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lemon balm - melissa officinalis - tea

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis L.

When I only think of lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, the sun starts to shine. Thing is, I like putting some lemon balm leaves into my drinking water when the weather is hot, so for me this plant equals summertime. It is one of the first plants I plant in any new herb garden. Not only because it makes me happy, but just as well because lemon balm is an excellent bee plant and brings life to the yard straight away.

Medicinal properties of lemon balm, Melissa officinalis

One of this plant’s folk names is cure-all and with reason. Although its appearance is humble is, its workings are widely scoped. It helps against conditions caused by stress and nervousness and aids you in getting a good night’s sleep, not in the least because it deters nightmares and anxiety.
In addition, lemon balm operates against disorders of the gastrointestinal system, especially those related to stress, anxiety and nervousness. In the Netherlands, one of its folk names, vrouwenkruid – which means women’s herb – refers to its influence on menstrual complaints. Plus, it has an antiviral effect, specialising in herpes viruses.

Magical effects of lemon balm

Magically, lemon balm is certainly no less interesting. It is mainly used for love, fertility and healing magic and it is useful when you need some success or money.
Interesting detail, in some regions of Europe it is recommended to collect the herb naked for optimal effect.

Botanical description Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis L.

Lemon balm is a perennial plant. It has a small rootstock which divides into numerous lateral roots which are tough and fibrous. Lemon balm is an herbaceous plant that looks like a shrub because it grows in clumps. Numerous upright, square, hairy stems grow from the rootstock.
The leaves are decussate, ovate with a crenate, sometimes serrate, leaf margin. They are reticulate, green to yellow-green in colour, 1 to 5 cm wide and 2 to 9 cm long, covered with fine hairs. At the bottom of the leaf are numerous small oil glands.
The flowers of lemon balm are small, two-lipped and white or sometimes pink in colour. They bloom in false whorls in the leaf axils of the upper leaves. The schizocarp fruits are quadrilocular, ovoid and dark in colour.

Interesting facts

Lemon balm attracts bees but repels other insects. Useful if you want to keep mosquitoes at bay! That is why I like lemon balm growing near my seating area. Beekeepers plant lemon balm near their hives to encourage the bees to stay put.
Lemon balm likes to be near cabbage varieties.

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