Name: Melissa officinalis
Mint Family, Labiatae
Names: Balm, Lemon Balm, Melissa, Sweet Balm, Balm mint, bee balm, blue balm, cure-all, dropsy plant, garden balm, sweet balm
Used: Herb, leaves, volatile oil and polyphenols
Melissa had been used for centuries. References are found in Roman writings. The Arabs relied on it to treat depression and anxiety, while the English included it in the furniture polish.
There are references to balm as an aid to longevity. John Evelyn, the seventeenth century diarist said about the balm, "Balm is a
sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy."
Antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue,
Lemon balm is used in herbal teas, both for its flavor and its mild sedative properties. The tea is recommended to induce perspiration and relieve fever due to cold and flu, and to ease menstrual cramps, insomnia, headaches and nervousness. The crushed leaves help heal wounds and insect bites. It is a key
ingredient in certain perfumes and cosmetics.
It is antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, and stomachic. It is useful for all sorts of nervous problems. The balm also relieves cramps, dyspepsia,
flatulence, colic, chronic bronchial catarrh, and some forms of asthma. It had been tried for migraine and toothache, and, during pregnancy, for headaches and dizziness. An infusion of the leaves added to bath water is said to promote the onset of menstruation.
Balm is a perennial plant. It grows wild in fields and gardens and along road sides. It has an upright stem that grows as high as 3 feet. Light green toothed ovate leaves grow in opposite pairs at each joint.
The flowers may range in color from pale yellow to rose colored or blue white. The flowers appear in July - September. When bruised, the whole plant smells like lemon.
Use 2 tbsp chopped herb or leaves to 1 cup boiling
water. Drink warn as required.
For a cold extract use 2 tbsp per cup of cold water, let stand 8 hours.
If you are using powder, take 10 to 40 grains at a time.
US: Generally recognized as safe
UK - General sales list
Canada- approved as an over-the-counter drug
France: Traditional Medicine
Germany: Commission E approved as an over the counter drug
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