Lemon Balm–Melissa

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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.

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