Ingredient of the week: Melissa/Lemon balm herb

Lemon Balm is a lemon-scented herb from the mint family (Photo: Shutterstock)

Do you have nights when sleep is elusive? You could turn to a nightcap to do the trick. Lemon Balm is a lemon-scented herb from the mint family. The Swahili name for this herb is “zeri ya limau”. Traditionally, lemon balm is used to improve mood and cognitive function, but the potential benefits include relief from anxiety, stress,insomnia, nausea, cold sores and indigestion. The herb is also known to ease head and tooth aches and minimise menstrual cramps. Lemon balm can be used in the kitchen and on the body. Sprinkle chopped lemon balm on salad, make a soothing relaxing cup of tea, use it to make soap or add some leaves to your bath water for a relaxing and soothing bath. On hot days, make yourself an ice cold sweet lemon balm drink. It is also a pleasant herb for marinades.

Lemon balm tea recipe: Chop fresh lemon balm leaves and set aside. Boil water, add the chopped leaves, set aside and allow to steep for about ten minutes. Pour into a cup, add honey to taste.

The herb is available in most shops that sell health products.

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