A New Favorite Herb: Lemon Balm

A New Favorite Herb: Lemon Balm

If you haven’t yet discovered lemon balm, let me introduce you to your new favorite herb. There are so many wonderful uses for lemon balm! Lemon balm is a powerful herb that can combat viruses in the body and powerfully reduce anxiety. Use lemon balm in the garden, for cleaning, and as a tasty addition to numerous recipes.

Lemon Balm Benefits

Heart palpitations, nervous tension, insomnia, and hyperactivity are all classic indications for lemon balm and these combined describe what some people experience when their thyroid becomes overactive, such as in Grave’s disease. In fact, lemon balm, bugleweed (Lycopus spp.) and motherwort (Leonorus cardiacus) is a classic western formula for a hyperactive thyroid. 

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and, like other mints, it has complicated energetics. Thermally it has been classified as both warming and cooling. This is explained partly by understanding different perspectives within the major living herbal traditions today. 

Lemon balm has a sour taste. In Ayurveda sour is classified as hot and wet while in Traditional Chinese Medicine sour is thought to be cooling and moistening. In western herbalism sour is generally thought to be cooling. 

Matthew Wood explains: 

“Lemon balm has a sour taste, as its name indicates – it is one of the few sour mints. Like most sour plants, it is cooling and sedative. It combines this property with the typical nerve-calming powers of the mint family to make a strong, but safe and simple sedative. These powers are much more marked when the plant is tinctured fresh. A tincture of fresh melissa should be on the shelf in every household as a general sedative.”

Lemon Balm been used as a mild emmenagogue to promote late menstruation as well as relieve menstrual cramping

How to Identify The Lemon Balm Plant

As mentioned, lemon balm is in the mint family and has many attributes or identifying features common to this family.
It has square stems and leaves are in an opposite branching pattern.
Lemon balm flowers are white and have the classic “lipped” look of the mint family. It typically flowers from June to September.
This is a perennial plant that is easy to grow. Watch out! It will spread readily in your garden.
If you crush a leaf in your fingers you’ll be introduced to the wonderful lemon scent of lemon balm. In the past it was considered a “strewing herb,” which is an herb hung in the rafters or strewed on the ground to emanate a pleasant scent.

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