Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lemon Balm

Besides the lemon verbena herb 
that smells and tastes like lemon,
there is also lemon balm, (Melissa officinalis). 
To me, lemon verbena has a stronger, sharper lemon scent,
and lemon balm has a bit more grassy-ness 
along with its lemon. 
But the lemon aroma in both is very noticeable and pleasant.

I had lemon balm growing in my herb garden 
before I moved back to the Shire from the Midwest,
over a decade ago now.
I hadn't brought any lemon balm with me
but I discovered it had made its way into a pot 
and was growing vigorously.
It spread rapidly and hung around in my flower beds
for several years until it eventually all died out 
from too much shade and dry soil--and neglect.

Now that I've read more about lemon balm
I kind of wish I hadn't let it die out.
It seems lemon balm is a bit of a wunderkind.
attributes a number of healing properties to lemon balm
and includes instructions on preparing teas.

It seems lemon balm is not only good for making commercial furniture polish,
it's also expedites healing of herpes and cold sores,
calms anxiety, promotes sound sleep, and relaxes stiff and sore muscles.

For those interested, I'm adding a link to a detailed history of lemon balm
and its uses through the ages.
The article "Lemon Balm" is by Melissa Morrison,
 and it's full of fascinating information,
including a section on something called"carmelite water," 
a lemon balm perfume used to mask the scent of body odor during the Middle Ages. 

*For the ointments discussed in the  University of Maryland Medical Center link above
one would need to find a compounding pharmacy
or a health food store that specializes in authentic herb products.
The capsules the article mentions 
can often be purchased at those places as well.

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