A plant called lemon balm has been known since ancient times. Melissa has medicinal properties, has long been used to this day in alternative medicine, cosmetology, cooking and aromatherapy.
In the article you will find out all the information about lemongrass, including what it looks like, why it doesn’t smell, is it afraid of frost, and you will see its photos.
Get acquainted with its types and varieties, read about the beneficial properties and possible contraindications, especially the cultivation and care.
What is Lemon Mint?
Melissa is a perennial plant in the Melissa genus of the Lamiaceae family, not an annual. Sometimes lemon balm is mistakenly called a flower or a bush, but it is neither the one nor the other, lemon balm is a herb. Official name - Melissa officinalis... Popularly referred to as lemongrass, lemon scent, lemon mint, mint, mead, swarm, bee - all are one and the same culture.
Lemon balm is often confused with other plants close to it - the Cat's cat and the Moldavian snakehead. Depending on the species and varieties, it can be both frost-resistant and afraid of frost.
Description of the appearance of the grass
The height of lemon balm ranges from 30 to 150 cm. The rhizome of the plant is strongly branched. On a branched, tetrahedral stem, almost naked or covered with short hairs, cordate-ovate, large-toothed, petiolate, opposite leaves grow. It blooms in June-August with small, short-stalked flowers of pale pink, lavender or white, covered with axillary bunches.
The calyx of flowers has lower subulate teeth, long-haired and glandular. Flowers look like false rings, in which they are collected in 6-12 pieces. Ripening of fruits - four black shiny ovoid nuts - occurs in August-September.
What does common lemon mint smell like, and why might there be no smell? Before flowering, lemon balm has a wonderful lemon scent, but after flowering it becomes weak and unpleasant.
Below you can see what the leaves and flowers of the grass look like in the photo:
History and geography
The ancestral home of melissa - the eastern region of the Mediterranean to Persia; areas adjacent to the Black Sea and Western Asia, North Africa. The plant has been grown in these areas for over 2000 years. The wild species of the plant grows extensively in the countries of Central and Southern Europe, the Balkans, Iran, North Africa, North America, lemon balm is also common in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Melissa was cultivated by gardeners and agronomists of pre-revolutionary Russia and the USSR... Nowadays, it is also grown in many countries.
Melissa grows on forest edges, in forest ravines, shady gorges, on clay and loamy soils, where there is enough moisture. The plant does not like too shaded places and too wet - it loses its aroma and becomes infected with bacteria.
Lemon balm was well known in ancient Rome several thousand years ago. Already in those days, the medicinal properties of the plant were discovered. For example, Pliny the Elder recommended the use of this herb in the treatment of abdominal pain, female diseases, inflammation, constipation, and rheumatic diseases. Avicenna noted the ability of lemon balm to heal brain blockages, soothe heart palpitations, relieve anxiety, and improve digestion.
Medieval Europe also knew lemon balm as a healing herb. In the 11th century, the scientist and physician Odo from France described lemon balm as a remedy for bites, dysentery, asthma, shortness of breath, ulcers.
Lemon balm is often confused or compared to several other plants., for example, lemongrass, catnip and mint, although they are not the same thing. These plants have both similarities and differences. How to distinguish lemon mint from common, as well as lemongrass and catnip?
Like lemon balm, it belongs to the Yasnotkov family, a perennial. Outwardly, it differs slightly from lemon balm: pubescent and dark leaves, erect stem, inflorescence at the top of the bush, while lemon balm has flowers in the leaf axils. Both plants are grown for stems and leaves used as condiments or for brewing tea.
It is a deciduous liana up to 15 meters long in the southern regions and up to four meters in the northern ones. It is used as a herbal and medicinal raw material; fruits are taken for use - red berries, rich in sugar. Lemongrass is often planted in summer cottages for decoration. It is only related to lemon balm by its pleasant lemon aroma.
The height of the mint is up to one meter, the stem is branched, cruciform leaves, purple flowers are attached to it, the shape of the flowers is ears, emits a menthol aroma, has a tonic effect, while lemon balm has a lemon scent and is often used to prepare soothing decoctions.
Types and varieties
There are eight types of lemon balm in total:
- Medicinal (also called Lemon aroma);
- artificially derived species Pure gold;
- Tsaritsynskaya Semko;
The healing properties of lemon balm are very extensive.... The effects of lemon balm on the body:
Melissa is contraindicated in people with:
- arterial hypotension;
- pregnant women, as it can lead to miscarriage.
Persons driving a motor vehicle or working in a hazardous production should not use lemon balm too often, as it reduces concentration. Excessive use of the plant causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drowsiness, dizziness, migraines, fatigue.
Growing and care
Almost all parts of the plant can be used for breeding lemon balm.:
- dividing the bush;
- root cuttings.
Seeds can be sown directly into the ground, without preliminary preparation, or seedlings can be grown. When propagated by seeds, lemon balm does not bloom in the first year. In one area, the grass grows well for about five years, after this period it is better to change the place of sowing.
Melissa is a good plant for growing in a garden or at a summer cottage, as it does not require special care conditions. She is not afraid of drought, it grows well in a bright place, but is somewhat afraid of strong winds.
Collection and storage
The beneficial leaves and shoot tops of lemon balm are harvested before it blooms, in which case the leaves have the highest essential oil content. The plant loses its benefits in rainy weather, therefore, it is necessary to harvest lemon balm only in a warm and sunny period.
The collected material is dried under a canopy or in a well-ventilated room. Drying lemon balm in the open sun is not worth it - it loses its medicinal properties. Completely dried leaves of the plant are placed in cloth or paper bags or glass jars, tightly closed with lids. You can store blanks from a year to three years.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, lemon balm was used by sorcerers and magicians to prepare magic potions.
Since its discovery in different countries, the plant has been included in ointments and infusions of various purposes. It was believed that lemon balm can cure almost any disease..
Lemon balm has many varieties, they differ in the color and shape of the leaves, but one thing is invariable - the healing properties are inherent in any kind of lemon balm. However, it is worth remembering that you should not overuse even such a medicinal plant, so that the benefits do not turn into harm.
We suggest watching a video about melissa: