Common name for Melissa officinalis, an aromatic, sweet herb of the Mint Family grown in the herb garden, and also used in liqueurs and historically, as a medicine. It has a mild lemon aroma that many will associate with furniture polish and some brands of dishwashing liquid. 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.
Lemon balm herb is a modest in appearance. With smallish oval leaves and discreet white flowers, it will grow two or three feet high.
On a romantic note, it is fun to ponder the fact that it was symbolically used to transmit messages to lovers. Maybe next time you want to send a love note you should tuck it into a little pot of lemon balm.
Lemon balm is used for digestive problems, including upset stomach, bloating, intestinal gas (flatulence), vomiting, and colic; for pain, including menstrual cramps, headache and toothache; and for mental disorders, including hysteria and melancholia.
Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems, and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves' disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites. The crushed leaves, when rubbed on the skin, are used as a repellant for mosquitoes, some people apply lemon balm to their skin to treat cold sores (herpes labialis).
This common garden herb, lemon balm, can improve the memory and increase feelings of calmness.
Lemon balm is often used as a flavouring in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as peppermint. It is also frequently paired with fruit dishes or candies.
Lemon balm also makes a fragrant and distinctive potpourri.