Genus & Species: Melissa officinalis
Common Names: Lemon balm, Bee balm, Melissa, Heart’s delight, and Sweet balm.
Overview: Lemon balm is an herbaceous perennial with gentle aromatic notes of mint and citrus. This unassuming member of the mint family has a relationship with humans that goes back thousands of years. Native to the Mediterranean and Asia, lemon balm was used (and still is) by beekeepers who crush the fresh herb and place it in a newly constructed hive. The herb contains many of the same chemical compounds that are found in bee pheromones, which are released into the air upon crushing. Interestingly, that isn't lemon balm’s only connection to the world of bees. Its genus name, Melissa, was the name of the nymph who discovered honey and nursed Zeus as an infant in Greek mythology.  The herb’s association with the vitality of bees and maternal nurturing isn't by chance; lemon balm has long been used in herbal medicine as a gentle nervine that can rejuvenate the heart and mind at their deepest levels.
Therapeutic Properties: Antidepressant, anti-hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant antispasmodic, anti-viral, anxiolytic, digestive, nootropic, nutritive tonic, sedative. [2, 3]
Typical Uses: Lemon balm is an herb that can be safely used both internally and topically. An herbal tea can be made from the dried leaves to take advantage of its anxiety-reducing, mood-lifting, and brain-boosting properties. Because lemon balm has both antiviral and sedative effects, it can be an ideal tea for anyone suffering from a mild respiratory or stomach virus.  Additionally, lemon balm’s antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects combine to make a highly effective topical treatment for lesions caused by viruses such as the herpes simplex virus.  For topical application, the dried herb can be infused into an oil either by slow cooking or a long-term infusion. The gentle oil can then be applied to enhance everyday skin health or for more acute conditions.
1. Lemon Balm: The Immortal Life of Bees | Herbal Academy
2. A Family Herb: Lemon Balm Benefits | Herbal Academy
3. Modulation of Mood and Cognitive... | PubMed Central®
4. Lemon Balm | Penn State Hershey