Lemon balm has an old reputation for giving the gift of long life to those who use it. Paracelsus believed lemon balm had so many benefits it was the one and only herb a person would ever need.
Lemon balm's history of use as an effective natural tranquilizer and antidepressant can be traced back to the ancients, who said it would lift the spirits. I put lemon balm in the bath, alone or mixed with other relaxing herbs, such as roses, lavender, and milky oats. I find that drinking a cup of dried lemon balm infusion as a simple, or combined with milky oat flowers, half an hour before retiring, helps insure a deep, restful sleep.
Lemon balm's soothing and calming qualities extend to the digestive system, where it relaxes smooth muscle tissue, quieting stomach spasms and easing intestinal cramping. Lemon balm also relaxes the uterus and is especially useful to allay menstrual cramps.
Among lemon balm's constituents are eugenol, an anesthetic and pain-relieving substance, and polyphenols that help fight several types of bacterial infections including streptococcus and mycobacterium. To deal with strep throat, I use a syrup made from lemon balm and honey, or lemon-balm-infused honey, taking a tablespoon of either every two hours for as long as necessary.
Its proven antiviral properties make lemon balm especially useful against herpes. A German study comparing a cream containing lemon balm extract with a placebo found those who used the lemon balm cream had a significantly improved healing time. By day five, 50 percent more were symptom free than in the placebo group. To be effective, treatment must begin early. The second the twinge occurs that indicates a cold sore or herpes blister is about to break out is when to begin applying lemon balm oil or salve.
Lemon balm lowers an overheated body temperature, so it helps bring down fever or cool you off on a hot summer day. We gather lemon balm leaves, and sometimes a few rose petals, put them in a jar of freshly drawn spring water, and sit it in the sum for as long as we can wait. This makes a very delicious and refreshing beverage.
In old European herbals lemon balm is a safeguard against senility and a cure for impotence. Magical lore tells us to place a bit into a magical pouch, or burn it as incense, to attract love. Feminine lemon balm is associated with the element water.
Lemon balm flower essence develops self-love and strengthens the inner belief that you are worthy and deserving of love.
Lemon balm is an easy plant to grow in ordinary garden soil, happy in full sun or partial shade. It is a fairly hardy plant, even in our part of the country. We start lemon balm seeds indoors during early spring and transplant clumps into the garden six weeks later. We only have to weed the first year as by the second year they've grown into dense, intensely fragrant hedges, two to three feet tall. Lemon balm is a brilliant bright green color. In mid-summer it decorates itself with little white blossoms. The entire plant has a most pleasant lemon-like aroma. Just smelling lemon balm as I walk by relaxes me. I always feel sorry when I harvest, reducing the lush bushy rows to a bunch of stubs. And I'm happily amazed by how quickly they look green again.
I gather lemon balm leaves just as the flowers are beginning to bloom. I dry them on screens, or hang in bunches, to make into infusions. Lemon balm must be dried quickly to prevent it from turning brown and losing its medicinal qualities. Make sure you have dry, preferably breezy, days for drying. I infuse fresh lemon balm in oil or honey and sometimes vinegar. The flavor of lemon balm infused honey is incredible.
Lemon balm is available to you here in two of our herb tea blends, Comfort & Joy and Lavender Love and is in our Spirit Lift Formula.