Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) is a bushy perennial herb of the mint family that grows well in northern temperate regions. It bears rough textured leaves. The plant has fine hairs growing all over and gives out a pleasant lemony scent when crushed. It is also known as Garden balm, sweet balm and Melissa. Lemon balm has great medicinal properties. Leaves of lemon balm are used for making tea. It treats cold, insomnia and indigestion. It is a carminative herb. It relieves spasm in the digestive tract and also relieves flatulence. The tea also lowers blood pressure. A paste of freshly crushed leaves can applied on the wounds for its anti bacterial properties. It also gives relief in insect bites. The crushed leaves when rubbed on the skin make an excellent mosquito repellent. Lemon balm contains essential oils citral, citronellol, geraniol and citronellal. It aids in calming nerves and is a strong anti spasmodic. It is very effective in conditions of migraine that are associated with tension and anxiety induced palpitations. The essential oil is used to cure colds, allergies, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, headache and nausea. Lemon balm also has mild anti-depressive properties. It is mild sedative and reduces stress. It has anti viral properties and is effective against herpes in reducing pain.
Besides medicinal uses, lemon balm also has culinary uses. Lemon balm has a delicate lemony flavour. Freshly chopped leaves are used for garnishing. Leaves are also added to green salads and fruit salads. Lemon balm is used to make herbal teas, both hot and cold. It is also used as a flavouring agent. The essential oil obtained from lemon balm is used in aromatherapy and relaxing aroma baths. It is also used in perfumes.
Lemon grass grows very well in Kumaon region. It is moderately shade tolerant plant.
It can be easily cultivated in pots and gardens. Lemon grass grows in clumps. It grows from seeds and also from stem cuttings. The seeds proliferate themselves and it spreads wildly. Leaves of lemon balm can be collected, shade dried and stored in an airtight container.