The herbaceous perennial plant Lemon Balm belongs to the mint family of plants. Other names of this plant are sweet balm, honey plant, apiatrum, labiates, and bee’s leaf. The word Lemon Balm has been derived from the Greek word balsamon, which translates to oil with a sweet smell. Thus, lemon Balm got this name due to its exceptionally pleasing and sweet aroma.
This herb is found in numerous regions around the world. It was the native plant of Iran, South-Central Europe, Central Asia, and the Mediterranean Basin. However, today, this plant is cultivated almost everywhere. Since the past, Lemon Balm was famous for its culinary uses. That’s why it is used in a wide variety of cuisines. However, its medical benefits are also undeniable. Lemon Balm has sedative properties in it. This herb helps in improving digestion and relieving gas. It is also used to cure fever, support immunity, improve cognitive ability, and relieve stress.
What does Lemon Balm Look Like?
Lemon Balm has light green leaves. The shape of its leaves resembles the shape of mint. While growing, the plant turns a little bushy. The maximum height of the Lemon Balm plant is around 100 cm. While its heart-shaped leaves can grow for about 2 cm to 8 cm. They have a comparatively rough texture. They are hairy, and the edges are scalloped. Besides, the plant is also filled with small flowers. These flowers either have white, pale pink, or yellow colors. Due to the bright color, the flowers attract a lot of bees and other insects.
Where does Lemon Balm Come From?
Botanically, Lemon Balm comes from a tree of the mint family. The leaves of this tree are used for various purposes, especially for tea. In addition, the plant is grown as an ornament, while in some regions, its oil is also a reason behind its production. Besides, the cultivation of this herb started in the 16th century. While regionally, Lemon Balm came from South-Central Europe, Iran, Central Asia, and Mediterranean Basin, as stated in the above paragraphs.
How is Lemon Balm Made?
Lemon Balm’s production and growth depend upon the type of soil and location. But once the plant grows and gets ready to harvest, the work becomes easier. The leaves of Lemon Balm are usually used fresh. So, you just have to pluck the leaves when they get ready for use. Besides, some portions of these leaves are also dried. For that, first, you have to pick the leaves and trash the stems. Then, rinse the leaves well under running water to clean off the mud and dust, etc. Afterward, place the leaves on any paper and let it soak the water. Once done, place it somewhere it can dry well.
What Does Lemon Balm Taste Like?
As evident from the word lemon in the name, the Lemon Balm has a lemon-like flavor. However, it also gives a little flavor of mint. Besides, if you taste the fresh stems and leaves, they will taste a little sweet. That’s why its other names include the word sweet in them.
How is Lemon Balm Used in Cooking?
For cooking with Lemon Balm, you can use both fresh and dried leaves. You can add the dry leaves like all other ingredients and spices like celery and the recipe if you want it to release its flavor. You can also use its fresh leaves as a garnishing ingredient while cooking. But we recommend you add fresh leaves at the end.
What Types of Cuisines Use Lemon Balm?
Lemon Balm can be used in almost every cuisine. Some common uses of this herb are found in desserts, seafood, salads, vinaigrettes, soups, and sauces used in different cuisines. Lemon Balm is also famous for its use in tea and other drinks.
What is a Lemon Balm Substitute?
If you get out of Lemon Balm, you can use some other ingredients to replace its taste and aroma. Some good substitutes are freshly grated lemon, fresh mint, and fresh lemon basil. You can use the combination of these ingredients to get the same flavor as the Lemon Balm.
Where to Buy Lemon Balm?
Since Lemon Bal is widely used for making tea, it is easily available in almost every store. But make sure to always look for quality before purchasing one. For high quality, we are recommending few best products for you. These have a nice aroma, quality, and above all, they are affordable. These products are stated in the following list.
- Lemon Balm Leaf Cut & Sifted Organic – Melissa officinalis, 4 Oz
- Lemon Balm Tea (Bulk Herbal Tea): Bulk Lemon Balm Leaf (Melissa Officinalis Caffeine Free) – Herbal Balm, Bulk Balm Leaf (Cut and Sifted), 1lb (16Oz) U.S. Wellness Bulk Tea
- The Tao of Tea, Lemon Balm Herbal Tea, Loose Leaf, 2.0 Ounce Tin