Melissa: benefits and virtues

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Lemon balm or melissa officinalis is a herbaceous perennial plant with the scent of lemongrass that offers many health benefits and virtues.It forms suckering clumps 40 to 70 cm high.

Lemon balm: for the record

Lemon balm belongs to the Lamiaceae family (Labiaceae) and is native to the Mediterranean.

Naturally melliferous, lemon balm is a widely reputed antispasmodic plant, especially by Arab doctors who have used it a lot.

In the 17th century, doctors used it a lot to fight nervous breakdown. Lemon balm is also the basis of “water of the Carmelites”, “drinking gold” in the 17th century of Brother Ange…

Cardinal Richelieu even made it his best ally against migraines.

Lemon balm and its health benefits

> Do you suffer from painful digestion, digestive disorders with palpitations, dizziness or syncope? You will undoubtedly see the benefits of lemon balm.

> We also know that lemon balm flowers encourage hepatic secretion, increasing bile flow: it is therefore not surprising that it has virtues against nervous disorders, often linked to hepatobiliary insufficiency.

> Another benefit of lemon balm: it calms nervous attacks and is very effective against minor nervous accidents that precede or accompany menstrual functions… For you ladies! Lemon balm is recommended against anxiety, nervousness and mild depression but also in case of sleep disorders.

> Lemon balm is antiviral, certainly thanks to the phenol acids it contains. In ointment and extract, lemon balm fights herpes well and decreases the frequency of eruptions. Against chickenpox and shingles, it has also proven itself.

> Another virtue of lemon balm: it balances the functioning of the thyroid.

Did you know ?

> Internal use:

Lemon balm infusion : 25 to 50 g of leaves and flowering tops per liter of water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 or 4 cups a day. Facilitates digestion, calms nervousness, promotes sleep.

Dehydrated, lemon balm loses all its aroma, so it is best to use it fresh. You can very easily grow a plant in your garden or on your balcony.

To deal with certain eventualities, it may be useful to have the remedy ready in advance, in the form of wine or lemon balm water.

Lemon balm wine : macerate 50 g of fresh plant for 48 hours in 1 liter of white wine. If necessary, take 2 tablespoons.

Family lemon balm water : macerate 50 g of fresh lemon balm for two weeks in 1 l of white brandy with 5 g of cinnamon , 15 g of fresh lemon zest, 10 g of angelica, 15 g of coriander, 10 g of cloves and 15 g of nutmeg. Press, filter. Keep this wine in a bottle and take a teaspoon of it in case of discomfort.

Growing lemon balm for its health benefits

To flourish, lemon balm needs a sunny or semi-shaded position.

Lemon balm grows in any type of soil, even poor or stony.

Trick :

Do you like varieties with colorful foliage? They tend to suffer from the sun, it is better to grow them as a ground cover at the foot of large shrubs.

Lemon balm in a jar?

Potted lemon balm will grow successfully. If you choose this option, prefer colored varieties!

Beware of small animals!

Nothing serious to report, enemies and diseases will not affect lemon balm.

Species and varieties of lemon balm

“Aurea” : with golden yellow then green leaves.

“All Gold” : with yellow leaves.

“Citronella”  : delicious scent of lemongrass

“Lemonella” : Even more lemony!

“Quedlinburger Niederliegende”: ideal for essential oils

Lemon balm in the kitchen for its benefits

Lemon balm wonderfully flavors creams, fruit salads, lemonades, teas and sauces. Did you know that it is part of the composition of the Chartreuse and the Bénédictine?

Tasty ideas based on lemon balm:

– Young lemon balm shoots added to salads give them a remarkable lemongrass scent.

– Have you ever tried cooking fish or vegetables on a bed of lemon balm? They take all its flavor!

– Lemon balm delicately flavors desserts and pleasantly flavors drinks.

A few synonyms of “lemon balm” to shine in society…

It is also nicknamed “lemon balm”, “lemongrass”, “bee pepper”, “French tea”, or even “lemon grass”.

The synonym “lemongrass” is wrongly used since the real plant of this name is a large tropical grass (Cymbopogon citratus) used in Asian cuisine and which has sharp and elongated leaves, extremely fragrant.

“Lemon balm” is reminiscent of honey and its nectar-rich flowers are honey par excellence. The first name Melissa (botanical name of the plant) means “bee” in Greek.

Blandine Merlin`

For further :

  • Lemon balm: growing it in the garden

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