Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is one of my favorite herbs that I grow in my herb garden. It just smells absolutely amazing. You just touch the leaf and you can smell the lemon. Use caution though as honeybees love lemonbalm :))) I will hang sprigs of it up around my house on those hot summer days. It is one of the most fragrant herbs. Lemon balm can grow to be 3 feet high in fields and along roadsides in almost any type of soil. Mine usually wind up being a foot and a half to two feet tall. It's very easy to grow, even for the green thumb challenged like myself. :) Yes I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm getting better though! When it's cultivated it's a beautiful plant. Lemon balm prefers rich, sandy, loamy soil in sun or partial shade.

Lemon balm produces a calming effect on the nerves. It can be used to help treat insomnia by promoting normal sleep. You can use it to help treat depression and anxiety.  It was actually used by the first colonists to America.  If you look back through old recipe books you will see it used in many recipes as well as many herbal remedies. It was used as a medicine well into the nineteenth century. Which is not to say that it's history began there.  Lemon Balm has a very long history to include use by the ancient Greeks  Romans and Arabs.  It was actually used as a mild-sedative for quite some time.  

Lemon balm helps release toxins of the body through perspiration. Therefore it can be useful to help sweat out fevers.  It can relieve digestive comfort. It can dilate blood vessels and is used in the treatment of migraine headaches. You can rub the leaves onto your skin to help as a mosquito repellant. It is said that lemon balm oil can also help ward off bacteria and viruses.  

Lemon balm tastes like lemon with a slight bit of mint.  I will use a leaf of it in my ice water during the summer, and my teas. I also dry it for use all winter to add to my teas. It is a stronger herb, so you want to start with a small amount to see how you will like the taste. One small leaf is like adding a fresh squeezed lemon in taste.  It tastes amazing in salads, on fish, chicken, shellfish, and corn just to name a few things I use it with. :))  

I've also put leaves in an incense burner with a bit of water, and a tea light underneath and it makes the house smell amazing.  However the best way to use it as an incense is to wait until late in the summer and use the lower parts of the plant as they have the strongest oils.  Being the patient girl I am I typically find myself snagging leaves as soon as it comes up. :)))

You can also use the leaves to help as a facial cleanser.  Be sure to test it first before applying it to your entire face.  

When drying lemon balm you need to dry it within two days of picking it.  You can dry both the leaves and the stems. 

Love and Blessings,

Jasmeine Moonsong

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Thank you for stopping by :))) Love and Blessings, Jasmeine Moonsong

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