Melissa officinalis or lemon mint - cultivation and use

Melissa is a wonderful aromatic and medicinal plant

Features of culture

Melissa officinalis, lemon mint, honey, mother plant, swarm, bee (Melissa officinalis L.) - all these are the names of one spicy-aromatic plant of the labiate family. Melissa reaches a height of 30–80 cm.

It comes from the Mediterranean and Iran. It was cultivated in Ancient Greece and Rome, then its culture was adopted by the Arabs, who, in turn, brought it to Spain as a spice and medicine in the 10th century, and from there it spread throughout Western Europe.

In our country, in the wild, lemon balm grows in the lower reaches of the Volga and in the Caucasus (possibly as an alien and feral plant). It is widely cultivated in the fields and gardens of Southern Europe and the USA. In our culture, it is not widespread, mostly grown by amateurs, although in the middle lane in the garden it grows quite well.

It can be grown on balconies and in rooms, but the technology for growing it in a room culture is almost not developed. The stem of lemon balm is tetrahedral, branched, slightly pubescent, densely covered with petiolate opposite, ovate, large-serrate leaves up to 6 cm long and 3 cm wide, which are covered with glandular hairs. The lower lateral shoots are creeping. The rhizome is highly branched.

Lemon balm blooms in the second year after sowing, in July - August. The flowers are light purple, pale blue, pink or light yellow, collected in false whorls in the axils of the leaves, good honey plants. Bees can collect up to 150 kg of honey from one hectare of lemon balm. In the south, it bears fruit in September. The fruit is dry, consists of four small brown or almost black nuts with a diameter of 1.5 mm, the weight of 1000 seeds is 0.62 g, they retain germination for two to three years.

Melissa is light-requiring, but if necessary, it can grow in shade. She is sensitive to cold, prefers warm places and humus-rich loose and deep loamy and sandy loam soils. Melissa is responsive to organic and mineral fertilizers. It is drought-resistant, in waterlogged places it is often affected by fungal diseases.

Reproduction of lemon balm

Lemon balm is propagated by seeds (sown directly into the ground or grown through seedlings), as well as by layering, cuttings, root cuttings, and dividing old bushes in the spring.

Seedling seeds are sown in March - April, they do not need stratification, the seeding rate is 0.5-0.7 g / m2, the seeding depth is 1-1.5 cm. Seedlings appear in 2-4 weeks, they are dived or thinned out on a distance of 5x5 cm, fed with nitrogen fertilizers. With the formation of 3-5 true leaves, when the threat of frost has passed, the seedlings can be planted in the ground according to the 20x40 cm scheme.

By dividing 3–4 summer plants are propagated in spring or August. Each division should have roots and 4–5 buds.

Layers propagated in March - April.

Before planting seedlings on the site for lemon balm, apply 3 kg / m? manure or compost, on heavy soils add sand, as well as mineral fertilizers (N, P, K) at 10-15 g / m? of each element according to the active substance. In the spring, they are fed the same doses of ammonium nitrate and potassium salt, and the amount of superphosphate is increased to 25–30 g / m2. If desired, in the middle lane and to the north, you can grow lemon balm as an annual crop.

Melissa in room culture

As mentioned, lemon balm can also be grown in room culture. This is especially advisable for those amateur gardeners who want to have this culture on the site in a small amount, for themselves. In this case, in the fall, you should dig up one or two lemon balm bushes and plant them in pots that can be placed on the windowsill. The main condition is good lighting, additional lighting is desirable.

In the spring, cuttings are cut and rooted from the bush, and the bush itself is divided into several parts. With the onset of heat, both cuttings and cuttings are planted in the ground. With such a cultivation, it is possible to harvest a sufficient amount of greens of this spicy-aromatic plant for one family. And in winter, on the windowsill, you can pinch fresh leaves.

And if we add to this the decorative appearance of plants and the phytoncides they release into the air, it turns out that this is almost the most versatile indoor plant. However, the technology of growing lemon balm in a room culture has not yet been developed and represents a wide field of activity for those who like indoor floriculture who want to start growing it.

Harvesting and using lemon balm

The spice is the leaves and the entire aerial part of the plant, they are used fresh and dried. Lemon balm can be harvested throughout the growing season, but the highest quality material is harvested during flowering.

The smell of leaves harvested later becomes coarser. Lemon balm is cut only in dry weather. When mowing, the greens are cut at a height of 10 cm from the soil surface. After this, it is advisable to feed the plants, especially they need nitrogen. Usually a complex mineral fertilizer is applied with a dose of 10 g / m2? for each active ingredient.

