Lemon Balm has the square stems indicitive of the mint family with green, oval, finely toothed leaves that grow opposite each other on the stem. The leaves also have fine hairs and a distinct lemon scent.
Lemon Balm is anti-viral, so the tea is great to drink if you’re feeling under the weather. The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an anti-viral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses.
One of Lemon Balm’s key medicinal qualities is as a tranquilizer. It calms a nervous stomach, colic, or heart spasms. The leaves are reputed to also lower blood pressure. It is very gentle, although effective, so is often suggested for children and babies.
Lemon Balm tea has been shown to inhibit the division of tumor cells. It may also be beneficial to those with Grave’s disease-studies indicate that the herb slightly inhibits the thyroid-stimulating hormone and restricts Grave’s disease, a hyperthyroid condition.
The stomach is also soothed by Lemon balm’s presence. Used as a tea, this herb helps the body to digest food more effectively. The essential oil present in fresh or well preserved Lemon Balm does wonders to decrease painful spasms that haunt sufferers of IBS. The carminitive properties in this minty little herb are favorites with parents of children with fussy stomachs as well.
Lemon Balm’s anti-histamine action is useful to treat eczema and headaches and accounts for the centuries old tradition of placing the fresh leaf on insect bites and wounds. A fomentation of Lemon Balm may also help reduce the swelling associated with gout.
Through research, Lemon Balm has clearly demonstrated the ability to impact the limbic system of the brain and “protect” the brain from the powerful stimuli of the body and should be part of any ADHD formula. It smells a lot better than Ritalin, too.
Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease.
It is claimed to have antibacterial and antiviral properties – it is effective against herpes simplex.
To Use Medicinally:
Try making Lemon Balm vinegar. A few sprigs tossed into a bottle of Rice Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar makes an excellent base for a spring salad dressing.
Lemon Balm tea can be brewed from either fresh or dry herb. Sun tea or stovetop brewed tea is a great pick-me-up after a long day at work.
Fresh Lemon Balm imparts a subtle lemon flavor and fresh lemon fragrance, making it especially nice for fruit dishes, custards, and tea. Early fresh leaves can be chopped and added to salads; just cut down somewhat on the vinegar or lemon juice.
Lemon Balm can easily take the place of Lemon Thyme in any recipe.
Throw a fresh sprig in tea cups of Lemon Balm tea that you serve to guests.