Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis

Ahh, for Melissa. Never has such a sweet smell been breathed. Well we love it and so do the bees; so much so that its named after them, as ‘mel’ is the Greek for honey and ‘melissa’ for bee.

Such a welcome flush of lush green pops up in the spring bringing with her these delicate, aromatic leaves. Deemed as ’the elexir of life’ by Paracelsus, the 16th century Swiss physician, lemon balm has long been associated with the nervous system and its gentle, mood-lifting effect. It is also known to relax the digestive system, especially issues caused by agitated nerves.

Although native to more southern parts of Europe, it is a very hardy plant and does well in our British climate. It can grow in full sunshine or partial shade. It prefers well-drained soils, but will tolerate most soils types.

Lemon balm is one of those herbs that loses its potency when dried; the best way to enjoy its benefits is straight from the garden into your tea cup: sit back, smell the aromas and listen to the bees.

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