Common Names: Lemon Balm, Lemon Balsam, Melissa, Sweet Balm, Sweet Melissa
Scientific Name: Melissa officinalis
Family: Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
Nature has provided us with many plants having curative and magical properties. Our civilization has survived many epidemics and other diseases during the course of history. Human beings were entirely dependent on botanicals and minerals for their well-being before the advent of modern medicine. One such curative and magical herb is lemon balm, a native to the Southern Europe and Western Asia. However, it is now grown all over the world for its herbal and medicinal properties. It is a small herb growing to a height of about 60 cm and bears inconspicuous white flowers during the summer. The leaves in this plant are highly wrinkled and smell like lemon when rubbed or crushed.
1. General Uses
It is used in some cosmetic products.
2. Medicinal Uses
Lemon balm contains a large number of bioactive phytochemicals with medicinal properties. It is rich in volatile oils, flavonoids, triterpenes, polyphenols and tannins. Major volatile oils reported from lemon balm are: citronellal, citronellol, citral, β-caryophylene, linalool, geranial and geraniol. Some of the medicinal properties of lemon balm are listed below:
- Longevity: If taken regularly (tea or infusion), lemon balm lifts the spirit and enhances longevity. Anti-oxidants present in this herb slow down the aging process.
- Wound Healing: Leaf juice heals the cuts, wounds and insect bites effectively.
- Relaxing Tonic: Citral and citronellal present in lemon balm relaxes the nerves and central nervous system. It reduces anxiety, panic, depression, restlessness and promotes sleep. It stops vacillating thoughts and promotes decision making.
- Carminative: It reduces the spasms and discomfort associated with bloating and gas.
- Increases Sweating: It increases sweating and removes body toxins.
- Anti-Hyperthyroidism: It recommended for people with an overactive thyroid gland.
- Antiviral Properties: Polyphenols present in lemon balm have been found to possess antiviral property. It is reported to heal cold sores caused by herpes simplex virus effectively.
- Analgesic: Lemon balm has analgesic properties as well. It is considered useful in headache and toothache.
3. Magical Uses
Many authors have nicely elaborated the magical and spiritual properties of lemon balm.
- Gregg enlists that it helps to attract love, manifest dreams and also deepen the spiritual connection when leaves and flowers are used as amulets. When a bunch of lemon balm is hung in the home, justice and right action will prevail.
- According to Zalewski, it drives away melancholy and bad dreams and makes a woman beloved and faithful when she puts a sprig of lemon balm around her neck.
- Cunningham has associated lemon balm with the planet moon (although, scientifically, it is a natural satellite) and revered it as a herb of love, success and healing. He suggests to soak leaves of lemon balm in wine and drink with loved ones. He further says, that carrying the herb along will help in finding your love.
Some research shows that lemon balm suppresses the thyroid function.
Chevallier, A. 2016. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs. DK Publishing, New York.
Cunningham, S. 2008. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publications, Woodbury, Minnesota.
Daniel, M. 2013. Useful Herbs of Planet Earth. Scientific Publisher, Jodhpur.
Gregg, S. 2014. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants. Fair Winds Press Beverly, MA.
Zalewski, C.L. 1990. Herbs in Magic and Alchemy. Prism Press, Bridport.