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Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis

Lemon Balm makes an excellent addition to any garden.  Not only is it attractive and easy to grow, but it possesses many important qualities.

Growth Habit

Lemon Balm is native to southern Europe and generally reaches a height of 24-36 inches.  The perennial heart shaped leaves have serrated edges that give off a fresh, lemony fragrance when crushed. Lemon BalmThis plant (a member of the mint family) has a spreading habit and likes to pop up wherever it finds a happy home!! We welcome this behavior at the Kulturology Soap Company because we use generous quantities of the herb in our Baxter’s Doggy Do Shampoo for its astringent and cleansing quality.  However, this herb can be grown in pots to control its spread.  If left uncut, lemon balm will bloom in mid-summer and although the small white flowers are far from spectacular,  back yard pollinators love it.

Herbal Properties

Lemon balm has powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.  The fresh, lemony scented leaves of this amazing plant can be used in teas to calm nerves and upset tummies, infused to create an astringent cleanser, extracted for treatment of cold sores, dried and added to potpourri for fragrance, or candied for cake decorations.  And if all that was not enough. this herb also possesses insect repelling qualities.  Crush a few leaves in the palm of your hand while in the garden and rub on skin or clothing to discourage the little biters!!  Below we have included a simple recipe for a soothing astringent cleanser.

Astringent Skin Cleanser

Take one ample handful of fresh picked lemon balm leaves (preferably early morning when the leaves contain the maximum amount of essential oil) and place in small pot with two cups fresh water. Simmer on low for ten minutes. Cool and strain liquid into clean dark glass jar and store surplus in refrigerator. Use cotton balls to apply to skin morning and evening for a refreshing skin cleanser.