Lemon Balm–Melissa

ava

Hi, everyone! Today we’re going to take a look at lemon balm, also known as melissa officinalis. This grows plentiful in our garden and is one of my favorite things to make a hydrosol from. This herb has several actions one can find helpful to lead a more balanced life.

Sedative

I have never used lemon balm for this purpose, but it can help with light insomnia. Lemon balm brings about a feeling of calmness, but it is also a mild sedative. Something stronger may–or may not–be needed for chronic insomnia. There are varying degrees of insomnia and everyone is different, but if you haven’t tried lemon balm and you’re awake but want to be sleeping, give it a try.

Stress

This is a great herb for tension/anxiety headaches. It probably won’t help for a migraine, but if your headache is more psychological, this is one of your go to herbs. Making a strong tea will help. I actually use my hydrosol for tension headaches, but that’s not always an option and a tea will work just as well.

Depression

Depression is serious and affects the lives of those suffering from it and their loved ones. There are many lifestyle changes and routines to help battle this, but sometimes a little extra help is needed. There are many who, for very good reasons, want to avoid medication. Having a cup of lemon balm tea can be a useful ally in the war with depression. Even the ritual of just making the tea can have its own calming effect.

Diaphoretic

Lemon balm isn’t the only herb that possesses this lovely talent. Anything that is a diaphoretic makes you sweat. Nice, right? In the right circumstances, sweating is the goal. The main reason people want to induce sweating is if they’re trying to break a fever. There is nothing pretty about sweating and fevers, but it’s just one brick on the path of recovering from nasty colds and the flu.

Antiviral

How cool is it that lemon balm is antiviral? It’s very cool, but there are different viruses out there so it’s not effective for EVERY virus. Sorry. Less cool now, but knowledge is power, so knowing what virus lemon balm is best at defeating is important. Herpesviridae is the virus family most effected by lemon balm. Not a very pleasant family, this is where your cold sores come from. Using lemon balm on the effected area topically is best. Other common conditions caused by this virus family are:

  • chicken pox
  • shingles
  • mono
  • sixth disease (roseola infantum)

You can try it with colds and the flu, like previously stated. Honestly though, when using it for other virus families, the strongest way it is going to help is with breaking the fever, which is still important. But actually attacking the virus? Not this herb’s speciality.

Carminative

This is just a fancy word that means this herb can help if you’re a little gassy. It happens and no one appreciates the discomforts paired with flatulence.

Herbs for ADHD Intensive enrolling thru October, 21st

Culinary

You don’t see it called for in a lot of recipes, but lemon balm is a fantastic culinary herb. You can infuse an olive oil and make amazing salad dressings (I do this with garlic, too). Recipe calling for zest of lemon? Don’t have a lemon or just don’t feel like doing it? Don’t. Chop some fresh lemon balm (or use dried) and adjust to your personal tastes.

Growing

Lemon balm is part of the mint family so it’s easy to grow. It’s also invasive. We have a lot of herbs and produce that grow randomly from their designated locations.I have tomatillos that still randomly pop up in the three acres we have. I have not grown tomatillos in THREE YEARS. I blame the birds. It doesn’t really bother us, but if you’re on a smaller lot and have a tidy personality, keeping it in a large pot can help with that invasiveness.

Bees

Bees love it. This is a great herb to keep around other plants that may rely pretty heavily on pollination to be successful in all endeavors of plant life.

Pure Melissa (lemon Balm) essential oil is expensive, but a great way to incorporate it into your life. If you want pure Melissa essential oil I suggest using Rocky Mountain Oils brand. If you can’t afford it but want a blend, try this.

Want to see what herbs we have in our garden? Take a look here.

Follow our blog to stay updated. We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Come check us out.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you, if you click the links and make a purchase.

Advertisements

Lemon Sherry Chicken and Potatoes

Hi, everyone!

So, we processed some chickens on our farm recently and I kept some from market for our family. As always, we used whatever we already had on the farm. Anything else was purchased from local markets.

The first step many people skip is the brining. We always brine the chickens we sell at market. The chicken is juicier and tastes amazing. When we keep some for the house I actually request mine not to be brined because I like to use different brines for different recipes. Brining on top of an already brined bird isn’t going to hurt it. We just have the option of just pulling what we want from the rest of the processing.

SONY DSC
Photographed by Amanda Harman

The brine I like to use for this chicken is simple. I mix enough water to cover two inches above the bird with 1/2 cup of salt and garlic powder in a large pot. I cover the pot and put it in the fridge the night before cooking (I did add more water in my above photograph).

The next day, when I’m ready to start cooking I preheat the oven to 425F. I put the chicken in my deep casserole/roasting stoneware. I cut a lemon in half and prick it and add it to the chicken’s cavity. I also add 8 garlic cloves (some always fall out).

SONY DSC
Photographed by Amanda Harman

Next, I mix homemade butter we purchase locally from another farm (raw Jersey cow milk with a small amount of raw, local honey) with salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.

Then I slather the chicken with this butter. After slathering, I add 2 cups of chicken broth to the dish and put in the oven covered for 45 minutes.

SONY DSC
Photographed by Amanda Harman

While the chicken is roasting, I harvest fresh cuban oregano and tarragon. I harvest a good handful of the oregano and about ten tarragon leaves. I chop the fresh herbs.

 

The next ingredient is a bit trickier to obtain. I use two cups of cream. I’ll be honest. I didn’t have two cups this time around. I had about a cup. I made it work because I didn’t want to go to the store.  See the picture of the mason jar above? The cream has separated from the raw goat milk. I just scoop this off a few jars and I have cream for the meal.

SONY DSC
Photographed by Amanda Harman

I mix the cream with the herbs, five quartered red potatoes, and 1/2 cup of sherry.

When the 45 minutes are up, I remove the chicken from the oven and add the potatoes and cream mixture. I then roast for another 45 minutes uncovered.

 

This is the result. This chicken was almost 5 pounds. No matter what, check the temperature of your chicken. You want it to be 165F.

What are some of your favorite chicken recipes?

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • oregano
  • tarragon
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 5 red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup sherry

Instructions

  1. Brine the night before (1/2 cup salt and garlic powder).
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425F.
  3. Add the chicken to a baking dish. Cut the lemon in half and prick it. Put the lemon and garlic cloves in the cavity.
  4. Mix butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cover the chicken in buttered mixture.
  5. Pour chicken broth in dish with chicken.
  6. Roast covered for 45 minutes.
  7. Chop fresh oregano and tarragon to add to cream, sherry, and potatoes.
  8. When 45 minutes are up, take chicken out and add potato and cream mixture to the dish.
  9. Roast for an additional 45 minutes uncovered.
  10. Monitor chicken temperature. Must read 165F for safe consumption.