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Common name Standardised: lemon balm
Other: balm, bee balm, melissa, melissa balm
Botanical name Melissa officinalis L.
Overview Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a herb in the mint family.It has been prescribed by doctors since the Middle Ages as a natural remedy to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, heal wounds and promote longevity. Today, its benefits have been widely studied, especially in Europe and the Middle East, where the plant originated. Often said to help ease stress and anxiety, lemon balm contains rosmarinic acid (a chemical compound with antioxidant properties). The herb is also used for insomnia, cold sores, high cholesterol, indigestion, and heartburn.
Typical usage and preparations Dried leaf is used as a tea, tincture, or made into an ointment. Because of its pleasant scent, lemon balm is a delicious herb to add as the final flavouring to a dish.
Precautions Lemon Balm should not be used during pregnancy or lactation. Should not be taken by people on prescription medication for mental health disorders as it can affect the medication. Lemon Balm can cause drowsiness and should therefore not be consumed prior to operating machinery or driving.