicine uses: In ancient times, lemon balm was hung by the front door to ward off evil spirits. It was well known among warriors for staunching bleeding wounds. The Greeks used its crushed leaves as an antibacterial on scorpion stings and dog bites. Known in medieval times as an elixir of youth and longevity; in the 17th century as a remedy for melancholy and memory.
Therapeutic parts: fresh and dried leaves.
Delivery forms: tea, capsules, compress, essential oil, extract, gargle, ointment. Great in garnishes, iced teas, fruit dishes, meals and salads. Wonderful aroma in potpourri.
Key compounds: Lemon balm’s rosmarinic acid is a powerful antioxidant. Lemon balm citronella terpene has sedating effects.