Lemon balm is a versatile herb in the mint family prized both for culinary applications and natural healing abilities.
Traced back over 2000 years to Mediterranean regions and western Asia, lemon balm has a rich history intertwined with herbalism, mythology, religion and food.
Today, modern applications draw on traditional wisdom to use lemon balm widely as a medicinal plant and calming flavor ingredient.
Brief History & Origins
Also known as “Melissa”, records show lemon balm cultivation by the Greeks, Romans and in the Middle East dating to over 2000 years ago. Myth tells of the Greek nymph Melissa using lemon balm honey to feed Zeus as an infant.
Later, Buddhist monks likely spread lemon balm to Asia to support meditation practices. Through the Middle Ages in Europe, lemon balm served both as a spring tonic herb and an ingredient said to lift spirits and comfort the heart.
Today it continues to be popular in alternative medicine, cocktails, cuisine, aromatherapy and cosmetics.
Why Lemon Balm Supports Wellness
Modern research now backs traditional medicinal uses of lemon balm. It acts as an overall nervous system restorative with compounds that ease anxiety and balance mood.
Rosmarinic acid and other antioxidants fight inflammation underlying chronic diseases as well as bolster immunity against illness.
Bioactive plant compounds called terpenes give lemon balm antiviral effects against certain enveloped viruses. The list goes on!
Let’s explore the top researched benefits of using lemon balm:
- Improves sleep & relieves insomnia symptoms
- Protects brain cells & supports cognition
- Combats herpes & HIV virus infections
- Boosts skin health when applied topically
- Improves gastrointestinal comfort & IBS symptoms
- Soothes muscle spasms & cramps
- Elevates mood, reduces anxiousness
- Enhances attention, problem-solving and memory
Best Ways to Use Lemon Balm
While supplemental capsules provide convenience, using lemon balm as an aromatic culinary herb makes it easy and enjoyable to access benefits on a regular basis. Get creative with these applications:
- Brew hot or iced tea using fresh/dried leaves
- Prepare lemon balm water infusions
- Craft herbal lemonade & cocktails
- Make glycerites, honeys, syrups, salt blends
- Use in marinades, grain bowls, smoothies
- Candy leaves using egg white glaze
- Blend tincture into skincare oils & serums
- Add leaves or essential oil to baths & body care
- Diffuse oil aromatherapeutically
With science now validating over 2000 years of traditional wisdom on lemon balm, it’s clear this aromatic herb supports whole body health. Discover even more ways to tap into its benefits in your day to day life!