Lemon Balm is an amazing medicinal, culinary, magick, aromatic and garden herb. It’s native to the Mediterranean, N. Africa, Asia and Europe. It’s now gown in many countries. It’s genus name Melissa is from the Greeks and means “Honey Bee” or “Bee Leaf”. In ancient Turkey, it was planted near bee hives to encourage the bees to return season after season. It’s a great plant for any bee garden as it attracts them, the bees love it! It was planted near the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus on the Western Coast of Ancient Turkey to keep the sacred honey bees happy and content. Lemon Balm is an important and very much loved member of the mint family.
Lemon Balm is a hardy plant that’s fairly easy to grow. It can thrive in sun, shade, dryness, moisture and large range of PH. Being a member of the mint family, it can grow quickly and take up a good amount of space in a garden. It grows well in zones 4 through 9 and can be grown an annual in colder areas. It’s gives us a lesson in growing, thriving and adaptation It can be harvested through out the growing season. You’ll notice a beautiful lemony aroma and if you eat it, it’s delicious.
Lemon Balm has been revered by humans through out our existence on this planet, often called the “official herb of apothecaries”. In the 17th Century, famed writer and gardener John Evelyn said it is “sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy.” In southern Europe, Lemon balm was named “Heart’s Delight” due to it’s ability to calm and relax the mind. St. Hildergard of Bingen, a herbalist and nun born in 109 BC said “Lemon Balm contains within it the virtues of a dozen other plants” Lemon Balm has been loved for a very, very, very long time.
Lemon Balm has a long list of medicinal uses. In Ayurveda and Ancient Chinese Medicine it’s considered cooling and drying as well as relaxing. It’s antidepressant, antiseptic, antithyrotropic, antiviral, aromatic, carminative, anti-tumor, diaphoretic, nervine, antispasmodic, this is not a complete list. There are 4 main active compounds: citronellal, geranial, germacrene and Neral.
Due to Lemon Balm’s ability to calm and relax the nervous system, it’s been used to treat anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, depression, and general nervous disorders. It lifts mood and leaves a warm, relaxed feeling. It’s great during times of high emotions and stress. It’s full of poly-phenols which gives Lemon Balm it’s antiviral properties which makes it effective against herpes, colds and shingles. It’s also great for calming and healing colds and flu, digestive upset, memory and concentration, nervous exhaustion, heartache, depression, emotional balance, skin health, PMS, prevent infections, reduce high blood pressure, encourages hormone balance, respiratory conditions, prevent dementia, eczema, acne, improve hypoglycemia, improve glucose metabolism in the liver and vertigo, just to name a few. Anyone with thyroid issues, pregnant, nursing or a is child should consult an herbal expert before taking lemon balm. Lemon Balm is generally safe however, your individual constitution should be considered by a professional.
Lemon Balm is delicious in salads and soups. It’s been used to sweeten jams and jellies. It’s been common in perfumes and cosmetics. Ointments made of Lemon Balm give great results, it make a great topical antibacterial agent. Of course, it makes a delicious, healthy, healing tea. It’s even found in furniture polish manufacturing and liqueurs.
Lemon balm has been just as loved by magickal practitioners, in ancient times up to today. It’s ruled by Jupiter, Venus and Diana. It’s planets are the Moon and Neptune. It corresponds to the element of water. It’s commonly used in love potions, aphrodisiacs, animal healing, prosperity, release, success, love, peace, gardening, psychic awareness, spirituality, family, compassion, love, psychic and healing spells, just to name a few. In ancient times, it was planted by the front entrance of a home to keep evil spirits away. If made into a charm or talisman, it can be worn to bring love in to one’s life. The folklore behind Lemon Balm is just as rich as the medical uses.
I’m just scratching the surface here, there’s so much more to this amazing plant. Got some info or maybe a link?? Share it below!!
Awesome Sources: Modern Herbal Dispensatory, Thomas Easley and Steven Horne, p.259-260. Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar, p. 156-160. Essential Oils, Ancient Medicine by Dr. Josh Axe, TY Bollinger, Jordan Rubin p. 194-196. Grimoire for the Green Witch by Ann Moura, p. 224 and 298. http://www.shirleytwofeathers.com, http://www.thepraticalherbalist.com