Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is an unassuming and vigorous member of the mint family. It is easy to grow. So easy, in fact, that like many mints, once you have it in your garden you’ll have it everywhere! I love this about it, and appreciate it wandering around our property. This year we even had one sturdy little plant grow up between the bricks of our front stoop. I was so proud of it I let it grow there! Herbalists can be a little nutty about plants!
Lemon Balm has a delicate lemony taste as a tea, and is used for upset stomachs, restless nights, and coughs and colds. It is especially useful as a preventative for colds and flus, as it has a strong anti-viral action, and is safe to take for long periods.
It’s also safe for kids, and tastes so good most kids will actually take it! As a children’s remedy Lemon Balm can help calm and focus, and makes a great evening tea for kids to help them settle down, finish their homework, and get ready for bed. Adults can appreciate this soothing tea as well, and it’s a great help with jitters and stage fright.
As the cold and flu season approaches, Lemon Balm is the perfect preventative for the whole family. It’a great addition to immune tonics, or it can be taken on its own. I’m fond of the following tea blend for this time of year:
1 TBSP Elder Berries
1 TBSP Astragalus Root
1 TBSP Rose Hips
2 TBSP Lemon Balm
Add Elder Berries, Astragalus Root, Rose Hips, and a little bit of fresh or dried Ginger Root to 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, add Lemon Balm leaves, recover, and let stand another 10 minutes. Strain, add raw honey. Drink 2-4 cups every day during the cold months.
Of course Lemon Balm can be taken as a tea on its own, or in capsules or tincture. If you’re looking for a good stomach soothing tea, I love the following:
1 part Lemon Balm leaves
1 part Chamomile flowers
1 part Lavender flowers
Steep 1 tsp of the blended herbs in 8oz of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, strain and drink. This helps with mild indigestion and nervousness. I like to take it with me when I travel.
Lemon Balm can also be taken in stronger doses, usually capsules or tincture, to suppress chronic viral infections like cold sores and warts. There are ointments available to apply topically to sores, and the Lemon Balm extract can be taken internally to prevent outbreaks. Since outbreaks are more likely to happen when we are stressed or over-tired, taking Lemon Balm when you know you’re more vulnerable to outbreaks is a wise thing to do. Plus, Lemon Balm is soothing and relaxing as well, so you’re taking care of two issues at once with this lovely little mint.
I hope you try some sweet lemony Melissa, and that you enjoy it as much as I do!
Box of Tea Bags