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365 Challenge > Day 78 - Lemon Balm Tea (Melissa officinalis)

I have heard of ‘Melisa’ (as we say in Turkish) tea and I remember drinking it once when I was offered a cup by friend decades ago. But I never bought it myself and brewed some until now.

The leaves have a citrus aroma which tastes less sour than expected. The taste also gives away some mint-like character almost a faint version of sage which makes sense given that the plant belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae). Overall, it has a pleasant aroma and taste, but it has other properties that make it appealing.

Firstly, the extract of its leaves provides a soothing relief at any stage of a cold sore and it is even made into a balm called Herpilyn. This is because, melissa was also discovered to have antiviral properties and it is used in the treatment of herpes infections (lips, eyes, etc.).

Secondly, melissa tea is widely used to treat tenseness and restlessness according to the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP).

Thirdly, lemon balm was found to reduce gastrointestinal complaints (Schulz, Hansel, and Tyler, 2001). Fresh or dried leaves of Melissa were also approved by the German Commission E to be used in treating functional gastrointestinal disorders (Blumenthal et al., 1998).

Native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia can now grow around the world. I really think it is a pleasant tea and I see how it can be blended with some other herbs (not tea, of course) to improve the taste/aroma. I will add this tea to my stash and drink it in the evenings.

Tea Profile:

Type: Herbal (non-tea)

Origin: Turkey

Harvest time: 2019

Leave colour: Green leaves

Liquor colour: Vibrant yellow

Tea aroma: Citrus and spicy

Tea taste: Citrus and minty with subtle sweetness

Steeping/brewing: Take about 3 gr of dried lemon balm leaves and boil in 200 ml water for up to 5 minutes. Drink after straining it. You can brew it a couple of times.

Shelf life: Up to 2 years (the freshest the better)

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