Lemon balm is a perennial herb of the mint family. It grows upto 30 to 60 cm in height and lasts for two years or longer. It has a creeping root system, but is easy to keep in check. The plant has egg-shaped leaves and small white or pale pink flowers. It has a strong and agreeable odour, reminiscent of lemon, which gives it the name lemon balm. Its leaves and flowering tops constitute the drug.
The herb is said to promote longevity. Lemon balm was prescribed by the London Dispensary in the 17th century to be taken every morning to renew youthful vigour, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness. A Welsh prince, who lived upto 108 years, attributed his longevity to regular drinking of balm tea. The herb yields a very small quantity of essential oil. This oil comprises of citral citronellal euginol acetate, geraniol ect.
Lemon balm is considered beneficial in strengthening the functions of stomach and promoting its action.
Lemon balm is valuable for the brain and for strengthening memory. It prevents brain fatigue, sharpens comprehension, counteracts depression and revives the spirit. A cold infusion of the balm has a calming effect on the nerves. About 30 grams of the herb is put in half a litre of cold water and allowed to stand for 12 hours. The infusion is then strained and taken in small doses throughout the day.
The herb is antipyretic and useful in treating fevers. Tea made from the leaves brings down the body temperature.
The herb is useful in treating several other diseases. It is used to strengthen the gums and remove bad taste from the mouth. Leaves and stems are considered useful in liver and heart diseases as also in venomous insects bites.
Methods of Preservation: The plants are cut when they are in full bloom and dried in shade to preserve the natural c