Lemon Balm


Lemon balm

Lemon Balm (Mellisa officinalis)

Lemon balm is from the same family as mint (Lamiaceae) and has the typical square stem of that family.  It also has a very pleasant lemony smell, giving rise to its name.  It can be found growing in sunny spots, often preferring well drained soil.  We grow it in our garden where it does exceptionally well.

Because lemon balm inhibits thyroid function you shouldn’t take it if you have hyperthyroidism.  You should also check with your doctor before using lemon balm if you are pregnant, nursing or suffering from a chronic disease.

Property : Bitter, Aromatic

Constituent : Volatile oil, Flavonoids, Glycosides

Action : Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antispasmodic, Diaphoretic, Topical antiviral

Indication : Tension and irritability, Restlessness, Nervous exhaustion, Depression, Flatulence, Topically for treatment of cold sores

Lemon balm essential oil

It is a highly sought after essential oil where it is used to relieve stress.  You might see it described as Melissa essential oil.

Lemon balm flavoured water

This recipe is one we’ve adapted from The Nerdy Farmer’s Wife and is wonderful as a refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day!

lemon balm

  • Fill a jar with fresh lemon balm leaves and thinly sliced lemon
  • Fill the jar to the top with cold water and place in the fridge

lemon balm

  • Leave for several hours before serving

Lemon balm infusion

Take 3 or 4 leaves and infuse them in hot water for 10 minutes.  A lemon balm infusion has been for agitation, nervous digestion, melancholy and grief and sleep problems.  It also has a diaphoretic action which will induce sweating to help break a fever.

Lemon balm infused oil

  • Fill a jar about 3/4 of the way up with dried lemon balm leaves
  • Fill to the top of the jar with olive oil
  • Store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks, checking regularly to ensure that all of the leaf matter is covered by the oil
  • Strain the oil and rebottle in a clean glass container

The infused oil can be made into an ointment in the same way we’ve made this St John’s Wort ointment.

If you’re interested in wild plants, take a look at our Herbal Remedies course. You can see photos from previous courses on our Facebook page.


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About Gary

Lead Instructor at Jack Raven Bushcraft, teaching bushcraft, wilderness and survival skills to groups and individuals.

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