Skip to main content

How I use herbs - lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), and even though I already wrote about mint, peppermint andspearmint in my garden, at the time I didn’t have lemon balm. I only recently got a cutting from Pete’s parents and its doing really well in my garden now. It hasn’t flowered for me yet, but apparently the genus name (Melissa) is Greek for 'honey bee', because the flowers attract bees.

eight acres: how I use and grow lemon balm

How to grow lemon balm
Lemon balm is propagated very easily by root division. It has similar requirements to mint, preferring a cool damp area of the garden. If you grow it in a pot, make sure that the soil stays moist. It doesn’t spread with runners like mint, but just grows into a larger clump, so it is easier to control. Keep pruning the excess growth to keep it as a small bush and not too tall. I have read that lemon balm is frost sensitive, but mine grew through winter here, so maybe it can tolerate light frost, and it can grow back after a cooler winter if it does die off.

How to use lemon balm
Lemon balm tastes a little like mint, but with a more lemon-y flavour. I dry the leaves and use it for tea because I like the flavour. I will also chop it up with other herbs to use as a fresh garnish on salad, in yoghurt sauce and to casseroles and soups.

Due to the wide range of chemical constituents in lemon balm, it has a reputation for several healing properties:
As well as preparing the leaves as a tea, they can also be used to make a tincture or an infused oil, to be taken internally or used topically (more herehere and here).

For a herb that’s relatively easy to propagate and grow, it has a huge range of benefits and it tastes nice, so I am very happy to have it in my garden.

Do you grow lemon balm?  Do you use lemon balm?  


See my other herb posts: mintaloe verabasilginger, galangal and turmericcalendula, marigold and winter tarragonsoapwortcomfreynasturtiumparsley.and borage.

Comments

  1. When I have lemon balm (I regularly kill it) I like to add the chopped leaves to a jug of iced water. It looks pretty and tastes nice. I must get more. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lemon Balm is something i am great at growing but have not know what to do with it. I know when i brush up against it in the garden the smell makes me feel refreshed. Im going to try the tea as im on a diet at the moment and need all the help i can get. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had to comment just to keep the Lynda theme going. I love lemon balm but sadly I too regularly kill it. I must get more and dry it for tea (and endeavour to remember to water it more often)
    Lynda

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post . I knew about lemon balm in tea and calming properties .. I was unaware of the other benefits. I have no problem growing it, in fact it takes over and pops up everywhere, much like mint. It is one of those plants I enjoy growing .. The smell is divine! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just love lemon balm! I really do. It is one of my all-time favorite plants. I love lemony scents and i like to add lemon balm to my wax melts to give a boost of lemon scent.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I recently bought another tub of lemon balm, and have put it into a poly box along with spearmint, and hope they can live happily side by side..

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn&#…

Native bee hotel

Like I wrote back here, native pollinators are as important (if not more important) than honey bees for pollinating crops and native plants.  There are a few things you can do to attract native pollinators to your garden:

Grow flowers and let your veges flower to feed the pollinators all yearHave a source of insect-friendly water in the garden (shallow dishes are best)Provide somewhere for them to live/nest/lay eggs - a bee hotel! In Australia, our native pollinators consist of both stingless native bees, which live in a colony like honey bees, and lots of solitary bees and wasps.  These solitary insects are just looking for a suitable hole to lay their eggs.  You may be familiar with these in sub-tropical and tropical areas, in summer you will find any and all holes, pipes and tubes around the house plugged with mud by what we call "mud daubers".  These area a real nuisance, so I'd rather provide some custom holes near the garden where they can live instead, so I don'…