I love the fresh mounds of Lemon Balm, ‘Melissa officinalis‘ in the spring. Perfect clumps of beautiful new growth full of flavor and scent. I value my Lemon Balm and use it regularly throughout the summer. A member of the mint family, it belongs in the tonifying, sedative category of herbs. It is a valued medicinal, culinary and cosmetic herb. It has sedative properties, aids our digestive system and is used to relieve gas. Leaves and stems have antibacterial and antiviral qualities. I have read so many attributes to this plant that it is hard to believe so few people use it!
The plant has lovely serrated heart shaped leaves and is a perennial that is extremely easy to grow in full sun or part shade, it will reseed and spread in the garden if not deadheaded after it blooms, a small maintenance price to pay for such great qualities. Try it as tea in the morning with a bit of honey or as an herbal vinegar to add to beans and vegetables. I put a sprig in my water throughout the day because I love the scent and lemony taste that it infuses into the water. Here is how to make herbal vinegars: Harvest enough leaves and stems to fill a glass jar. Fill with apple cider vinegar to the top and store in a cool dark place for 6 weeks. It keeps indefinitely and is excellent with legumes, and a tablespoon in the morning as a tonic mixed with a glass of water is said to cleanse the liver and stimulate your bowels (always a good thing!) Often, I also make a tasty tea and drink it iced on very warm days; it is very refreshing and calming. As far as I know there are no adverse side effects to the use of this herb as long as it is used as a simple ingredient and not mixed with other herbs. So get out there and look around your garden and pick some lemon balm!
“All that man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it.” Philippus Theophrastrus Bombast that of Aureolus ~ Paracelsus (1493-1541)
- Simply Sleepy: Snooze with Natural Remedies (plushbeds.com)
- Lemon Balm helps reduce anxiety (killyourpanic.wordpress.com)
- Lemon Balm and Mint Tea (thepotluckclub.wordpress.com)