Lemon balm, a plant with a rich history, that Pagès has chosen to incorporate in several of its creations.
Lemon balm, a plant with digestive virtues and a delicious and sweet honeyed taste.
Origins of lemon balm
The word "Lemon balm" (or Melissa) comes from the abbreviation of the Greek word "melissophyllon" meaning "bee leaf". It is one of the vernacular names of the plant. In ancient times, Lemon balm was already cultivated to feed bees. Virgil and Pliny say that it was used as bait for swarming bees because of its intense scent. The medical use of this plant apparently dates back more than 2,000 years.
It is said that Arab doctors in the 10th century praised the virtues of this highly reputed antispasmodic plant. Avicenna attributed to him the virtue of making the heart happy. In the 17th century, it was the medicine of doctors to fight against nervous breakdown, which therefore appears not to have been only the disease of our century. Lemon balm is at the base of the famous "Lemon balm water".
In 1978, Lemon balm was again the subject of studies, the aim of which was to scientifically prove the plant's virtues. It was in Germany in the 1990s that the important antiviral properties of Lemon Balm were confirmed.
Did you know that Lemon balm is often referred to as "lemongrass"? According to some, it bears this vernacular name incorrectly. The real plant of this name is a large tropical grass, "Cymbopogon citratus" of its botanical name, with elongated and sharp leaves, powerfully scented. The word "Melissa" evokes Honey, its flowers are rich in nectar and mellifera. "Melissa", the botanical name of the plant and a female first name, means "bee" in Greek.
Characteristics lemon balm
Name: Melissa Officinalis
Type: perennial plant
A perennial plant, Lemon balm is between 30 and 70 cm high. It originates from the eastern Mediterranean basin. It is frequently grown in gardens and is sometimes found in a subspontaneous state along hedges or forest trails. Its many square-section stems have large, opposite, oval and toothed leaves with an embossed appearance.
The white double-lipped flowers of the Balm bloom from June to September, and are grouped in whorls in the axils of the leaves. Leaves and flowers give off a very fresh smell reminiscent of Lemon.
This plant has several vernacular names, like many other plants: it is nicknamed "Lemongrass" and even "Bees' Pepper".
Uses of lemon balm
Lemon balm is consumed as an infusion, just let it infuse for about 10 minutes leaves and flowering tops of the plant to enjoy its taste and its benefits.
If Lemon balm is mainly a plant that you drink, some of its parts can be used in other ways. Indeed, the young shoots of Lemon balm can be used in the culinary arts. They are ideal for salads, giving them a tasty lemon note. Fish and vegetables steamed on a bed of Lemon balm retain its delicious flavour and can be used as an original dish to serve to your guests. Still in the kitchen, it is possible to flavour desserts with Lemon balm, its tender honeyed taste blending perfectly with sweet dishes.
Benefits of lemon balm
Nowadays, Lemon balm is recommended to fight against painful digestion. Lemon balm is also known for its antiviral action.