Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Meet my second plant-love, Lemon balm (the first would be the Oak, more about him later).
I was a very moody teenager. In a playfully written book ‘for witches’ I read that Lemon balm had an intriguing Swedish nickname: “hjärtans fröjd” (“hearts’ delight”) – and that sounded like a prescription to me! I talked about it with my mother and she got some fresh Lemon balm into the kitchen…of which I drank countless cups of tea*. And never had to suffer PMS again!
Much later I discovered this garden companion is an excellent remedy for herpes simplex as well. When you feel the tingling heat of a blister coming up, run to your plant – explain why you need its help – and very often she agrees you could use a leaf. Roll the leaf between your fingers to crush it and hold against your lip. Most often the tingling subsides, without an outbreak.
The flowers are a great source of nectar for many insects (including honeybees!), and with its bright green foliage it fills up a otherwise-sad corner in the garden very effectively.
* plain lemon balm tea can taste less pleasant. I’d recommend adding mint, honey or lemon to your remedy, or make a lovely brew with them all, adding some ginger root to the mix as well (adding the lemon juice as last).