Lemon balm is a citrus-scented, aromatic herb. It is a perennial member of the Lamiaceae family and has proven benefit to the nervous system. This lovely Mediterranean native, dedicated to the goddess Diana, is bushy and bright. Greeks used lemon balm medicinally over 2,000 years ago. Honey-bees swarm to the plant. and it is this attraction that inspired the generic name, Melissa, the Greek word for honeybee. Romans introduced lemon balm (Melissa officinalis ) to Great Britain where it became a favourite cottage garden herb.
Flavour Profile – Lemon balm contains volatile oils, including citral, citronella, eugenol, and other components as well as flavonoids, triterpenoids, rosmarinic acid, polyphenols, and tannin.
Apart from its traditional medicinal uses, lemon balm is used to flavour vermouth and other alcoholic beverages as well as some soft drinks.
Did you know? – Lemon balm is a soothing, sedative herb that can relieve tension and lift depression. An infusion of this citrus-scented herb will improve digestion, reduce fever, ease spasms, and enhance relaxation. The plant has anti-histaminic properties and helps with allergies and the essential oil content appears to be highest in the uppermost third of the plant.
Grow me – Growing lemon balm is very easy. The plants aren’t picky about where they grow and will grow in almost any soil but if not carefully controlled, lemon balm can quickly become invasive in the garden.
Lemon balm grows in bushy clumps to 2 ft (0.6 m) tall and branches to 18 in (45.7 cm). It thrives in full sun or partial shade in moist, fertile soil from the mountains to the sea. The heart-shaped, deeply veined leaves exude a pleasant lemon scent when brushed against or crushed. The tiny white or golden blossoms grow in the leaf axils, and bloom from June through October. The plant is hardy, self-seeding, and spreads easily in the right soil conditions.
Distilled in – Wildjac Dry Gin