Herbs > Balm (Lemon) Herb

Information on, uses of and how to grow balm (lemon):

Name
Melissa officinalis.

Family
Labiatae.

History
Lemon Balm comes from the Middle East where it was used as a tea. In this country it was used as a fragrant strewing herb for floors.

Growing pattern
Perennial.

Seeds
Buy Lemon Balm Seeds (Organic and Non-Organic) from The Green Chronicle (Pay in $US, £, Euro).
Herbs, Seasonings, Seeds and Spices - Buy Lemon Balm from Mountain Rose Herbs ($US).

How to grow
The seeds of the Lemon Balm take a very long time to germinate but the plant can be grown from stem cuttings in the spring and autumn. Set the cuttings 30 centimetres apart.

Soil condition/position
Plant in a sunny border. Any type of soil is suitable but the best fragrance will come from plants grown in a rich, moist soil. Lemon Balm spreads rapidly so it needs to be cut back to keep it under control. It can be grown in a container.

Appearance
Lemon Balm grows to a height of 75 centimetres and has very small white flowers. the leaves carry the scent and bees love the plant.

Uses
The leaves can be added to cooked dishes and dried they make balm tea which is good for headaches (Melissa is very popular in France). A chicken covered in balm leaves and roasted will be moist and fragrant. It makes a good stuffing for lamb and pork. Lemon Balm can also be added to fruit drinks, ice cream fruit and vegetable salads. The dried leaves are used for tea and pot pourri.