Lemon balm is a perennial herb of the mint family with egg shaped leaves and small white or pale pink flowers. The plant has a creeping root system and grows up to 30 to 60 cm in height and lasts for two years or longer. It has a strong and agreeable odor, reminiscent of lemon, which gives it the name lemon balm. Its leaves and flowering tops constitute the drug.
Lemon balm is said to promote longevity. It yields a very small quantity of essential oil. This oil comprises of citronellal euginol acetate, geraniol ect.
Botanical Name: Melisa officinalis
Indian Name: Biliotan
Below are some of the medicinal properties of lemon balm:
- Lemon balm is beneficial in strengthening the functions of stomach and promoting its action.
- It is also valuable for the brain and for strengthening memory. It prevents brain fatigue, sharpens comprehension, counteracts depression and revives the spirit. A cold infusion of balm has a calming effect on the nerves. About 30 grams of the herb is put in half a liter of cold water and allowed to stand for 12 hours. The infusion is then strained and taken in small doses throughout the day.
- It is a valuable remedy in treating several diseases. It is used to strengthen the gums and remove bad taste from the mouth. Leaves and stems are considered useful in liver and heart diseases as also in venomous insects’ bites.
- Lemon balm is antipyretic and useful in treating fevers. Tea made from the leaves brings down the body temperature.
The plants are cut when they are in full bloom and dried in shade to preserve the natural color.