Lemon balm is an herb from the mint family. The leaves, which have a mild lemon aroma, are used to make herbal medicine and flavor foods. Lemon balm is a bushy herbaceous perennial that grows to about 0.6 meters (2 feet) tall. The wrinkled toothed leaves are roughly heart-shaped or oval and are borne in pairs along the square stems. The leaves can be smooth or somewhat hairy.
Lemon balm can be grown easily at home in almost any location. Lemon balm leaves are used fresh or dried to season and flavor foods such as salads, soups, sauces and as a flavoring in candies, liqueurs, wine, and fruit drinks. It is common in herbal teas and has long been used as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments and as a digestive aid and sleep aid. The essential oil is popular in aromatherapy and is used as a scent in perfumery and cosmetics. Lemon balm is probably one of the easiest herbs to grow and is ideal for beginners. This perennial herb grows and spreads so readily.
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