SACoronavirus Resource and News Portal

Plant Information

Common Name: LEMON BALM
Scientific Name: Melissa officinalis
Alternative Names: Melissa

Package FormatN/A

Melissa officinalis
Melissa officinalis


  • Perennial
  • Lemon-scented perennial with four-angled stems and ovate toothed leaves.
  • Produces insignificant, pale yellow flowers in summer.
  • Needs moist soil in sun or partial shade.
  • Cut back plants after flowering to produce a fresh crop of leaves.

Culinary Uses

  • Finely chop fresh leaves into salads, white sauce for fish, fruit drinks, mayonnaise, sauerkraut, pasta, fish, chicken, pork, marinades, ice cream and herbal teas.
  • Add to blended vinegars - try lemon balm with tarragon.
  • Substitute for lemon juice in jam making.

Parts Used

  • Leaves

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Lemon balm is antibacterial and antiviral.
  • Topical applications of ointment containing lemon balm have proven effective in treating cold sores (oral herpes simplex).
  • It reduces the number of blisters in an outbreak and is a safe long-term treatment - it does not prevent cold sores, but it appears to speed healing of herpes infections.
  • Lemon balm is sedative - it is an antidote to modern-day stress and can be used to calm headaches, nervousness and promote restful sleep (insomnia).
  • For a soothing lemon balm bath, put some fresh (or dried) crushed lemon balm leaves into a muslin bag, then let the warm water run through it as you fill the tub.
  • Lemon balm improves mood and mental performance - will help Alzheimer patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
  • Lemon balm is antispasmodic and is recommended for digestive disorders, especially anxiety-related dyspepsia.
  • Lemon balm contains anti-thyrotropic activity and can be used in the treatment of Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism.
  • However, it should be avoided by those on thyroid medication such as thyroxine, as it is believed to inhibits the absorption of this medicine.
  • Traditionally lemon balm tea was taken for longevity and Ob-X, a mixture of three herbs, (Morus alba, Melissa officinalis and Artemisia capillaries), was taken to help regulate obesity.
  • Ob-X, has an anti-angiogenic activity - studies proved that it reduces body weight gain and visceral adipose tissue mass in genetically obese mice.

For Animals. It is said that

  • Plant around beehives and orchards to attract pollinating bees.
  • Rub on beehives before introducing a new swarm.

Other Uses

  • Use an infusion of the leaves as a facial steam and as a rinse for greasy hair.
  • Natural mosquito repellent because of the very high level of citronellal in its leaves - pinches off a few leaves, crush them in your hand and rub them over your skin.
  • Place fresh leaves directly onto insect bites and sores, or apply in a poultice.
  • Add juice to furniture polish.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

Back to Plant List