In southern Idaho the lemon balm is full and ready for harvest. If you’ve ever planted lemon balm you know how one tiny plant can quickly take over a large portion of your garden! Hint: Lemon Balm is a perennial. Plant lemon balm in a pot as it will spread (and take over your garden). The herb thrives in full sun, but can be grown in partial shade. Lemon Balm can be grown in most areas of the United States, US hardiness zones 4-9.
This herb that not only attracts bees to the garden, but is also a great anti-viral with relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children.
Traditionally, it’s been used to gently treat colic and upset stomach in everyone from infants to elders. A leaf can be chewed to freshen the breath or crushed and placed on a bug bite to help ease the itch.
Note: While it’s generally considered safe for most people, large amounts of lemon balm may inhibit thyroid function. If you have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), are on thyroid medication, or are pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions or concerns, talk with a qualified health professional before use.
1. Lemon Balm Tea
This is a delicious way to calm and relax everyone from children to adults!
- Place about 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves into a small pot and add enough water to just cover the leaves.
- Simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half.
- Strain out & compost the leaves.
- While still quite warm, measure out about 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea and stir 1/4 cup raw honey into it.
- Add more honey to taste, if you wish.
- Store in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
- Dose by the spoonful at night to help calm and relax. (Honey should not be used with children under 1 year old.)
Note: You can make larger or smaller batches – keeping a ratio of about 2 parts lemon balm infusion to 1 part honey.
2. Make a lemon balm bug spray:
I’ve tried a lot of homemade bug spray recipes and this is my favorite one.
The best part is that it’s yet another way to help use up some of my abundance of lemon balm and other herbs!
You can find the full recipe and how to make it in this blog post, Lemon Balm Bug Spray.
3. Chop fresh leaves and sprinkle on salads or in baked goods:
Drizzle the salads with honey or a dressing made of yogurt and honey.
Try adding finely chopped leaves (1 to 2 TBSP) and lemon zest (a pinch) to your favorite scone or muffin recipe.
Fresh leaves can also be frozen in ice cubes to dress up a summer beverage.
4. Make a lip balm for cold sores:
This lip balm recipe was designed especially for my son who developed cold sores triggered by sunshine when he was young.
It cleared his cold sores up within a few months and they stayed away!
You can find the full recipe and how to make it in this blog post, Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm.
5. Make a glycerite:
Glycerites are a sweet way to dose herbal medicine without the alcohol that regular tinctures contain. Herbal infused glycerin can also be used as an ingredient in lotions, toners and aftershave recipes.
To make a lemon balm glycerite:
- Fill a jar with lemon balm leaves.
- Cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine to 1 part water.
- Cap and let this sit in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed to relax and calm.
- Store in your refrigerator for several months.
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs.)
Lemon Balm is also a star ingredient in this trusted Favorite Cold & Flu Tincture.
Find a Dozen Great Uses at thenerdyfarmwife.com