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Lemon Balm

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Lemon Balm

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Melissa officinalis



Backround for Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family. It is a bee plant. Ancient Greeks placed Lemon Balm leaves into empty bee hives in the hope of attracting wild swarms, and also planted around the hives to keep the bees happy.
The Carmelite friars made a perfume from Lemon Balm called Carmelite Water and was used primarily to disguise the odour of unwashed bodies. Carmelite Water was made of lemon balm flowers, coriander seeds, angelica root, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves pounded together and steeped in wine.

Uses for Golden Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm has such a lovely scent and taste that as a culinary additive it can be used from anything to flavouring fish, chicken or even beef. Add torn leaves or some flowers to a salad, for both taste and as a garnish. It adds a lovely taste to cakes.
As a medicinal plant it is useful to alleviate the pain of many stings. Crush a leaf and rub on the affected area.
It was used traditionally to staunch blood and as a general tonic.
May herbalists use Lemon Balm in cold sores ointment, in fact European studies have proven the anti-viral effectiveness of lemon balm specifically in shortening the healing time of herpes cold sores and outbreak of shingles as stated in Pg 469, “ The Green Pharmacy” by James A. Duke PhD
The monks in early Europe used Lemon Balm as a tonic and general healer although they also used it extensively in making perfumes and liquors.
As a tonic it can be taken steeped in wine. Steep for about three weeks, strain off the leaves and sediment and re-bottle.
Lemon Balm and golden Lemon balm have the same scent and taste, and both have a sturdy growth habit.

Growing Golden Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm does not spread with runners as mint does, but it does increase in size and girth a little more each year. It is happy in the shade and also does well in semi-sunshine, It will not tolerate drying out and will do well beside ponds. It goes into a semi hibernation in winter as does mint and then can grow up to 60cm with a mass of mauve flowers in summer. It likes a pH of 6 – 7 so a handful of lime periodically will be helpful. If you harvest it a lot some animal manure or compost will also be beneficial.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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