Lemon balm, a delightful herb with a fresh lemony aroma and flavour, is renowned for its culinary versatility and numerous health benefits. This herb, also known as Melissa Officinalis, has been treasured since ancient times for its soothing, anti-anxiety properties and its culinary appeal.
Lemon balm adds a burst of citrusy goodness to a variety of dishes and beverages. It complements salads, fish, poultry, and vegetable dishes, and is often used to infuse herbal teas and lemonades, creating refreshing and uplifting beverages.
"Citrusy lemon balm adds a zing to salads and grilled dishes. Be sure to taste it first to gauge its strength"
Beyond its culinary charm, lemon balm is rich in beneficial polyphenols that contribute to its potential health-enhancing properties. One of the key polyphenols found in Lemon Balm is rosmarinic acid, which is also present in other herbs like rosemary and oregano. Rosmarinic acid is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, aiding in neutralising free radicals and potentially reducing inflammation in the body.
Lemon balm also contains flavonoids, including quercetin, apigenin, and luteolin, which contribute to its antioxidant properties. These flavonoids play a role in protecting cells from oxidative stress and supporting overall cellular health.
Lemon balm contains essential oils such as citral and citronellal, responsible for its refreshing lemon scent. These oils possess antimicrobial properties and may help in alleviating stress and promoting relaxation.
"Outside of its culinary uses, lemon balm can be used rubbed on the skin to keep mosquitos away."
As part of a nutritionally rich, whole health lifestyle, at The Whole Health Practice we advocate enjoying herbs (and spices) as a regular part of one’s diet. While some herbs have shown positive results for specific health outcomes, nutrition science and the interaction of polyphenols from different plant sources is incredibly complex. Enjoy a healthy eating pattern with a variety of herbs, spices and whole foods that work in synergy to promote maximum health. Think fruits, berries, beans, vegetables, and whole grains; add colour to your dishes wherever possible.
Incorporating lemon balm into your culinary creations not only adds a delightful flavour but also provides a dose of health-boosting polyphenols. Not always easy to find, use this herb in your cooking and enjoy the delightful flavours and potential well-being benefits it brings to your dishes and health.
More than just taste, herbs can bring health and joy to our lives. Read on for our complete collection of articles, recipes and more...
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Petrisor G, Motelica L, Craciun LN, Oprea OC, Ficai D, Ficai A. Melissa officinalis: Composition, Pharmacological Effects and Derived Release Systems-A Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Mar 25;23(7):3591. doi: 10.3390/ijms23073591. PMID: 35408950; PMCID: PMC8998931.
Zam W, Quispe C, Sharifi-Rad J, López MD, Schoebitz M, Martorell M, Sharopov F, Fokou PVT, Mishra AP, Chandran D, Kumar M, Chen JT, Pezzani R. An Updated Review on The Properties of Melissa officinalis L.: Not Exclusively Anti-anxiety. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2022 Jun 7;14(2):16. doi: 10.31083/j.fbs1402016. PMID: 35730441.