Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family. They smell like lemon hence the name. They produce white flowers in summer which are filled with nectar. It is generally grown in gardens as it attracts more bees and helps in pollination.
Origin and Cultural Significance
Lemon Balm originates in the Middle East and North Africa. It moved northwest in southern Europe by 1500 and found its usage in America in 1700.
Lemon Balm holds an important place in Greek culture. The ancient Greeks believed that lemon balm and bees have a good bond; for example, they believed that bees would never abandon a hive if the herb grew nearby. Similarly, bees use the herbs as a marker to find their way back to their hive after travelling beyond the hive.
Greeks also believed that Leon Balm promotes long life. The prince of Wales who lived around the 13th and 14th century is said to have drunk Lemon Balm tea every day of his 108-year life.
Historical Usage of the plant
The first medicinal usage dates back to ancient times. The famous physician Dioscorides used the balm on dog & Scorpio bites. For its anti-depressant property, it has been used in wine to soothe patients. Ancient Arabs used Lemon balm to treat heart diseases. In the middle ages, a sprig of lemon balm was said to staunch the blood of a sword wound.
They have been used in treating cold sores . Their sweet taste is also used in the preparation of cold and cold drinks. They are also used as insect repellent by the people who work in farms.
Modern usage of Lemon Balm
Today lemon Balm has a wide variety of culinary usage in marinating , as a flavour in baking and in jams . The oils extracted from lemon balm are used in aromatherapy . The wider usage is consumption in the form of tea by just boiling their dried leaves.
They are known to ease stress and anxiety . The rosemarinic acid present in them also possess antioxidant properties used to treat cold and fever.
They are used to treat gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and upset stomach.
Lemon Balm tea
Lemon balm when consumed as tea soothes symptoms of stress , helps to relax and boosts your mood .
The simple recipe of lemon balm tea is to boil the water well . Steep the lemon balm leaves in hot water for 3-5 minutes . Then strain the liquid and add honey to it if desired. Wouldn't this sound like a refreshing drink after a long day . Lemon balm also tastes well when taken as a cold serving.
Caution in the use of Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm can have a negative effect on people with Hypothyroid . They may also cause rashes or other allergic reactions in some people. Please consult your physician before using any herb . If you experience any allergic reactions, stop the usage and immediately visit the doctor.