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Values of lemon balm

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LEMON balm or balm mint, is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family Lamiaceae and native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalised in the Americas and elsewhere.

It grows to a maximum height of 70-150 cm (28-59 in). The leaves have a mild lemon scent similar to mint. During summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear. It is not to be confused with bee balm (genus Monarda), although the white flowers attract bees, hence the genus Melissa (Greek for “honey bee”).

The leaves are used as a herb, in teas, and also as a flavouring. The plant is used to attract bees for honey production. It is grown as an ornamental plant and for its oil (to use in perfumery). The tea of lemon balm, the essential oil and the extract are used in traditional and alternative medicine, including aromatherapy.

Family name: Labiatae

Botanical name: Melissa officinalis

English name: Lemon balm

Igbo name: Nchuanwu, Nchuanwuofia

Yoruba name: Jogbo

Description: Balm is used to be one of the most important herbs in the garden. It is a strongly bee-originated plant. It was said that a plant to balm in the garden, would ensure that the bees never left their hive to set up home elsewhere, thereby increasing the production of honey. It grows into a bushy plant, with soft leave which smell strongly of lemon when bruised. It is delightful if planted at the side of a path.

Parts used: The fresh leaves are used for summer drinks and fruit cups, as tea in jam, milk puddings and salad dressings.

Medicinal Uses

  1. The leaves are usually steeped in wine and drank. They are also applied externally as a remedy against the stings of a scorpion and the bite of mad dogs. It is good for washing the teeth.
  2. The leaves with a little water taken in drink helps in the pains of the belly. They are used as mosquito repellant.
  3. It is good for those that cannot fetch their breath (when made into an electuary).
  4. When used with salt, it takes away bad swelling in the flesh or throat. It cleanses foul sores and eases pains of the gout.
  5. It is good for the liver and spleen.
  6. It helps in digestion and the leaves juice with lime juice is good for colic and stomach ache.
  7. It is good to wash aching teeth. It is good for the liver.

 

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