Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

Melissa officinalis, also known as lemon balm, balm, or bee balm, has a mild, lemon scent and attracts bees. This perennial in the mint family grows up to 32 inches tall and enjoys partial shade. While it can grow in a sunny environment, the efficacy of the medicinal properties of the plant are stronger when it has been harvested in spring, early summer, or from a partially shaded plant.

This article will explore the medicinal properties of lemon balm, how to plant it, how to dry it, and how to create lemon balm tea, lemon balm tincture, and lemon balm elixir.

Lemon Balm Medicinal Properties:

  • Nervine: Anti-anxiety, relaxing, calming mood elevator
  • Sleep aid: relaxes without leaving a dull, brain-fog feeling
  • Anti-viral: (very good for herpes virus)
    • Treats shingles & cold sores
    • Represses viral loads
  • Stomach calming: treats diarrhea and nausea, improves appetite, relieves bloating
  • Anti-spasmodic: beneficial for menstrual pain
  • Diuretic
  • Heart herb: helps with palpitations, assists with lowering blood pressure
  • Mood lifter
  • Insect repellant: can be crushed and rubbed on skin

Planting Lemon Balm: Lemon balm can be planted from stems.

  • Cut a stem
  • Trim off leaves, keeping only a few attached on the stem.
  • Plant the stem.
  • Lemon balm can also be planted from a clump with roots.

Drying Lemon Balm:

  • Bundle by gathering the cut end of the stems together.
  • Band the ends together.
  • Hang upside down by the banded ends in a dry environment for approximately two weeks or until the leaves crumble to the touch.
  • Un-band the bundle.
  • Stem by stem, strip the dried leaves into a large paper bag.
  • Put dried leaves into a canning jar with a tight seal.
  • Store out of direct light.

Making and Using Lemon Balm Tea:

  • Chop lemon balm so it will better infuse into the hot water.
  • Place chopped lemon balm in a loose-leaf tea pot
  • Pour boiled, hot water into the pot.
  • To make a medicinal or therapeutic herbal infusion let it brew with a lid on in the pot for a full 15–20 minutes.
  • The strength of your tea will vary with your plant to water ratio. More plant=stronger tea.
  • You can place 2 parts of lemon balm tea with 1 part honey in a mason jar in your fridge for quick access. Children like the sweet taste. It helps them sleep at night.

Making Lemon Balm Tincture:

  • Coarsely chop clean, dry lemon balm (stems and all)
  • Place plant matter in a mason jar.
  • Pour 100 proof or 80 proof vodka over lemon balm to the top of jar to avoid oxidation.
    • 100 proof vodka is 50% water and 50% alcohol (good for sanitary elixir).
      • The vodka extracts alcohol-based properties of the plant.
      • The water extracts water-based properties of the plant.
    • Place the lid on the jar.
    • Label jar with contents and date.
    • Store in a cool, dark place for 6–8 weeks.
    • Place cheesecloth over a bowl.
    • Dump jar contents into the bowl, letting liquid strain through the cloth.
    • Gather the plant matter in the cheesecloth and wring out the moisture into the bowl.
    • An average dose of lemon balm tincture is 5–10 drops as needed.
    • The tincture liquid can now be stored in labeled, amber tincture dropper bottles in a cool, dark place.

Making Lemon Balm Honey Elixir:

  • Coarsely chop fresh lemon balm.
  • Place plant matter in a mason jar.
  • Pour 100 proof vodka over lemon balm in mason jar until the jar is half full of the vodka. (plant matter will probably be higher than the vodka in the jar.)
  • Fill the rest of the jar with raw honey (to just under ½” under the top rim). The alcohol content is going to stop the honey from fermenting. The raw honey is helps with extracting water-based properties of the plant matter.
  • Stir mixture.
  • Place the lid on the jar.
  • Let it sit in a cool, dark place for 6–8 weeks.

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Source 1 (tincture): “How to make Lemon Balm tincture,” She of the Woods, Apr 16, 2018, Youtube.Com

Source 2 (drying): “Lemon Balm: Harvest and Use – Millcreek Herbs,” Merry Harrison, Dec 9, 2015, Youtube.Com

Source 3 (harvesting/benefits): “Lemon Balm Benefits,” Resilience Daily, May 31, 2020, Youtube.com

Source 4 (elixir): “How to make a Lemon Balm elixir!,” She Is Of The Woods, May 14, 2018, Youtube.com

Source 5 (harvesting tincture): “Herbal Tinctures,” P. Allen Smith, Sep 15, 2018, Youtube.com

Source 6 (benefits of, tea preparation): “The Power of Lemon Balm,” Danu’s Irish Herb Garden, Apr 11, 2021, Youtube.com

Source 7 (image): Lemon_balm_1.jpg

Source 8 (image): Melissa_officinalis_(lemon_balm).jpg

Source 9 (image): Lemon balm found in Glasgow.jpg

Source 10 (sweet lemon balm tea for the fridge): “Making Lemon Balm Syrup and Sowing Willy Nilly | VLOG | Roots and Refuge Farm,” Roots and Refuge Farm, Jun 6, 2019, Youtube.com

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Compiled and published to web Saturday, June 11, 2022 by Sheryl C.S. Johnson

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