The great 11th century Arabic physician Ibn Sina (Avicenna) said that the bee balm plant “has the admirable property of giving comfort and joyfulness.” From the early 17th century onwards, the Barefooted Carmelites prepared the famous “Carmel water” from this plant. This water became a popular remedy for nervous crises, weaknesses, and syncopes.
Bee Balm Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Balm mint, balm, blue balm, cure-all, dropsy plant, garden balm, lemon balm, melissa, sweet balm.
- French: Melissa, cintronelle.
- Spanish: Toronjil, melisa, hoja de limon.
- Environment: Of the Mediterranean region, it is farmed nowadays all over Europe and in warm American areas.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Labiatae family, growing from 40 to 70 cm high, with toothed, rough leaves which give off a lemon scent.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Leaves and flowers.
Healing Properties and Uses
The leaves and flowers of the bee balm plant contain 0.25% of essential oil that is rich in citral and citronella aldehydes, to which it owes its antispasmodic, sedative, carminative (to reduce flatulence), digestive, and antiseptic actions. It is helpful in the following cases:
- Nervous problems. Excitation, anxiety, tension headaches (headaches of nervous origin).
- Stress and depression. Balm is often recommended in stress and nervous depression cases because of its gentle sedative and balancing effects on the nervous system.
- Insomnia. When taken at night, it helps to overcome insomnia.
- Menstrual pain. For centuries, it has been recommended to ease menstrual pains.
- It may also be helpful for palpitations, abdominal spasms, colics, flatulence, nausea, and vomiting.
- When applied externally, it is antiseptic, antifungal (fights skin fungi), and antiviral, and its action has been proven helpful against the herpes virus and type 2 myxoviruses.
Bee Balm Plants for Sale
Carmel water is not recommended due to its high alcohol content. The author met an older woman who managed to obtain her dose of alcohol in pharmacies by buying several bottles of Carmel water, which she frantically drank.
How to use Bee Balm
- Infusion. 20-30 grams of plant per liter of water. Drink three or four cups daily.
- Dry extract. It is usually administered in a dose of 0.5 grams three times a day.
- Compresses. Applied with an infusion of 30-50 grams per liter of water.
- Baths. The same infusion as compresses added to the bathwater (2-3 liters per bathtub).
- Frictions. Applied with the essence dissolved in alcohol (balm alcohol).
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 163. Print.[bee balm plant]