This plant grows like a weed and we thank the Great Mother Earth it does! Melissa officinalis, commonly known as lemon balm, is such a beautiful and powerful medicine, and the more that surrounds us the more empowered we are to take our medicine back into our own hands.
On a warm Summer day take a walk and smell around, lemon balm’s strong fragrance can easily be found. This herb is full of the volatile oils linalool and citronellal, which contribute to its incredible lemony fragrance. Lemon balm is in the mint family and at first glance can be confused for mint leaves, but its powerful aroma sets it apart. Just like mint, lemon balm is a wonderful herb to consume during the hot Summer months because it is energetically cooling to the body. Use this herb to cool down after a long day in the sun or to cool down a hot constitution. The leaves are edible and full of flavour and can be added to dishes for a lemony pop of favour. We love to use this abundant herb to make lemon balm pesto as a delicious way to cool down.
Lemon balm has a long history of medicinal use, in fact a bottle of “Spirit of Melissa” was commonly found in most households back in the day and was used as a nervous system sedative. Lemon balm has an affinity for the nervous system and traditionally was used to lift the spirit and chase away melancholy, relax the heart, and relieve palpitations. This herb is still widely used in herbal medicine today for a wide range of applications including:
Due to lemon balm’s affinity to the nervous system this plant can help with a wide range of nervous system complaints such as anxiety, restlessness and nervousness, and even migraines. Lemon balm really shines as an antiviral herb due to its rosmarinic acid and other polyphenol content making it invaluable for the treatment of Herpes simplex infections. Viruses such as these like to lie dormant in nerve cells where they can evade the immune system only to then travel to the skin and flare when the body is depleted, stressed, or weakened.
Applied topically lemon balm works to address these viral infections.
Whether you are new to lemon balm or a long-time lemon balm lover come down to Apotheka and have a cup of tea with us and share this beautiful plant. As always, we advise you to seek the help of a trained herbalist or health practitioner before trying a new herb to ensure safety and appropriate use of medicinal herbs.
*This herb is contraindicated in hypothyroid conditions*
Written by Leah Schmutter
Medical Herbalist in Training
Here’s our take on a refreshing summer drink! We love drinking herbal tea, but it’s nice to opt for something refreshing on those hot days. Make your next batch of sangria unique by adding rose, hibiscus, and elderberries for an antioxidant boost.
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