I am in love…with Lemon Balm! As I was searching for something to help with my husband’s high blood pressure (he’s had it for years and on many prescription medications), I stumbled upon this amazing Herb. We have had it growing in our Herb garden for several years and basically just used in food dishes and beverages. Was I ever surprised when I started looking into it further! Come to find out, it’s also great for the nervous system (of which I have a disorder that I treat) and a host of other health issues-including cancer. That is when I dove in to making infused oil and thus, the Oily Chic was born! The salve I make with the infused oil has been a great topical remedy for many symptoms of my disorder, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or now commonly known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. You can find my salves and Essential Oil blends in my store http://salvesnstuff.com.
Lemon Balm, or Melissa as it is also known, has a long history of use supporting human health and well-being. Along with Valerian, soothing Lemon Balm has been used over the ages as a natural sedative. The use of Lemon Balm goes back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks. One of its first recorded uses was as a wine infused liniment (topical preparation) applied for insect bites and stings (first do a patch test on your inner wrist and wait 24 to 48 hours to ensure you’re not allergic).
One of the best things about Lemon Balm is that it is gentle enough to use on children. Be aware that lemon balm does inhibit the thyroid and most herbalists will advise anyone who suffers with an under-active thyroid not to use this herb. It can be used in the management of hyperthyroidism where the thyroid is over-active. Some examples of the many uses of Lemon Balm:
- For digestion, Lemon Balm reduces pain and spasm. It soothes stress-related problems and stimulates the liver and gall bladder.
- For circulation it calms nervous palpitations and arrhythmia, and reduces hypertension.
- For mental and emotional uses it is both sedative and analgesic, reducing tension, anxiety and agitation. It has been found useful in dementia and insomnia. It also relieves headaches, migraine, vertigo and tinnitus. It elevates mood, improves memory and concentration.
- With the respiratory system, Lemon Balm is a relaxant, antimicrobial and decongestant. It helps resolve colds, flu, catarrh, chest infections, coughs and asthma.
- With the immune system, Lemon Balm is a specific antivirus against herpes simplex, mumps and possibly HIV. Its volatile oils are antibacterial, anti-fungal and antihistamine; helpful in hay fever and allergic rhinitis.
- With the urinary system, Lemon Balm is antispasmodic and diuretic.
- With the reproductive system, Lemon Balm is helpful in irregular and painful periods, PMS and menopausal depression. It eases and speeds childbirth when taken prior to and during labor.
Lemon Balm has been one of the easiest and most satisfying Herbs I’ve ever grown. It is a member of the mint family so it shares the tendency to spread quickly and easily, although it is less aggressive. It is usually 2 to 3 feet tall, but it can grow up to 5 feet in some cases. It grows in large mounds in the garden and grows best when watered weekly and in a location that is primarily sunny but also gets some shade in the afternoon. I have had great success with it planted in full sun. 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! I harvest the leaves and stems at any time after the plant has started growing but it is suggested waiting until it has at least a few stems. The flavor of the leaves is the absolute best when the flowers are just beginning to open. I use the dried Herb, as well as fresh, in oil infusions and teas but know that they lose their potency after about six months. I have also harvested more than once in a growing season.
This is just a small amount of information I am sharing about this wonderful Herb. I have had a lot of fun researching and making foods and Herbal remedies with Lemon Balm. Again, the Soothing Salve and other Herbal products I make can be found in my store http://salvesnstuff.com. In honor of this blog post, I am offering the Soothing Salve at 20% off through 9-16-16. Stock up!
The Oily Chic