Saturday, 31 May 2008

Lemon balm

I've got a new friend on my windowsill which I brought back from Wisley yesterday - it's a lemon balm (melissa officinalis) plant, the "All Gold" variety with it's vibrant yellow-green leaves. Sitting on my window sill it look and feels like a cheerful guardian, and the light through it's leaves catches my eye as I'm at my desk working. The International Herb Association voted it Herb of the Year for 2007!

It is said to have a variety of medicinal uses including migraines, insomnia, indigestion, and nervous excitability. So far I've used the dried herb in a tea with vervain and chamomile for calm and sleep. Here are some quotes and links for other uses... I'll add more as I find them.
"Balm is sovereign for the brain. It strengthens the memory and powerfully chases away melancholy" ~ John Evelyn
"Cultivated in the Mediterranean region for the past 2,000 years, this perennial herb was prized for its catchall curative properties. During the Middle Ages, King Charles V of France was said to drink lemon balm tea daily for his health. Paracelsus, a Swiss Renaissance physician, called lemon balm the 'elixir of life'. And in the 17th century, the French Carmelite nuns made their famous Carmelite Water with lemon balm and other herbs to treat nervous headaches and neuralgia. Today, lemon balm is gaining acceptance as a useful herb for modern stress-related maladies" ~ Stephanie Bloyd
As a remedy:
In cosmetics, home and garden:
In cooking:

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