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Heals minor wounds, eases indigestion, relieves menstrual cramps, treats cold sores, relaxes nerves, aids sleep, repels insects

Stomach comforter, blues banisher, herpes fighter, even bug repellent: The reputed uses of balm are so varied that it's no wonder this lemon-scented herb has been nicknamed "cure-all."

Although its therapeutic usefulness is little-known in this country, balm (sometimes referred to as lemon balm but officially called Melissa officinalis) is widely used and highly valued by legitimate herbal practitioners in Western Europe.

The leaves of this pungent member of the mint family have been used medicinally for some 2,000 years. The 11th-century Arab physician Avicenna believed it "causeth the mind and