Honeybee Balm

Good Organic Gardening|July - August 2020

Honeybee Balm
A herb from the mint family, lemon balm has both culinary and medicinal qualities and is a well-known bee attractant
Kerry Boyne

Lemon balm label

Common names: Lemon balm, melissa, bee balm, balm mint

Botanical name: Melissa officinalis

Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)

Aspect & soil: Full sun to part shade; rich, well-drained soil

Best climate: Most

Habit: Perennial

Propagation: Seed, seedling, cutting

Difficulty: Easy

This beautifully fragrant herb has a long history in folk medicine. It was well known to the ancient Greek and Arab physicians as a treatment for skin and digestive problems as well as mood disorders. The Greeks and Romans also steeped it in wine to treat wounds and insect bites.

Legend has it that 13th-century Welsh prince Llewellyn of Glamorgan drank lemon balm tea every day and lived to be 108. Four centuries later, famed English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended lemon balm for improving mood and stimulating the brain, the properties for which it’s best known today.

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July - August 2020