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!
- 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
- 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.