Lemon Balm
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Lemon Balm
P Introduced Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: Lemon Balm, Lemon Balsam, Melissa, Sweet Balm, Sweet Melissa • Tamil: Parcikanchankorai, Parsee cunjamkoray
Botanical name: Melissa officinalis    Family: Lamiaceae (Mint family)
Synonyms: Thymus melissa, Faucibarba officinalis, Mutelia officinalis

Lemon Balm is a perennial herbaceous plant. It grows to a maximum height of 2-4 ft. The leaves have a mild lemon scent similar to mint. Wrinkled, ovate, medium green leaves (to 3” long) appear in pairs on square stems rising to 2’ tall. Tiny, two-lipped, white flowers appear in the leaf axils throughout summer. Although the flowers are ornamentally uninteresting, honey bees love them. Leaves are edible and may be added to salads, soups, sauces or vegetables. Leaves are also used to flavor teas. Dried leaves may be added to sachets and potpourri.
Medicinal uses: Lemon Balm has a history of herbal medicine usage for a variety of purposes including, interalia, calming nervous disorders, soothing insect bites and treating colds.

Identification credit: Anil Thakur Photographed in cultivation in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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