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Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm Herb
Balm (Melissa officinalis), not to be confused with Bee Balm, Monarda species, is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

It grows to 70-150 cm tall. The leaves have a gentle lemon scent, related to mint. At the end of the summer, little white flowers full of nectar appear. These attract bees, hence the genus name Melissa (Greek for 'bee'). In mild temperate zones the stems of the plant die off at the start of the winter, but shoot up again in spring. Its flavour comes from the terpenes citronellal, citronellol, citral, and geraniol.

Cultivation and use
This herb can be easy to cultivate in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 9. In Zone 4 it needs winter mulch and
Lemon Balm Herb
a well-drained sandy soil to survive. In Zone 7 it can be harvested at least until the end of November.

It is used as a flavouring in tisane and ice cream, but it's most common use is to make herbal teas. It is also often paired with fruit dishes or candies. Lemon balm essential oil is very popular in aromatherapy. The essential oil is commonly adulterated (co-distilled Lemon balm herb with lemon oil or citronella oil, etc.).

Other useful herb information: Green Tea | Mullein | Muira Puama | Bentonite Clay | Rooibos | Yohimbe | Catnip

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