Lemon Balm ( Melissa officinale), a beautiful, sweet smelling, happy herb! Some of you love it and some of you curse it because of its rapid spread all over the garden, going places you don’t want it to go. 🙂 How do you fix that?
Grow it in a raised bed garden with sides. It will stay contained and you will have more than enough for yourself and friends. Here is where mine started: The box in the back of the pic………………..this one – you can see the small plant.
You don’t have to pamper it – my kinda plant! Just keep harvesting it as it grows to encourage a thicker, bushier plant instead a leggy, scrawny plant. It grew to this:
Nice huh? So throughout the season I have been cutting it, making tea, making a glycerite(recipe below), giving it to students at my Backyard Medicinal Classes. I cut it before it flowers but at one point it got away from me and flowered. I thought, “Oh now I have done it, it will be finished for the season!!!”. This was in August. I had nothing to lose so I trimmed it all down below the flowers, short too and guess what, it grew back to a bushy, beautiful crop!
The other day I went outside and cut all of it, well most of it, left some for the bees, butterflies and birds.
I have some drying :
If you don’t have lemon balm here is a good place to get some organic dried lemon balm. HERE
Lemon Balm Uses and What Is It Good For:
#1 Makes a wonderful tea just for drinking
#2 Helps alleviate stomach aches due to anxiety
#3 Brings up your spirits, makes you feel happier and uplifted.
#4 NOT for folks that are Hypothyroid, sorry. 😦
#6 Actions? Antiviral, antispasmodic, carminative, sedative, antibacterial.
#7 The herb is used for nervous agitation, sleeping problems, functional gastrointestinal complaints, menstrual cramps and urinary spasms. **From Herb Wisdom**
#8 It is thought that the volatile oils in lemon balm contain chemicals that relax muscles, particularly in the bladder, stomach, and uterus, thereby relieving cramps, gas, and nausea. **From Herb Wisdom**
Next step once it is dried. Take it off the stems. Add it to your food processor and pulse until crumbled but not powdered. This will keep in a jar for up to 1 year. If you let it last that long! 🙂
Rash Treatment Salve:
1 tbsp. (1 oz.) Beeswax
8 tbsp. (4-5 oz.) Lemon Balm infused carrier oil such as olive, jojoba, almond, avocado, coconut, shea butter
2 tsp. vitamin E oil
3 drops tea tree oil
4-5 drops lavender essential oil
Melt carrier oil, beeswax, and vitamin E oil over low heat. Remove from heat and add tea tree and lavender essential oils. Pour into prepared jar for storage. This recipe makes enough to fill two 2 oz. glass jars.
Lemon Balm glycerite(vegetable glycerine) –
an extract for children or anyone that does not want an alcohol extract. Ratio is 1:2 fresh herb weight to vegetable glycerine volume. BUT I personally find more menstruum(glycerine) is needed, closer to 1:3 but not quite. You have to eye ball it and add a bit more to cover the lemon balm. Here are the steps:
By The way if you want the above worksheet, just visit my friend Lorna at www.herbalista.org and print one out!
With glycerin, you must watch it and keep squishing down the herb. It is so thick in there, you don’t want to ruin it!
Tinctures – alcohol – , can be taken internally or used topically. Tincture Fresh at a 1:2 ratio. 3 oz. herb, weight to 6 oz. alcohol, 100% grain alcohol. Tincture dried, 1:5 ratio with a 70% alcohol to 30% water.
3 parts lemon balm leaf
1 part angelica root
½ part coriander seed
½ part lemon peel
¼ part nutmeg
80 proof brandy
Tincture as per instructions in handout. Whoops handout not here so pour the brandy over the herbs in a glass jar and cover by 1 “. Shake well each day for 14-21 days and then strain.
Before bottling, add ¼ cup honey per quart of tincture. Drink before dinner as an herbal apertif or digestive aid.
Remember if you don’t have lemon balm growing or a friend to give you some, order it from my friends at Mountain Rose Herbs where you will get high quality dried herbs for excellent prices!
Hope you enjoyed this uplifting post on our lemony sweet friend!