Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis

Zone: 4-9
Height: 18-36"

General: Vigorous, upright-branched mound of intensely lemon-scented green leaves. Excellent for flavoring teas, lemon balm is said to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. It's great with fish, in teas and fruit salads. Lemon balm is adaptable, durable and will grow just about anywhere.

Culinary Uses: Leaves can be dried but they will lose some flavor. They can also be frozen, whole or chopped in oil or water. Leaves are generally used as flavoring for desserts or main dishes. Add chopped or crushed leaves to salads (especially fruit salads), sandwiches, stews, curries, vegetables, crepes, ice cream, dressings, sauces or oil and vinegar to impart lemony flavor. It can also be brewed as a tea or an infusion using either fresh or dried leaves. Also used as a flavoring in some liqueurs or to make herbal wine.

Medicinal Uses: Provides vitamins A, C, phosphorus, and calcium, and a good source of antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, sedative, diuretic, expectorant, and mild antibacterial properties. Leaves can also be used as a mosquito repellent when crushed and rubbed on the skin.

Ornamental Uses: Strong lemony aroma with crinkled leaves that resemble that of mint. This herb has white flowers that are very attractive to bees so it is a great plant for home gardeners to attract pollinators. Lemon balm is considered easy to grow and can (like its mint relative) take over an entire garden if left unattended.

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*Research all plants before use. Silverleaf doesn't condone or endorse any medicinal plant use. Any one planning to use plants for medical purposes should check with a physician first.