To harvest the seeds, the plants are cut when the lower ones turn brown, in the middle lane this usually happens at the beginning of October. The cut plants are tied up and hung over a newspaper, piece of plastic or tarp, on which the seeds are poured. Then they are cleaned of debris and packaged.

The taste of lemon balm is bitter-spicy, slightly astringent, refreshing with a lemon flavor and aroma of freshness. It is used both fresh (contains up to 150 mg% vitamin C) and dried. Dried quickly, in a ventilated room, inaccessible to sunlight, at a temperature of 25 ... 35 ° C.

With good vegetation, it is possible to collect lemon balm two or three times. Its leaves contain 0.2% essential oil, tannins, bitterness, mucus, resin, sugar, vitamins C, B1, B2, carotene. There are many macro- and microelements in them. Melissa has an antispasmodic, analgesic, wound healing and antiemetic effect, has a calming effect on the nervous system, improves appetite, gastrointestinal tract function, helps with flatulence and spasms, increases bile secretion. Galenic preparations (medicinal teas, decoctions, etc.) are prepared from it.

An infusion of it is taken for shortness of breath, asthma, insomnia, anemia, as a laxative and diaphoretic. Pure essential oil is also obtained from it. Lemon balm is used in the production of liqueurs, in particular, chartreuse and benedictine, tinctures ("Erofeich", etc.), various balms; it is highly valued in perfumery. As a spice, fresh leaves are added to salads, sauces, vegetable dishes, and soups. They are also used in the preparation of poultry, fish, veal, pork, lamb, game, mushrooms. And also lemon balm leaves are eaten with grated cheese, cottage cheese, put them in dishes made from milk, eggs, fruit soups, compotes, jelly, kvass.

Lemon balm is also used for canning cucumbers, added to fresh and sauerkraut, used as a filling for pies. When boiled, lemon balm loses its taste and aroma to a significant extent, so it is better to put it in ready-made dishes. Memo for beekeepers: Melissa means bee in Greek. Its aroma attracts and soothes bees, swarms willingly settle in hives, rubbed inside with lemon balm, and never fly off, it is no coincidence that it is also sometimes called bee valerian. And the honey from it is curative.

Lemon balm tea (25-30 g of herbs are poured into 1 liter of boiling water, infused for 30 minutes, drunk 1 glass 3-4 times a day) is a pleasant, healthy and healing drink. In folk medicine, it is drunk as a laxative and appetite stimulant, as well as for stomach neurosis, headache, dizziness. Outwardly, lemon balm is used for taking aromatic baths. As already noted, it is grown mainly in the southern regions of the country.

In the middle lane and in the North-West in the ground, it does not always winter successfully, it freezes out in severe winters, and requires shelter. In addition to the wild form of lemon balm, there are two cultivars: Erfurt and Quedlinburg creeping. Unfortunately, lemon balm as an ornamental, as well as indoor, as a spicy-aromatic, as a medicinal plant in our country is clearly underestimated. I would like to hope that after this publication, the wonderful plant will have new fans.

Vladimir Starostin,
candidate of agricultural sciences

For more than 3 thousand years, medicine has known the properties and actions of the plant. In his writings, Avicenna described the effect of lemon balm on the body. He noted that it strengthens the immune system and the nervous system, neutralizes bad breath, and helps to revitalize the brain.

For medicinal purposes, the aerial part of the plant is used. It is harvested before flowering and dried at a temperature not exceeding 35 ° C in well-ventilated areas.

The next time, the plants can be cut in about 3 weeks. If the autumn is warm, then a third collection of grass is possible. It is best to harvest the leaves at noon in dry weather to avoid the loss of essential oils. Dry grass is stored in sealed cans for no more than 1 year.

The herb is cultivated as a raw material for the pharmaceutical industry

The high content of essential oil with citral, geraniol, citronellol allows the herb to be used for inhalation. The action of lemon balm helps relieve pain, cramps. It has an antispasmodic effect when essential oils are inhaled.

These features of the plant allow it to be used as a traditional medicine. Melissa has antiemetic effects on the body, stimulates the secretion of gastric juice, increases salivation.

Lemon balm tincture has a calming effect. Melissa, due to its composition, can be used as a remedy for combating viral diseases (influenza, measles, herpes).

Growing a house on a windowsill

You can also grow lush compact bushes at home using a sunny windowsill instead of a garden bed.

