Lemon Balm

lemon balm

Need a stress buster? Try a cup of lemon balm and ginger tea to calm the jittery nerves, and ease the muscle tension that can lead to migraine headaches. Lemon balm is a great memory enhancer too. So next time you’re studying for a test, try a little lemon balm tea for a refreshing memory booster. Just don’t drink it before you finish studying for the night because it also helps you sleep. Did I mention, it’s great for insomnia too.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Melissa is Greek for “sweet” and it lives up to it’s name attracting lots of bees to my garden. It is a member of the mint family and has the opposing leaves on the stem to make it easy to identify. That and the lemony scent it gives off when the leaves are crushed. Lemon balm has been cultivated around the Mediterranean region for about 2,000 years and has been touted as the “elixir of life” by Paracelus. Lemon balm was sacred to the temple of Diana and has been referred to as “the heart’s delight” in southern Europe.

Lemon balm has been used to reduce stress and anxiety, encourage sleep, help stimulate appetite and mitigate pain and the discomforts of indigestion, notably gas, bloating and colic. It’s been used as a mood enhancer, heal wounds and treat insect bites. It can be steeped in hot water to make a calming, refreshing tea or rubbed on the skin to deter mosquitos and other pests.

Lemon balm is easy to grow, either in sun or in shade. It tolerates cold winters and can be easily grown in zones 4 through 7. Mulching for winter is preferable in the colder climates. Lemon balm is a self seeder and is considered a perennial. The bees love it and you will too. Try growing some in your garden or pot some up for your windowsill. It’s so easy to grow it’s a great addition to a children’s garden.

What is It Made Of?

Lemon balm supplements are made from the leaves of the plant. Essential oils made from lemon balm leaves contain plant chemicals called terpenes, which play at least some role in the herb’s relaxing and antiviral effects. Lemon balm contains substances called tannins, which may be responsible for many of the herb’s antiviral effects. Lemon balm also contains eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues, and kills bacteria.¹

Health Properties of Lemon Balm

The essential oils from lemon balm have been shown in a study to reduce the quantity of Candida albicans infections.²

The University of Michigan lists the following health properties of lemon balm:³

  1. Cold sores
  2. Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. Colic
  4. Genital herpes4
  5. Hyperthyroidism
  6. Indigestion, heartburn, low stomach acidity
  7. Infection
  8. Insomnia
  9. Nerve pain

 

My Lemon Balm and Ginger Tea

lemon balm and ginger teaMy Lemon Balm and Ginger Tea recipe is easy to make and so healthy. This tea is great to alleviate the symptoms of GI upset or just to calm and soothe your soul. My recipe makes enough for 3 cups or mugs of tea.

Also try lemon balm and spearmint for a refreshing iced tea combination. A great way to beat the heat in summer! Great alternative to soda for everyone.

 

References

¹ Lemon Balm, University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

² Enzymatic profile, adhesive and invasive properties of Candida albicans under the influence of selected plant essential oils. Budzyńska A1, Sadowska B1, Więckowska-Szakiel M1, Różalska B1. Acta Biochim Pol. 2014;61(1):115-21. Epub 2014 Mar 19.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24644554

³ Lemon Balm – University of Michigan http://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-2121004

Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses. Schnitzler P1, Schuhmacher A, Astani A, Reichling J. Phytomedicine. 2008 Sep;15(9):734-40. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2008.04.018. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693101/