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Lemon Balm: An Easy-To-Grow Herb with Medicinal Qualities

Lemon Balm: An Easy-To-Grow Herb with Medicinal Qualities

A member of the mint family, lemon balm (“Melissa officinalis”) is an easy-to-grow herb treasured for its lemony scent and medicinal qualities. Popularized in the Middle Ages as an herbal remedy, it has been used to reduce stress, promote sleep, and improve digestion. The LiveStrong Blog reported that according to Georgetown University Medical Center, lemon balm can improve Alzheimer’s symptoms of anxiety and loss of memory. Made into a tincture, lemon balm acts as a salve for cold sores and other skin irritations.

And, then there is the scent. Large sprigs are great mixed with cut flowers or tucked in a bud vase on the kitchen counter.

Lacking a garden? Lemon balm can be grown indoors in pots. It just needs a sunny window that receives at least four hours of direct sunlight per day; water only when the soil gets dry. Bonnie Plants offers good guidelines on growing lemon balm. Images via Bonnie Plants except where noted.

Above: Lemon balm plants are commonly found in local nurseries. Lemon Balm Seeds ($3.95 for a packet of 500 at Burpee) can be started in the early spring or propagated indoors. Potted Lemon Balm Plants are available online at Horizon Herbs; $7.20 each.

Above: Lemon balm grows voraciously; some find it to be a garden pest for its real-estate hogging tendencies. It also grows well in pots, which is an easy way to contain the plant.

Above: Lemon Balm flourishes when it is cut back periodically, making it a great harvesting herb.

Above: The classic herbal remedy: lemon balm tea made with mint, lemon balm, boiling water, and honey. Pour boiling water over the fresh herbs and let steep for ten minutes. Image via Consensus Life.

Have you ever used Lemon Balm before?

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Gardenista is a one-stop sourcebook for cultivated living, a guide to outdoor design and gardening. Helmed by former New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gardenista features inspiration, garden visits, and advice for all things outdoor living, from patios and peonies, to tables and terraces. Gardens matter, and Gardenista celebrates tomatoes on the fire escape as much as rolling acres of green.

110 comments

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3:53AM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

Thanks.

2:37PM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Have some in the garden. It's my favorite herb!

5:16AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

I've just planted some

12:32PM PDT on Apr 21, 2013

it will take over your yard!

6:40AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

It's wonderful, but do yourself a favor & grow it in a pot. Like many in the mint family it will spread through underground runners and take over garden, lawn, anywhere there is soil.

6:21PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

thanks

3:19PM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Beautiful

10:37AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

ty

4:07AM PDT on Apr 16, 2013

Good info.

10:44PM PDT on Apr 15, 2013

thanks for sharing....

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