Lemon Balm Photos and Information

I have read somewhere that Lemon Balm is a plant of few qualities. Or perhaps that was said in jest (grin). In any case, I did a little digging to see exactly what one could do with this balmy creature.

Lemon balm attracts honeybees! Those are always good to have buzzing around the garden, collectingpollen, making honey, and generally doing good little bee things. Lemon balm is also good for window boxes. Nice and yellowy, you know. Luckily for North American residents, it grows just about anywhere in US and Canda.

But that's not to think that lemon balm is a common plant. No, no. Its full name is Melissa officinalis. Melissa, incidentially, is the Greek word for 'bee'. It is the plant most mentioned by poets, writers, and other important people (grin). Jeremiah spoke of it in teh old Testament. Poe and Bronte made it part of their literature. And who could forget the old Arab proverb - that a tea of balm leaves "makes the heart merry and joyful". Or who does not often quote 'Numquid resina (balsamum) nonest Galaad" (is there no balm in Gilead)?

Not I, for one!

Lemon balm, also has a plethora of practical uses! The Greeks and orientals used it in tea and wine for nerves and fever. To make a tea of it, simply mix 2 tsp sage, 2 tsp lemon balm (of course), 3 tsp sugar, 2 lemon quarters together in a pint of hot water for 3 minutes. Strain and cool, then add 5oz white wine. (I swear the iwne wasn't my idea ...)

The wonderful plant is also used in perfumes, toilet waters and liqueurs - Chartreuse and Benedictine. As a seasoning, it's great with meats, salads, sauces, soups and stuffings. Use it freshly chopped in salads or added to soups and egg. Try it with fish! It's even good in fragrant lotions and potporuri.

Let's not forget our four legged furry friends! Balm in meadows improves the flow of milk for cows. A brew of lemon balm and marjoram is given to cows after calving to help them regain their strength and to soothe them.

But what exactly is lemon balm? It is an evergreen perennial, 1 1/2' - 2' tall, flowers to the ground with clusters of pale yellow flowers. It makes a lovely border plant, and its leaves look charming in old-fashioned bouquets. It likes poor, moist soil and a sunny position. It sports yellow/white flowers through the summer.

What does balm stand for, though? Sympathy, of course. Boam is an abbreviations of balsam, which has been one of the main sweet-smelling oils. Its strange powers are known throughout the ages - the London dispensary said in 1696 - "An essence of balm, given in canary wine every morning, will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness." Nwo you know.

King Lear's Balm
This is most strange,
That she even but now was your bes tobject
The argument of your praise, balm of your age,
Most best, msot dearest, should in this thriece of time
Commit a thing so monstrous to dismantle
So many folds of favor.

Antony and Cleopatra Balm
Cleopatra: As sweet as balm, as soft as air, as gentle - O Antony! Nah I will take thee too."

Henry V Balm
I am a king that find thee; and I know 'tis not the balm, the sceptre, and the ball. The sword, the mace, the crown imperial, the intertissued robe of gold and pearl, the farced tide running fore the king The throne he sits on, nor the tde of pompt that beats upon the high score of this world ...

Fairy Queen in Merry Wives of Windsor Balm
The several chairs of order look you scour
With juice of balm and every precious flower;
Each fair installment, coat and sev'ral crest,
With loyal blazon, evermore be blest!

Oranges with Lemon Balm Recipe
Lemon Balm Rub

Herb Photos Main Page
Gardening Photos Main Page

There's a special forum just for talking about herbs and their benefits!
Herbs Forum

BellaOnline Gardening Forum
Garden SIG Homepage