The cultivation and care of lemon mint on the windowsill begins with seedlings. It differs little from the preparation of young plants for planting in beds - send seeds to a nutritious light substrate, wait for shoots and dive into pots. After the bushes grow several full-fledged leaves and begin to branch, transplant into larger containers. The transplant should be carried out annually.

You need to take care of lemon balm as for unpretentious indoor plants:

  • prevent waterlogging of the soil
  • protect from direct sunlight
  • periodically loosen the top layer of the substrate

Lemon mint growing on the windowsill must be pruned to create a compact, beautiful bush. For the winter, it is better to completely cut off the aerial part - in the spring, young shoots will begin to grow from the root.

Melissa is one of the few crops that is easy to grow and care for. The main thing is that you can collect spices 2-4 times per season, make preparations and even dry them, which will allow you to enjoy the aroma and taste of lemon mint in your favorite dishes throughout the year.


Melissa (Melissa) is a herbaceous perennial that is popular with many gardeners and has a pronounced aroma. The plant is related to the Lamiaceae family and grows in Eurasian and North American countries.

Melissa is usually grown as a garden planting plant or a home potted plant. The herb leaves are used in various dishes and are added to tea. Lemon balm juice gives a special lemon flavor to fish, meat and vegetables. This perennial has found its application in medicine due to its unique medicinal and melliferous properties. The popular names of the herb sound like swarm, honey, mother plant or lemon mint, but the latter of them should not be confused with a plant from another genus.

Melissa officinalis or lemon mint - cultivation and use - garden and vegetable garden

This is a perennial melliferous plant with a height of 30 - 80 cm. Its homeland is the East. To Europe as a spice and medicine Melissa came thanks to the Arabs, ancient Greeks and Romans. At first it was grown in the gardens of monasteries, now it is cultivated in the fields, even on balconies. The plant has a densely leafy branchy stem. Pale blue or light yellow flowers grow from the axils of the leaves, the fruits are nuts. It is a hardy plant with a pleasant fresh lemon scent.


An essential oil with a lemon scent is extracted from fresh leaves and stems. It contains citral, citronellal, mir-tsen, geraniol. The amount and composition of essential oil varies depending on the place of growth. The herb also contains ascorbic acid (about 150 mg /%) in the leaves - tannins (up to 5%), coffee, oleanolic and ursolic acids in the seeds - fatty oil (20%). The aerial part, in addition, contains: macroelements (mg / g) - potassium - 31.2, calcium - 13.8, magnesium - 5.4, iron - 0.1 trace elements (μg / g) - manganese - 24.8 , copper - 8.88, zinc - 46.8, molybdenum - 0.24, chromium - 0.24, aluminum - 105.68, barium - 45.04, tungsten - 0.16, silicon - 0.15, nickel - 0.88, sulfur - 22.2, lead - 1.76, boron - 59.6 concentrates selenium.

See the chemical composition and nutritional value of fruits, vegetables and herbs:


Melissa contains essential oils, tannins, mucus and resins. Its properties are similar to chamomile. Its infusion induces appetite, acts against flatulence, seizures, migraines and neuroses. Three times reception of an infusion of dry lemon balm leaves (10 - 20 g per 200 ml of water) helps to stop pain in the heart and relieves shortness of breath. Lemon balm tea (2 - 3 teaspoons per cup of water) before bed is useful. It is soothing and moderately lowers blood pressure. You can also use it for colds. Lemon balm essential oil (2 g) lowers heart rate. An infusion of fresh lemon balm leaves is used to stimulate appetite and as an external medicine (compresses, rubbing) for rheumatism. In cosmetics it is used as a bath agent, it is a part of masks for oily skin and eau de toilette, shampoos for oily hair.

Melissa prefers warm, sunny places and fertile humus soils. Lemon balm seedlings can be grown from seeds or propagated in spring by dividing an older bush. When propagated by seeds, seedlings are first grown. The seeds are pre-soaked for 3 - 4 days, and then sown in seed boxes. Seedlings, when the first pair of true leaves appear, dive into paper cups or plastic bags with soil. On the site 3 - 4 lemon balm plants are grown, therefore, no more than 6 - 8 seedlings are required to plant half in the ground at a distance of 40 - 50 cm.If lemon balm is propagated by dividing the bush, in the first year you can collect the leaves twice, while as when sowing with seeds, only one harvest is made. It is better to collect the leaves during the flowering period (July - August), in the afternoon. Dry the collected leaves quickly in the shade and in a draft.

