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 Alzheimerís 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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Veselin Varbanov
Veselin Varbanov4 years ago


Emelie Hangsel
Past Member 4 years ago

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

Anne Woods
Anne Woods4 years ago

I've just planted some

Monica May
Monica May4 years ago

it will take over your yard!

Marilyn J Leger
Marilyn L4 years ago

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.

Marianne B.
Marianne B4 years ago


Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T4 years ago


Ro H.
Ro H4 years ago


Mark T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Good info.

Kate S.
Kate S4 years ago

thanks for sharing....