Among the wild plants that come around population centers, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), sometimes mixed with nettles, tossed in, can go unnoticed if some species, then, reveal their secret breath (or lack thereof) at the crease, Melissa is not a stingy smell that delicious, even for a non-botanist, is an immediate sign of recognition: all the plant exhales a very pleasant fragrance of lemon sweet and heady, which earned it his name: lemongrass.
This is a perennial herb growing usually in small stands with stems 30-90 cm, erect, branched, slightly hairy, and very leafy. Leaves, opposite, stalked, ovate to 3-7 cm, broadly toothed, often eye-catching with their bright green. The flowers are small 0.0 to 1, 5 cm, white, sometimes pinkish, are in whorls of 4-12 in the axils of upper leaves. The corolla tube curved back and dilated at the top, above a chalice to 13 ribs and two lips, more than 3 teeth, flattened-concave feature, less than two teeth (all teeth very acute).
The Lemon Balm, very anciently introduced in West Asia, is found at home and naturalized here and there around houses, villages, ruins, in the hedges, the base of slopes and walls, sometimes in the vineyards. These particular stations, which facilitate the search, are the remains of ancient cultures for medicinal use.
Lemon balm is an excellent remedy for the nerves, easing tension and anxiety, bringing you good mood when you’re tired. Its relaxing effects make it a good remedy for headaches and migraines. Consumed regularly, lemon balm is very good for digestive problems associated with stress, such as decreased appetite, nausea, colic, colitis and gastritis, and an infusion may relieve mild abdominal psychogenic disorders in children.
When harvesting it, they have to gather all aerial parts of Melissa in early bloom, the morning after the dew dissipation of June (around Midsummer) in mid-August, depending on the region. Dried in the shade, in clusters or tight little garlands suspended and the plant must not yellow or darken but retain flexibility after drying, odor intact (crease) and good flavor. She can keep it as is in strong paper bags, well closed or broken, in cans or jars. No need to renew the supply each year.
To prepare the lemon balm tea is needed:
- 1 tablespoon lemon balm leaves (can be dried or fresh)
- 300 cubic centimeters of water.
The mode of preparation is to pour a tablespoon of lemon balm leaves in boiling water and let stand for several minutes (7-10 minutes). You can add a little sugar or honey to sweeten.