Lemon balm, your natural remedy for melancholia
Its essential oils make this plant an important ingredient in the treatment of many diseases. Read this article to discover the origins, properties and uses of this precious ally. for our well-being.
Labiateae family, lemon balm (melissa officinalis) is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Considered to be a natural relaxant, lemon balm grows spontaneously in Southern Europe and Western Asia. Lemon balm’s leaves are used in traditional medicine (but not only!) for its digestive, carminative, antispasmodic, sedative, analgesic and diuretic properties and turn to be an excellent ally against gastrointestinal disorders. Let’s discover together the history, properties and uses of lemon balm.
Lemon balm is a plant with well-known calming and sedative properties. In phytotherapy it’s used for herbal teas, in the form of infusions or decoctions. You can normally spot it in the meadows and in the countryside but it can also be easily grown in pots or in the garden. Recognizable by the quadrangular stem (rhizomatous and branched at the base), it has intense green and petiolate leaves while the flowers are white and small. Lemon balm releases an aroma pretty similar to lemon and has a very clear bitter taste.
Also known as bee balm, this plant is the favourite among bees which make an excellent honey with it; lemon balm infusion is considered to be a true medicine for bees: it keeps them healthy and protects them.
Early in the 17th century, the Discalced Carmelite monks in Paris appreciated the beneficial properties of lemon balm and used it to make The Lemon Balm Water, a popular digestive remedy; Paracelsus even called it the “elixir of life”.
Properties and benefits
Along with passionflower, chamomile and mallow, lemon balm is a relaxant par excellence. Fantastic against anxiety and all sorts of worries, lemon balm also stands out for its sedative properties which are really useful against flu symptoms. A little warning: be careful not to overdose: lemon balm can have an exciting effect if taken in large quantities.
In the form of herbal tea, it helps lower your temperature and eliminate extra toxins. However, this healthy and good mood infusion also alleviates menstrual syndrome symptoms like nausea and cramps. Lemon balm’s essential oil is a natural analgesic and helps treat headaches and relax the nervous system and muscles.
How to use it
Not only useful but also good and tasty; in perfumery it is one of the ingredients of the famous Eau de Cologne, but it also finds space in the liquor industry where it is widely used to make vermouth and other digestive bitters. Enthusiastic of potpourri and scented pillows? Try dehydrating lemon balm with a bit of lavender, chamomile, rosemary and thyme.
If you prefer fresh lemon balm, then try adding some leaves to your favourite salad bowls for an effective digestive effect. Good news for the die-hard lovers of herbal teas: lemon balm is one of the ingredients of our Remedium n.3 – Digestive, an infusion created to promote a better digestion by relieving the digestive system. Try it and see (for yourself)!
First introduced into medicine as a “morally exhilarating and nerve-comforting remedy”, alchemists Galen and Paracelsus recommended it for the treatment of psychic disorders, while Serapio prescribed it as a palliative treatment for melancholy.
The Arabs deeply respected this plant: early in the 11th century doctor Avicenna attributed “the wonderful property of cheering and comforting the heart” to this species .The Lemon Balm Water is digestive liquor invented by the French Discalced Carmelites in 1611 and considered as the popular remedy: at bad times all social classes resorted to this Remedium.