Lemongrass vs. Lemon Balm: What's the Difference?
By Tea Guru May 25th, 2020
Lemon grass versus Lemon Balm
When looking at many of our Whistling Kettle teas, you'll find that many of the teas list both "Lemon grass" and "lemon balm" as ingredients. While the names and flavors are close, there are key differences.
Lemon grass--or lemon verbena, as it is often called--is from a plant named Aloysia ciriodora or A. Triphylla. The leaves tend to be long and thin, and the margins are pointed. The foliage of the lemon grass plant grows on a stem that is shorter than 3 inches in length. The plant can grow as tall as 10 feet in the right climate, but most lemon grass plants only grow about 3 feet tall. The plant is much harder to grow than lemon balm. Lemon grass has a very intense, strong lemon flavor, meaning the plant will give your teas a much richer lemon taste. You'll find that it's often used to add lemon flavor to desserts and fruit, as it complements the sweet flavors better.
Health Benefits of Lemon Grass
- Good for digestion
- Full of anti-oxidants
- Regulates high blood pressure
- Relieves menstrual pain
- Boosts metabolism
- Helps immune function
Lemon balm comes from the melissa officinalis plant, and looks nothing like lemon grass. The light green leaves are rounded, and the scalloped edges tend to be slightly crinkled. There are many more branches from lemon balm trees, and the foliage is very thick. The plants usually only grow to about 2 or 3 feet in height, and they produce the densest foliage in the earlier spring months. The good thing about lemon balm is that it easy to grow in many climate conditions. Lemon balm has a lighter flavor than lemon grass, but it gives off a very zesty scent that makes it perfect for aromatic teas. It won't alter the flavor of your tea as much, but it will add just the slightest lemony tang that gives you the hint of acid you want. It's also used as a garnish for meat dishes, and flavors meat and poultry nicely.
Lemon Balm Health Benefits
- Helps relieve stress and anxiety
- Increases brain function
- May ease insomnia