Lemon Balm-Melissa officinalis

This herbaceous perennial is a great addition to the herb garden it spreads through woody rhizomes, a bit like mint, and can grow to 1 m tall, it is native to southern Europe, it loves moist ground and full sun. The leaves can be gathered from spring to late summer.

It is particularly attractive to bees hence its name, and was planted near hives to keep the bees content to avoid swarming. Paradoxically it repels mosquitoes and midges, just rub some crushed leaves on your skin and see.

Its essence which is very expensive is widely used in the perfume and liquor industries. It makes a great sedating tonic as a tea. Its lemon scented leaves can be made into a pesto and added to fish, or combined with mint, made into a syrup and added to ice cream.  Or combined with other scented herbs for potpourris.lemon-267512_1920

Its marked antioxidant effects add to its revitalizing features, improving both mood and mental performance. it may also help in over active thyroid disease. And therefore can effect blood test results in those on Thyroxine, if taken regularly. It was once thought to be a constituent in the elixir of immortality.

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