Lemon balm, with its delicate lemon scent and flavor, is valued as a culinary, cosmetic and medicinal herb. Fresh sprigs are used to top drinks and as garnishes on salads and main dishes. Fresh or dried leaves make a refreshing tea, either iced or hot.
Used throughout history as a medicinal herb, lemon balm has mild sedative properties and has been used to relieve gas, reduce fever, and increase perspiration.
The volatile oil contains citral, citronellal, eugenol acetate and geraniol. Both oil and hot water extracts of the leaves have been shown to possess strong antibacterial and antiviral qualities.
(NC Cooperative Extension)