Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) Family. Melissa, the genus name is from the Latin melisso phyllum, meaning, “honey bee” as it is a favorite flower of bees. The species name officinalis means that the herb has long been used by apothecaries.
Lemon balm also goes by the folk names Balm, Bee Balm, Dropsy Plant, Heart’s Delight, Melissa, and “Elixir of Life” (a name given by Paracelsus). Lemon balm was widely used in ancient Greek and Rome. This herb was sacred in the temple of Diana, and priestesses of Aphrodite were called Melissa. Avicenna, the great Arab physician (980-1037) said, Lemon Balm “causeth the mind and heart to be merry.”
The above-ground portion of the place is used as an antibacterial, antidepressant, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral, aromatic, carminative, cephalic, chologogue, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogoue, febrifuge, hypotensive (mild), nervine, parturient, rejuvenative, sedative, stomachic, tonic, and vasodilator.
Lemon Balm is used to treat allergies, amenorrhea, anxiety, asthma, attention deficit, bronchitis, chicken pox, chronic fatigue, colic, colds, depression, Fever, flatulence, Flu, Grave’s disease, headaches, herpes, homesickness, hyperactivity, hypertension, hysteria, indigestion, insomnia, menstrual cramps, migraine, mumps, muscle spasms, nausea, nervousness, Newcastle disease, nightmares, heart palpitations due to nerves, pain, restlessness, senility, shingles, smallpox, stomachache, and teething. Lemon balm clears heat, calms the heart, cleans the liver, improves chi circulation and lifts the spirits. German studies indicate lemon balm’s essential oils help protect the cerebrum from excess external stimuli.