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Posted by on Aug 26, 2011 in Herbs, Lemon Balm | 47 comments

Everything You Need to Know about Lemon Balm

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Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon Balm is a fantastic herb to plant in your garden this year. I’m going to try my hardest to persuade you  to use Lemon Balm in your household and I also want to persuade you to grow your own Lemon Balm too.

 

Medicinal Uses of Lemon Balm

**Lemon Balm is a fantastic medicinal tool for your home. Here is a list of medicinal uses of Lemon Balm:

  1. It is an excellent remedy for insomnia. 
  • Lemon balm helps promote a calming and relaxing feeling and is a mild sedative.
  • Click here for an excellent recipe for a sleeping balm recipe from Shalom Mama.

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       2. Lemon Balm is very good for tension, stress, restlessness, anxiety, headaches, and depression.

       3. Lemon Balm is a excellent for colds and flus.

 

There are many other Medicinal benefits of Lemon Balm. This includes: it can freshen your breath, it can ease the itch of bug bites, and it can help aid your digestive tract.

One of the best things about Lemon Balm is that it is gentle enough to use on children. Remember when I said it helps with stomach aches? If your baby has colic, Lemon Balm will help! It will calm their stomachs and help them fall asleep. Score! It is useful for strengthening your little one’s immune system as well. There are many more ways that Lemon Balm can be used medicinally, but these are the most important and the most useful.

 

Culinary Uses of Lemon Balm

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**This plant is called Lemon Balm for a reason! I love going into my garden and picking leaves, just to rub them between my fingers and smell that fragrant, lemony smell. It is delightful!

**Here are some amazing and creative recipes to use Lemon Balm for culinary uses:

How to Grow Lemon Balm

**Lemon Balm is a hardy perennial plant and is very easy to grow

**It is best in zones 4-9, but it can grow in other zones as well with the proper care.

**This is a favorite plant of bees, so if you are trying to help the bees, or you are trying to encourage bees to your garden, plant some Lemon Balm!

**It is from the mint family, so it is a spreading/invasive type of plant. If you don’t want it to take over your garden, you might want to grow it in containers. However, if you simply make sure to plant it in a strategic location where it will not bother other plants, you can enjoy some amazing harvests.

**It is best to use Lemon Balm fresh. When dried, the leaves lose their flavor and medicinal potency after about 6 months. 

Position:

**Lemon Balm will grow happily anywhere from partial shade to full sun. If you live in a higher zone, you might want to give them more shade than if you live in a colder climate.

**This plant loves moist, well-drained soil, but again, it is a happy and easy to grow plant that will grow in pretty much any type of soil.

Propagation:

**It is easy to grow Lemon Balm from seed, but it has to have cold stratification done to the seeds for at least 1 week. Start your Lemon Balm indoors and transplant them outside in late spring.

**Learn more about what to start growing in Spring in this post.

**You can also propagate Lemon Balm from tip cuttings. Make sure you use a liquid or powder rooting hormone for best results.

**After the first year, Lemon Balm will reseed itself, so you can just let it fill your garden space with new plants every year.

Maintenance:

**If you do not want additional plants growing all over the place, you need to cut back the whole plant soon after it flowers.

**When you cut back the plant, it also helps the plant’s health and helps maintain Lemon Balm’s color.

**The only real maintenance you need to do is to remember that this is an ambitious reseeding plant and spreading type of plant, so you need to control Lemon Balm, and not just let Lemon Balm control you (and your garden). Simply cut and shape it throughout the summer and it will be a great and happy harvest.

Harvesting:

**Whenever you require fresh leaves, harvest them! It’s super simple. The flavor of the leaves is the absolute best when the flowers are just beginning to open.

**I often dry Lemon Balm leaves for the winter, since the plant will die down. To dry the leaves, cut the plant down to about 3 inches high in late afternoon (not in the dewy, wet mornings and evenings). Secure the stems in small bunches with rubber bands and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. After a few weeks of drying (test by crumbling a leaf in your hand. If it does not crumble, it is not completely dry), strip off the leaves and store them in an airtight container in a cool place. 