Lemon balm is used as a spice due to its spicy refreshing taste and smell. Fresh leaves are added to salads, sauces, vegetables, soups of all kinds, used for cooking poultry and fish. Many people like to add it to grated cheese, veal, pork, lamb and game, milk and egg dishes, fruit soups. Melissa can be added to mushroom and cottage cheese dishes. It is not recommended to boil it. You need to add lemon balm to ready-made dishes.

Every gardener dreams of unprecedented harvests. Increasingly, getting them help plant growth and development regulators. However, what these substances are and what their principle of action is, not everyone knows.

It is known that the health and productivity of the crop grown on it depends on the level of soil acidity. Define soil acidity It is possible in laboratories specialized for this, or it is possible independently with the help of a pH meter or indicator litmus paper. There is also a method for determining the acidity of the soil by weeds growing in a given area. How to determine and change the acidity of the soil.

Clay soils - a real trouble for the owners. Many people know this picture: with good care of the garden - carrots with marigolds, potatoes with peas, unripe zucchini and eggplants, black sides of tomatoes. What to do? A good harvest on clay soil is real.

The most popular medicinal herbs that are grown on the site are mint and lemon balm. Tea made with these plants is always popular. And how to properly grow them and use them, in addition to tea, will be discussed in the article. In addition, we will figure out what medicinal properties they have and how to use them in group plantings.

Features of growing mint

This unpretentious plant has several types, but for its taste and medicinal properties, it is valued peppermint. Gardeners grow it most of all. A delicate, sweetish taste with a rich mint aroma is just the case when taste and benefit are combined.

Mint is an unpretentious plant. It can grow both on chernozems and on sandy and clayey soils. The main thing is watering. Remember to water, especially on hot days. Then, even sunny territories can be mastered by this plant. But the advantage must be given to penumbra. But stagnation of moisture is contraindicated. Root decay can lead to the death of plantings. Mint multiplies:

  • By dividing the bush (rhizomes). To do this, in late April or early May, you need to dig up several young shoots with rhizomes and plant them on the desired site. Such manipulations can be carried out at the end of August.
  • Reproduction by cuttings proceeds as follows: break off twigs 7-8 cm long, put in water and wait for the roots to appear. Plant in the ground when the length of the roots is at least 2 cm.
  • Seeds. This method is the most difficult and time consuming. Seed germination is low, there is a lot of trouble to care for seedlings. Therefore, for beginner amateurs, the first two methods are more suitable. When mint blooms, self-seeding is possible, then young plants grow well by themselves, they can be safely transplanted when the height reaches 5 cm.

  • Strong growth of rhizomes. Therefore, you need to be prepared for a massive seizure of territory. If the area around is empty, this is only a plus. But with limited spaces - a problem. But there is a way out: planting in large pots or making fences. To do this, limiters (pieces of slate, metal sheets or other pieces of durable material) are hammered into the soil to a depth of 10-15 cm.
  • Excellent bushiness when long shoots are often broken off. This feature will help make good preparations for the winter from a small number of bushes and pick fresh shoots for tea all season. When the stems reach a height of 15 cm, you need to tear off the tops, 5 cm - 7 cm long.Then two branches will grow from each branch in a couple of weeks. And when these shoots reach 10 cm, pluck them too, leaving 5 cm for new branches. Don't wait for the mint to bloom. The leaves become hard and the bushiness decreases.
  • Mass cut shoots. When the length of the mint stalks reaches 15-20 cm, a mass harvest of raw materials can be carried out. To do this, cut off all the mint stems with scissors, leaving 5 cm high shoots from the ground. After a couple of weeks, new branches will appear, which, with good watering, grow quickly.

Features of growing lemon balm

Melissa has a number of popular names: lemon mint, bee mint, honey, lemon grass. And all because the delicate aroma of this plant resembles a mixture of mint with citrus zest. And the flowers are excellent honey plants, attracting with the aroma of bees. But if it is necessary to prepare a decent amount of raw materials, then it is unnecessary to allow flowering.

When it comes to growing lemon balm in a personal plot or in a garden, then you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • It is better to propagate the plant by dividing the bush or cuttings. It is difficult to grow seeds. Although, it reproduces well by self-seeding. It is fashionable to replant young plants when they reach a height of 5 cm.
  • Lemon balm overgrowth is not as strong as mint. It is more restrained, and the root system is kept within the bush.
  • It is recommended to pluck the raw material as the branches grow up to 15-20 cm. New shoots grow rapidly.
  • Melissa does not like bright sunny places. Penumbra is her favorite place. Although the shade is more suitable than open sunny areas.
  • Moderate hydration. No bright contrasts of waterlogging and drying out.
  • To the choice of soil - not picky.

