Lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis) is a healing plant that has a long tradition of use among the people. The ancient Arabic doctors called it grass for the heart, happiness and strange ideas, and it was considered as suitable for strengthening of all vital skills and as effective in the loss of memory or tension.
Through them, the Benedictines have accepted the culture of the lemon balm, and their product became known as a cure worldwide. Many historical figures appreciated it: Pliny recommended it for the eyes, St. Hildegard for happiness, Paracelsus called it the elixir of life, and there is data that says it was Shakespeare’s favorite plant.
Except being healing, the lemon balm also has a nice fragrance, it is ornamental, aromatic, spicy and industrial, and for its healing properties, the most important are the essential oils citronellal and citral and tannins, which relax the muscles, strengthen the heart and have antibiotic properties.
The essential oil is a sedative and remedy for flatulence and can be used for rheumatism and neuralgia, it helps with mosquito bites and it is effective against neuroses of the stomach and intestinal system, psycho negative heart diseases and migraines. Also, the essential oil of the lemon balm is extremely appreciated in the perfume industry.
Its powerful effect on herpes viruses has been proven as well.
The regular consumption of lemon balm tea helps in cases of anxiety, fever, loss of appetite and headaches caused by stress. The lemon balm bath is recommended for people who suffer from insomnia, night terrors, depression and bad mood. The tinctures of this plant are great for herpes on the mouth and problems with athlete’s foot.
It is an extremely safe, non-toxic plant and there are no special warnings and restrictions on its use. The side effects are rare and mild, mostly they are fatigue and sleep disorders, and in people who are hypersensitive there may be skin sensitization.
The synthetic alternatives can sometimes cause allergies and skin irritations.