 

So, how did I do? Did I persuade you to grow Lemon Balm and use in for medicinal and culinary uses in your home?

Tell me in the comment section if you grow and love Lemon Balm! ๐Ÿ™‚

Everything You Need to Know About Lemon Balm

 

 

DISCLOSURE: > In order for me to support my blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and trust. 
By Cris Daining

47 Comments

  1. Thanks! I started some from seed, and I’m glad to know its hardy! Glad for the tip about planting in partial shade, as we are in louisana!

    • Awesome! I hope you have a great harvest! It is one of my favorite plants, and I am sure you will enjoy it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Where can I buy a plant?

        • I’ve always been able to find Lemon Balm for sale in the spring at farmer’s markets, gardening stores, and even hardware stores. If you’re having trouble after trying those places, email your local master gardener’s club. I hope that helps! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • I have a huge plant already,but did not know there were so many great uses for this plant,thanks so much.

      • Have fun trying new ways to use your lemon balm! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. I grow lemon balm but didn’t know how to use it. thank you for the information. will try some very soon. Could you freeze the leaf for later.

    • Thanks for visiting! I find drying it is best. Freezing it makes it a bit soggy. It’s like mint, so the leaves are somewhat big. You could try it though, and let me know how it goes for you!

      • You’ve convinced me of all the great uses for Lemon Balm and I am a big gardener. Thanks for all the good information.

        • That is wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so glad I convinced you! It is seriously a wonderful and delicious plant! I hope you love it! Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      • I am so pleased to see someone else loves lemon balm as much as me – I grow it on my allotment and I do freeze it. I make tea with it so I freeze the leaves in small bags and just pop some in a cup – easy to crumble the frozen leaves and ensures a supply all year round. Thank you for the other ideas as well – brilliant.

        • Thanks for visiting and commenting! I might have to try freezing it this year. I’ve dried it in the past, but it just doesn’t keep that same lemony taste.

  3. I was SO thrilled to read your post about Lemon Balm! I grew it this year in a large container with basil and oregano, which I plan on separating soon. The LB is beautiful and smells so good. I keep herb containers on my porch, and when I go out there to sit, the gentlest breeze brings that beautiful fragrance into my nostrils–it is like heaven. I had NO idea how to use LB until I read your post, nor was I certain it was a perennial. Thanks so much. I will either transplant it in the fall, it grow it indoors!

    • Thank you! I am so glad you found my post useful! And you are right, the fragrance of Lemon balm on the wind is heaven!

  4. Great post! I have made tea from it for yonks both iced and hot but had no idea about assisting sleep, nor relieving tension etc. Thanks. Do one on lemon verbena or come to that any herb please.
    Regards
    Goatsrant

    • Thanks! Lemon balm is probably my favorite tea. I have already written about lemon verbena here (https://www.thehomesteadgarden.com/lemon-verbena/) and I write on all sorts of herbs! Check out the top of my website and click on ‘herbs’, and prepare to be blown away with herbal information! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  5. Thank you!! I plan to make the honey lemon balm butter. I just made some parsley, nasturtium butter last night! I only wish there were measurements given…1/4 cup of lemon balm maybe…..? 2-3 tsps. honey…? Thank you for the inspiration and effort!!

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting! I would just eye-ball it and taste test. I hardly ever use measurements for things unless I am baking. Try “a large handful” of lemon balm, and start with “a few teaspoons” of honey, taste and see! Sorry I can’t be more exact. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Lemon balm has been a hand-me-down plant in our family for at least three generations. I add it to my chamomile tea as another ingredient for relaxation. I have used it in a few recipes but now I have a few more! Thank you for all the details.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love that you have used it for three generations! That is super cool.

  7. Hi! Just found your page here by accident and one I’m glad to say was a happy accident! I love to be outside in the spring and summer and love to plant anything fragrant! (well, except Paperwhites..I’m finding I don’t care for those so much lol) and I’m also wanting to go less junk food and less of the bad things we pump into our bodies and more natural healthy ways to achieve a better me. I LOVE Lemon so this was right up my alley. I cant wait to try the tea! I’m glad to see you mentioned things a new grower would not usually know too.. I WILL be growing this in a large container at the end of my drive!

