Lemon Balm / Melissa Officinalis

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), not to be confused with bee balm, Monarda species, is a perennial herb in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The crushed leaves, when rubbed on the skin, are used as an instect repellent against mosquitos.

Lemon Balm is also used medicinally as a decoction (herbal tea), or as an extract . It is claimed to have antibacterial, antiviral properties (it is effective against herpes simplex), and it is also used as a mild sedative or calming agent. At least one study has found it to be effective at reducing stress, although the study's authors call for further research. Its antibacterial properties have also been demonstrated scientifically, although they are markedly weaker than those from a number of other plants studied.

Lemon balm essential oil is very popular in aromatherapy. The essential oil is commonly co-distilled with lemon oil, citronella oil, or other oils.

Lemon balm should be avoided by those on thyroid medication (such as thyroxine) as it is believed that the herb inhibits the absorption of this medicine.

Despite extensive traditional medicinal use, melissa oil has been prohibited by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA)'s 42nd amendment.

Added by wikiherbia on Sat 11 Aug 2012 on 5:44 pm GMT

Updated by wikiherbia on Sat 11 Aug 2012 at 5:44 pm GMT