Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lemon balm - Melissa officinalis

Melissa officinalis

 This plant smells good, tastes good, and looks good! And luckily, grows wildly in our little garden. Well, traditionally, it comes from the mediterranian area. 

The name Melissa comes from meliteion, while the greek "meli" means "Honey". Well, and lemon....because it smells like lemon.....I guess that's the simplest reason there is...and the oil made from the plant can be used for aroma therapies.

A single leaf..
The leaves grow about 3 - 4 cm big, and tend to get bitter the more they grow. The plant can reach a height until about 90cm, sometimes more. The flowers are small and white, with 4 petals per flower. Bees are supposed to love them.  

It is a great little helper and it is said that it helps reducing stress. It helps with sleeping better, helps the disgestion, helps with insect bites, also to "calm down" muscles...and the leaves make great and tasty teas.

It also is supposed to help repair dna damage and extend life, if the tea is used daily, but.....who knows! (Never tried it out, only made a tea from it once in a while....)

Hidden well inside the grass...
They grow back every year again...

Well, this plant contains eugenol, tannins and terpenes, among other things. If you are interested in this plant and also want to know more of the components, you should also check the following sites:

university of Maryland, medical center - lemon balm - plant profiler, melissa officinalis - lemon balm

 And if you want to grow it, you should check this video for a short introduction:

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