Lemon Balm

Lemon balm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), balm, common balm, or balm mint, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family Lamiaceae and native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalized in the Americas and elsewhere.

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis

Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Melissa
Species: M. officinalis
Binomial name
Melissa officinalis L.

It grows to a maximum height of 70–150 cm (28–59 in). The leaves have a mild lemon scent similar to mint. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. It is not to be confused with bee balm (genus Monarda), although the white flowers attract bees, hence the genus Melissa (Greek for “honey bee”).

The leaves are used as an herb, in teas, and also as a flavouring. The plant is used to attract bees for honey production. It is grown as an ornamental plant and for its oil (to use in perfumery). The tea of lemon balm, the essential oil, and the extract are used in traditional and alternative medicine, including aromatherapy. The plant has been cultivated at least since the 16th century, but reliable medical research is still working to establish the safety and effects of lemon balm.


The plant is used to attract bees to make honey. It is also grown and sold as an ornamental plant. The essential oil is used as a perfume ingredient, but the plant has other culinary and medicinal uses. Lemon balm is used in some toothpastes.


Lemon balm is used as a flavouring[5] in ice cream and herbal teas, both hot and iced, often in combination with other herbs such as spearmint. It is a common addition to peppermint tea, mostly because of its complementing flavor.[citation needed]

Lemon balm is also paired with fruit dishes or candies. Additionally, it can be used in fish dishes and is the main ingredient in lemon balm pesto.[7]:15–16 Its flavour comes from citronellal (24%), geranial (16%), linalyl acetate (12%) and caryophyllene (12%).[citation needed]

Traditional medicine:

“Melissa” (M. officinalis) essential oil
In traditional Austrian medicine, M. officinalis leaves have been prescribed for internal use—as a tea—or external application—as an essential oil—for the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, liver, and bile. Lemon balm is the main ingredient of Carmelite water, which is still for sale in German pharmacies.

In alternative medicine it is used as a sleep aid and digestive aid.

Lemon balm essential oil is popular in aromatherapy. The essential oil is commonly co-distilled with lemon oil, citronella oil or other oils.


The many cultivars of M. officinalis include:

M. officinalis ‘Citronella’
M. officinalis ‘Lemonella’
M. officinalis ‘Quedlinburger’
M. officinalis ‘Lime’
M. officinalis ‘Variegata’
M. officinalis ‘Aurea’
M. officinalis ‘Quedlinburger Niederliegende’ is an improved variety bred for high essential oil content


Bibliographic details for “Lemon balm”
Page name: Lemon balm
Author: Wikipedia contributors
Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Date of last revision: 21 April 2017 09:24 UTC
Date retrieved: 26 April 2017 20:37 UTC
Permanent link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lemon_balm&oldid=776489990
Primary contributors: Revision history statistics
Page Version ID: 776489990