    • Awesome! I hope it grows well for you. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  8. My dog, who had tummy issues, discovered it during a time when there was no grass and began to prefer it even when there was grass. It did not make her vomit like grass did. She passed this knowledge on and now all my dogs eat the lemon balm leaves instead of the grass.

  9. My daughter brought a lemon balm plan home from a second grade field trip. We lost her to leukemia 5 years ago.
    every time I smell this lovely plant I smile. Warning I smile a lot it is very invasive.
    valerie always was a little stinker.

    • What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with me. <3

  10. I have grown Lemon Balm for years. It comes back on its own. It smells wonderful and helps to deter mosquitoes by my back door. I also use Lemon Balm for teas. Wonderful

  11. This article has alerted me to the health benefits of Lemon Balm. Many thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  12. I have something eating my lemon balm. Do you know what it is and how to get rid of it? I love my plant and want to keep it around. I don’t use pesticides in my garden.

    • It’s tricky to say, since you haven’t given me a lot of info to go on. Check the leaves for caterpillars, otherwise it could be rabbits? Good luck!

  13. I’m growing lemon balm for the first time this year, in a pot. However, mine hasn’t flowered?? It’s been growing since the first week of June and has quadrupled in size….I certainly don’t want to waste the plant and would like to use the leaves. But I also don’t want to cut it back too early (you mentioned waiting till it flowers)…how long will it take to flower?

    • You can always use the leaves before that! Just don’t take too many at once. I’m not sure why it’s not flowering. Is it more in the shade?

  14. Hey there, you did great!
    The only Advice I missed is on how to grow from seeds.
    I have some, and I tried to germinate them unsuccessfully.
    Maybe you can help? I love lemon balm…

    • I included this line about growing lemon balm from seed: “It is easy to grow Lemon Balm from seed, but it has to have cold stratification done to the seeds for at least 1 week. Start your Lemon Balm indoors and transplant them outside in late spring.” Did you use cold stratification? This is an important step.

  15. I am on day 3 of growing lemon balm seeds for the first time and notice 6 or seven shoots from planting a batch of 2000 seeds. I wonder if lemon does grow indoors in the UK autumn/winter. Nevertheless it is exciting prospect.

    • Awesome! Let me know how it goes! Thanks for visiting and commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I am sold !!!! The uses plus it scent are awesome qualities .Next spring it will get planted in my garden:-)

  17. Great article, very informative. I’ve been planting a container herb garden on my deck and I plan on adding Lemon Balm (I’ve also heard its a good mosquito repellant!).

  18. Do you smell it in the yard? I have a wonderful jasmine that I swear makes the entire neighbor hood smell wonderful when it blooms. Does the lemon balm do that?

    • Lemon Balm smells lovely when you crush it, so when I step on it, it does make it fragrant. If you let it flower, the flowers smell great, too. However, I have very poor smelling senses, so I might not be the best one to answer this. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. I was doing research on Lemon Balm and found that Lemon Balm has sedative qualities, hence used for insomnia, which may interfere with sedative and thyroid medications. Is this true?

    • Hmm…I am not a doctor, so I hesitate to give advice about things like this. I would recommend talking to a holistic thyroid doctor first. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  20. Thank you for all the informative uses of Lemon Balm

  21. Awesome this oh so my first year growing lemon balm, love all the information, I grew it for the smell, now I know my possibilities are endless

  22. Nursing moms should be careful as lemon balm can decrease milk production if taken in high doses. If you have trouble with production, I would avoid it at all until you are done nursing.

  23. agree with everything you said… nibble it while working in the garden, stick a tip of plant in tea or water… plant in a spot you have problems and it will fill it up. The perfect plant.

  24. I use it for teas and salads etc and as it repeles mosquitoes I dry it and put it in the chicken house and plant it next to the entrance so they have to brush against it to discourage chicken mites. Seems to work for my hens and they dont eat it so it just grows and grows.I put pots all over the place as we have flies in the summer from agriculture, I think it helps especially if you keep bruising the leaves as you pass them the perfume is very pleasing to us but not our flying pests. Its such a useful friendly plant, I love it.

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