Meet Your New BFF Melissa
Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb from the mint family. And like mint…watch out if you’re growing it in your home garden. It can run amuck. I grow mine in an area surrounded by concrete curbing, otherwise it will spread and try to take over the earth.
It has a mild lemon like scent and flavor with the broad mint looking leaves. And like mint, it makes a delicious and refreshing tea.
So Melissa officinalis, or Melissa, as we like to call her, is your new BFF for anxiety.
Lemon balm, the wonder herb
Used for anxiety, insomnia and gastrointestinal trouble, Lemon Balm is well tolerated, well liked, and safe for general use.
12 Amazing Health Benefits of Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has a very long history of amazing uses, including the ability to treat the following ailments:
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Mild depression
- Cold sores, bug bites and minor cuts
- Alzheimer's symptoms
- Heart palpitations
- Menstrual cramps
- Radiation exposure protection
- Discomfort from indigestion (including gas, bloating, and spasms)
And it's even safe for use during pregnancy (in moderation, of course)!
Backyard Herbal Remedies
I grow lemon balm in backyard where it flourishes in the late spring through late summer. I can pick handful upon handful without making a dent in my supply, but when it comes to winter, I’ll reach for a store bought version. (Yes, I could preserve my own, but right now, that’s not on this summer’s agenda).
3 Delicious Ways to Use Lemon Balm
We found that we could easily use lemon balm with its super healing, anti-viral and anti-stress properties.
Here are a couple of our favorite uses:
1. Lemon Balm Tea Infusion
Drinking organic tea with lemon balm regularly (like this one) can help relieve stress, menstrual cramping, mild depression, insomnia, and headaches. But beware! Lemon balm has strong sedative properties, so too much lemon balm at once can make you sleepy. Good before bed, not so much when operating heavy machinery 🙂
2. Lemon Balm Extract
A lemon balm extract (or tincture, depending on how it's made) can be used as a dietary supplement to help with heart palpitations, radiation exposure, problems with digestion, and to lighten depression. The extract can also be added to balms or salves and topically applied to cold sores or as a first-aid remedy on bug bites and minor cuts. Fresh herbs are best when making your own extract, although dried (not powdered) lemon balm would work fine too. If you follow all preparation steps carefully, the extract should last 3-5 years!
3. Lemon Balm Simple Syrup
You're going to LOVE this one! I use it to sweeten my lemonade and iced tea, but you can also use it in club soda or a springtime cocktail.
1 cup filtered water (why filtered?)
1 cup organic cane sugar
Mix all ingredients together and bring to a boil for about a 1 minute (or until sugar is dissolved). Remove from heat, cover and let stand for about 30 minutes. Strain the leaves from the syrup, pour into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
Buying a Lemon Balm Remedy Off the Shelf
As with many herbal remedies, you can buy it in the following forms:
- Liquid (tincture)
- Powdered or capsule
- Dried or in tea
Bev, of BevCooks.com, cracks us up with her hilarious commentary and swoon-worthy photos of her lemon balm culinary experiments.
If you have the time and inclination, we love getting fresh lemon balm from the garden and brewing our own elixirs.
How to Grow Your Own Lemon Balm
Ready to try growing your own? It's so easy and perfect for beginners! In fact, it'll take over your garden if you're not careful. But the good news is that lemon balm also attracts bees, so it can help pollinate your other plants. You can find great tips on how to grow lemon balm at herbgardening.com.
P.S. Check out this info on a helpful supplement to help treat ADHD in kids.