The first lemon balm was brought to Spain by the Arab doctor Avicena in the eleventh century. As with many other medicinal plants, it was spread by monks in our latitudes and lemongrass was a welcome guest in the monastery and in the gardens of the cabins. Lemongrass in cold water is also a wonderful quencher of thirst.
Lemon balm is very undemanding and easy to maintain. It is an SUV, which is not only a fragrance, spice and indulgence plant, but also a medicinal plant.
Melisa – Melissa officinalis
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family (Lamiacea) and to the genus Melissa (Melissa). These are a genus of plants within the mint family that includes four species. The best known type is lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). As the Latin name “officinalis” says, it is also a medicinal plant. The plant is also known as lemongrass, hive, citronella, garden lemon balm, lady’s welfare or insect grass.
There are many known plants that belong to the mint family. We know it as a spice or tea herb. These include mint, sage, rosemary or lemon thyme.
All these herbs have one thing in common. As soon as one lightly rubs the aerial parts of the plants between the fingers, they exude an aromatic aroma. Some spicy or herbs, other spicy or even exotic.
The Melissa garden is dense and vertical
Lemon balm is a bushy perennial plant with vertical growth and can grow up to 70 cm tall. Its discreet white flowers appear from the end of May until August. The leaves are light green to dark, slightly serrated and sharp. It forms underground foothills and tends to spread in the garden.
The bright green surface of the leaves is densely covered with small sebaceous glands. These exude an intense lemon scent in the heat or a light touch, from which the bees are also attracted. In the botanical name Melissa, the Greek word for bee and honey is hidden.
Lemon balm is not just a thirst quencher.
Lemongrass contains essential oils, vitamin C, saponins, resin, thymol, tannins and bitter substances. Melissa leaves have an antimicrobial and antiviral effect. Its essential oils are said to inhibit the growth of herpes viruses and can help with colds and circulatory weakness. Similarly, it should be a woman (women’s well-being), since the ingredients of the whole plant are good for menopausal women. It helps to fall asleep and strengthens memory. It is said that garden lemon balm has a calming effect on the stomach and is said to promote digestion.
Citronella also goes very well with desserts.
The lemon aroma makes the lemon balm very good with desserts. You may have already tried the lemon sorbet with lemon juice. That tastes delicious! The insect herb also combines well with soups, sauces, vegetable dishes, salads and drinks. Very popular among children is lemon balm syrup.
Melissa as a refreshing quencher of thirst
Lemon balm is a refreshing summer drink, a perennial favorite and is prepared as tea or served as flavored water.
Tea tastes better with freshly harvested tips or young leaves. Pour briefly in hot water and then drink hot or cold.
Another possibility of a refreshing summer drink is the taste of cold water with fresh lemon balm, a wonderful quencher of thirst.
To do this, fill a glass jar with cold water and “seasoning” with a branch of lemon balm. The lemongrass branch may already be flowers. The branch can also be used several times when filling the glass jar several times. Of course, they can also be individual sheets.
A pot for lemongrass is enough
As of April, lemon balm can be sown with seeds or obtained from the gardener. Like lemongrass like mint makes underground hills, but it is already a plant in the garden. But be careful: if you lose the lemon balm in sight, it can, like mint, spread quite a bit in the garden.
I have the lemon balm in the pot myself (at least 5 liters), because I don’t want it to become independent and renew it every 2 years per division.
Propagation and division.
One possibility of propagation is the division of plants. Especially if you have planted balm in the pot or in a balcony box, this is a good way to “rejuvenate” the plant. Then you get more balm plants. Planted in a smaller balcony box, lemon balm should definitely be planted next year in a larger container or in the garden.
Lemon balm is like Mittelzehrer parsley. This means that plants planted in a pot need fresh fertilizer every year. Very important: When it is very hot, the plant needs additional watering and it will be appreciated with many young and delicate leaves with lemon scent.
In a spiral of herbs, the lemon balm belongs to the bottom of the spiral of herbs because the plant needs more space and the climate of the plant is humid there.
Vintage Melissa Leaves
Frequent cutting of lemon balm provides a fresh supply of tender leaves. To dry the leaves of lemon balm for tea, it is better to cut the plant in June just before flowering.
Now I wish you much fun and pleasure harvesting your lemon balm and many more beautiful summer days.