Herbs

Lemon balm care and use - what gardeners should know

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Lemon balm is a popular culinary and medicinal herb that doesn't really need much care. Hobby gardeners should note a few points, however.

© lantapix - Fotolia.com Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is not planted without reason - it can not only be used as a versatile and effective medicinal and useful plant, but also serves as a pasture for bees and thus helps to prevent bee death.
Used as a balcony plant and garden plant, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) offers a pretty sight, but also spreads quickly. What appeals to a lot of people is that lemon balm has hardly any requirements for its surroundings - you can plant it almost anywhere, plant it in any soil and trust its good growth. The plant spreads quickly and also grows up to one meter high - which is why it is important to know about the proper care and use of the practical crop.

content

  • 1 Use of lemon balm
    • 1.1 Lemon balm in the kitchen
  • 2 lemon balm as a medicinal plant
    • 2.1 Frequent use of lemon balm
  • 3 Good harvest thanks to good care
  • 4 lemon balm - water, fertilize and overwinter
    • 4.1 Fertilize lemon balm
    • 4.2 Pour lemon balm
    • 4.3 Wintering lemon balm
  • 5 Harvesting the lemon balm leaves
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Bloom:June to August
Height:40 - 80 cm
Spread:40 - 50 cm
Use:Herbal bed, open land, wood edge
Location:Sun
Ground:well-drained, loamy-sandy, rich in stones
"Show more pictures and data

Use of lemon balm

When it comes to the use of lemon balm, there are a few things you should remember about the plant. The plant, which was originally found wild in southern Europe, can be used very well for cooking and refining food and drinks, for example, but also has healing properties.

Lemon balm in the kitchen

Whether fresh or dried, the lemon balm in the kitchen enchants not only with its delicate citrus scent, but also with a fresh, citrusy and even tart taste that many people rely on for various dishes. For example, the lemon balm can be used for these purposes when preparing drinks and dishes:

  • for the preparation or refinement of tea
  • for refining the taste of hot and cold drinks such as lemonade
  • for seasoning various dishes
  • as an addition to salads and to refine vegetable platters
  • as a supplier of flavors for fish and sauces
  • to refine various desserts, such as cakes or jellies

As you can see, the popular lemon balm has a lot of uses. The fragrance and good taste of lemon balm is often the main reason for many gardeners and balcony owners to get the herb plant in the first place - but over time they are usually convinced of the growth, the simple care of the plant and its healing effects.

Lemon balm as a medicinal plant

© Hetizia - Fotolia.com Not only in the kitchen is the very easy to keep lemon balm - also in medicine it is considered a very versatile and useful herb that everyone should plant in their garden or on the balcony. What has been forgotten by many people today is increasingly being researched and valued - because many people want to consciously turn away from medication and prefer to rely on natural home remedies in everyday life.

With Hildegard von Bingen at the latest, lemon balm has become known and popular as a medicinal plant or medicinal herb. It can be given in the form of concentrated tea, which is brewed from either fresh or well-dried leaves of the herb. The difference: fresh lemon balm leaves taste much more intense and citrusy, they also exude their pleasant, fresh scent - dried lemon balm leaves, on the other hand, taste and smell a little less intensely, but can be kept for a long time.

Frequent use of lemon balm

  • Tea for any gastrointestinal complaints, such as digestive problems or abdominal pain
  • Tea as a sedative for nervousness, stress and insomnia or anxiety
  • Lemon balm tea as a helper for nausea during pregnancy, general nausea or even flatulence and diarrhea
  • Tea as a remedy for stomach cramps and menstrual cramps
  • Remedy for loss of appetite

Lemon balm is also a real miracle cure for many people against colds and flu. In case of fever and cough, the antiviral plant can not only soothe and alleviate symptoms, but also help you sleep more peacefully and recover faster. If you react very strongly to insect bites, lemon balm can also be used as an aid on the skin. This is done either with the help of a tea infusion as a bandage, or by applying the grated, fresh leaves of the plant.

If you want, the lemon balm can also be used in a long steam bath. To do this, simply add the dried lemon balm leaves to the bath water. Here, the herb family has a relaxing effect and promotes deep, healthy sleep for the night - so that people under stress in particular benefit from it.

Good harvest thanks to good care

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons to buy lemon balm. Whether purely for cooking and serving delicious food and drinks or as a medicinal herb for the home pharmacy - it is really no wonder that many gardeners insist on lemon balm. So that the healing leaves can be harvested several times a year and are very successful, you should take care of the plant according to your needs and not only harvest the leaves properly, but also keep them. We describe how to do this below.

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Lemon balm - water, fertilize and overwinter

One thing in advance: the lemon balm is a very undemanding plant that basically can cope well on its own once it has been planted. Since good care promises better harvests, there is certainly no harm in trying.

Fertilize lemon balm

When it comes to fertilizers, for example, it is not necessary to add many nutrients to potted plants. It is enough to include a little compost in the plant soil. If the crop has been planted in the garden, you can fertilize as you like in spring and autumn or work some compost into the well-drained soil all around.

Pour lemon balm

Lemon balm does not like waterlogging, but regular watering should ensure permanent moisture. However, the soil must never become solid and very wet, so it is important to loosen it up occasionally so that moisture can escape. Only young lemon balm plants can be watered a little more often.

Hibernate lemon balm

Gardeners only need to take winter measures if the lemon balm is in a pot or bucket: a fleece or brush cover around the pot and the plant prevents the roots from dying in frost. If you want, you can also bring the plant indoors for the winter.

Harvesting the lemon balm leaves

If you want, you can use the lemon balm leaves fresh almost all year round. However, if these are to be stored for all eventualities, the leaves must be separated with stems and put together to form a kind of bouquet. A simple band around the stems helps to keep the stems and leaves compact. Now every small bouquet is hung up with the stems upside down. This requires a dark, dry and well-ventilated place, for example the basement or the pantry. If the leaves have dried sufficiently after a few weeks, they can be cut into small pieces for a spice and stored in an old, cleaned spice jar.

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