Knowing these features of growing lemon balm, you can not be afraid and boldly breed this fragrant and useful culture on your site.

Use and medicinal properties of mint

When it comes to mint, tea and mojito cocktails come to mind. But as a seasoning - this herb is not remembered. Although, meat and vegetable dishes seasoned with powdered dry mint leaves have a very pleasant taste and delicate aroma. And fresh leaves can be added to vegetable and fruit salads.

Medicinal properties of mint:

  • Decoctions of mint leaves and stems are used for:
  1. headache
  2. migraine
  3. nausea
  4. heaviness in the stomach
  5. nervousness
  6. flatulence
  7. insomnia
  8. as a choleretic agent.
  • In combination with other herbs, mint is used for:
  1. colds
  2. cardiovascular
  3. stomach cramps
  4. as anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Fresh leaves are used for:
  1. Migraines and headaches. Rubbing whiskey or applying leaves.
  2. Itching from insect bites.
  3. In case of bad breath, it is recommended to chew a mint leaf.

The main thing is to remember that at home, without a doctor's prescription, you need to use mint teas and infusions for preventive purposes. During an exacerbation of the disease, you need to see a doctor.

Application and medicinal properties of lemon balm

Lemon balm is used in cooking as a seasoning for summer salads, mushroom and pea soups, meat dishes. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy and perfumery.

Melissa, like mint, has a calming, antispasmodic effect. Therefore, teas and infusions of this plant are taken when:

  • headache
  • nervous excitement
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • low appetite
  • allergic dermatitis
  • poor digestion.

For insomnia and headaches, you can make tea from mint and lemon balm. Also, this tea is suitable for difficult digestion.

Remember! Large amounts of herbs during exacerbation of diseases are contraindicated.

Mint and lemon balm in group plantings

If the purpose of growing is not only the medicinal properties of these plants, but also decorativeness, then you need to take into account:

  • Mint can be planted in a flower bed in large containers. Melissa doesn't like space constraints. It only needs to be planted in the ground.
  • If plants are needed only for decorative purposes, they can be planted in the center of the flower bed and form tall, flowering bushes.
  • Mint can be planted at the edge of a flower garden by constantly breaking off long stems to create ground cover bushes. Melissa will not grow much, so her bushes will be lush, but small.
  • Planting in the garden, between trees, should be made taking into account the fact that mint and lemon balm need at least a few hours of sunshine a day.
  • Mint can be planted along curbs only by constantly cutting off long stems. For beautiful bushes, constant watering is necessary.

For its aroma and calming, pacifying effect, lemon balm and mint, by right, are leaders among other medicinal herbs in summer cottages. Having mastered the simple principles of growing these plants, you can delight yourself and your loved ones with pleasant and healthy teas, aromatic dishes, and your flower beds - with original compositions.

Lemon balm varieties

New varieties are recommended to be used dried or fresh for flavoring liqueurs, tea fragrances.

Dozya - a semi-raised rosette of leaves, can reach a height of 80-90 cm. Dozi's leaves are dark green, slightly pubescent. Lemon scent, white flower.

Pearl - a semi-raised rosette of leaves, can reach a height of 80-110 cm. The number of shoots is about 25-70. The pearl's leaves are dark green, short petiolate, smooth. The aroma of the plant is delicate, strong and refreshing. A good plus - the pearl is resistant to adverse conditions.

Isidora - a horizontal leafy rosette, can reach a height of about 80 cm. The leaf of the Isidora is green, in shape similar to an egg. The flower is small, lilac in color, strong aroma.

Quadrille - semi-closed and raised rosette of leaves. The number of shoots in this plant can reach 15. Leaves are green, without anthocyanin. A small flower with a strong scent.

Lemon flavor - a semi-raised rosette, can reach a height of 60 cm. Leaves with a lemon aroma are dark green in color, similar in shape to an egg. The plant has a lemon aroma.

Freshness - a semi-raised rosette of leaves, can reach a height of 60 cm. The leaf is dark green, medium in size. A small flower of light blue color with a lemon scent.

Tsaritsynskaya Semko Is a branchy and erect plant, can reach a height of 80 cm. Small leaves are light green in color, with a lemon scent.

Watch the video: 5 Powerful Health Benefits of Lemon Balm Melissa Essential Oil

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