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:
- 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 sleep balm recipe from Shalom Mama.
2. Lemon Balm is very good for tension, stress, restlessness, anxiety, headaches, and depression.
- Click here and here for some Lemon Balm tea recipes that help bring relaxation after a hard, stressful day.
- Click here for some more information on how Lemon Balm is good for tension headaches.
- Click here for some more information on how Lemon Balm and other herbs can uplift the spirit from depression.
3. Lemon Balm is a excellent for colds and flus.
- It is a diaphoretic, which is excellent for flus because it will help break the fever. It also calms stomach ache symptoms during the flu. Here is a great medicinal herbal tea recipe for fighting the flu.
- Lemon Balm has strong anti-viral properties, which will help ease cold symptoms as well as cold sores.
- Here is a Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm recipe from The Nerdy Farm Wife with Lemon Balm.
- Here is a Cough Drop recipe from Nourishing Joy that contains Lemon Balm.
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
**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:
- Add Lemon Balm to fruit salads for a fruity, lemon flavor.
- Make your own vinegar/salad dressing with lemon balm.
- Make a Lemon Balm infused honey. Recipe from Mama Rosemary.
- Next time you add lemon zest to a scone or muffin recipe, add some chopped Lemon Balm leaves as well!
- Make Lemon Balm Honey Butter (simply soften butter, add honey and chopped lemon balm, mix, and let harden again).
- Make an Herbal Iced Tea.
- Make one of these delicious and refreshing Summer Punches or Teas.
- Make a Sorbet. Here is an Sweet Herbal Sorbet recipe and here is a Honeyed Peach Lemon Balm Sorbet, recipe from Mama Rosemary.
- Add it to your water for a slight lemony taste. Here are some other ideas for flavoring your water too, from Real Food RN.
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.
**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.
**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.
**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.
**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! 🙂