Lemon Balm Identification:
Lemon Balm is a fairly hardy perennial. The root system is short, but dense, and the stem is square and branching. The plant seldom grows more than a foot tall indoors, but may reach three or four feet outside.
The leaves are heart-shaped or broadly ovate, yellowish-
green, and one to three inches long, growing smaller
toward the top of the plant. They are covered with stiff hairs on the top surface. The flowers grow in loose, small bunches from the axils of the leaves, and are bluish-white or yellow. After pollination, long, oval, dark brown-black seeds appear.
Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
Other Names: Bee balm, Melissa, Sweet balm
Flowers: May – October
Parts Used: Leaves
Habitat: Barnyards, old house sites, open woods. Scattered over much of our area. (Originated from Europe).
Lemon Balm can be easily started from seed. If left alone, the plant will reseed itself in the garden. It can also be started in a greenhouse or in pots in the house. To start the seeds in a green-house, press them into fine soil in a seed pan. When the seedlings are an inch tall, they should be thinned to two inches apart. They can be set out when they have grown to four inches. Allow two feet on all sides.
Cuttings and root divisions are also easy ways to start lemon balm. Root divisions can be made in spring or fall by dividing the roots into small pieces with three or four buds to each piece. Plant the pieces two feet apart. If you’re making your root divisions in the fall, allow plenty of time for the plants to become established before the first killing frost.
Constituents: Citral, Citronellel, Eugenol acetate, Geraniol, Polyphenols, Tannin, Flavonoids, Rosmarinic acid, Triterpoids.
Properties: Antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, and stomachic.
Main uses: Colds, flu, depression, headache and indigestion.
Lemon balm is a remedy for common female complaints and is useful for all sorts of nervous problems, hysteria, depression and insomnia. Use lemon balm tea to relieve cramps, dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, chronic bronchial catarrh, and some forms of asthma. It is used for migraine headache and toothache. Use the crushed leaves as a poultice for sores, tumors, and insect bites.
Preparation And Dosage:
Collect the leaves before or after flowering. The fresh leaves are more effective than the dried.
Infusion: Use 2 teaspoons chopped leaves to 1 cup boiling water. Drink warm, as desired.
Cold extract: Use 2 tablespoons per cup of cold water; let stand 8 hours.
Tincture: The dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
Powder: Take 10 to 40 grains at a time.