Leaves – raw or cooked. A pleasant lemon-like aroma and flavour, they are used mainly as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. A lemon-flavoured tea can be made from the fresh or dried leaves. A bunch of the leaves can be added to china tea, much improving the flavour, the leaves are also added to fruit cups etc. They are used as a flavouring in various alcoholic beverages including Chartreuse and Benedictine. Lemon balm is a commonly grown household remedy with a long tradition as a tonic remedy that raises the spirits and lifts the heart. Modern research has shown that it can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores. The leaves and young flowering shoots are antibacterial, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, and tonic. It also acts to inhibit thyroid activity. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers and colds, indigestion associated with nervous tension, excitability and digestive upsets in children, hyperthyroidism, depression, mild insomnia, headaches etc. Externally, it is used to treat herpes, sores, gout, insect bites and as an insect repellent. The plant can be used fresh or dried, for drying it is harvested just before or just after flowering. The essential oil contains citral and citronella, which act to calm the central nervous system and are strongly antispasmodic. The plant also contains polyphenols, in particular these combat the herpes simplex virus which produces cold sores. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is ‘Female aspects’. It is used to relax and rejuvenate, especially in cases of depression and nervous tension.