Thursday Herb Day: Lemon Balm

As you can see Lemon Balm looks very similar to mint. Lemon Balm is a part of the mint family, it has a heavenly lemon scent and I love grabbing a leaf off of the plant and rubbing it between my fingers to smell as I walk through my gardens to check on my plants. It is such a relaxing yet uplifting scent. This plant is so much more than a wonderful smelling plant though! It is in my opinion a must for any herb garden as it has both medicinal and culinary uses a plenty.

One of my favorite uses of lemon balm is as a tea using fresh or dried leaves. Lemon balm is great all alone or mixed with other herbs. I enjoy this in a calming tea blend as it is excellent for calming your anxious nerves! Just like mint, lemon balm is one of the first herbs to pop up in my perennial herb garden each year, thus gets included in many spring dishes! So refreshing and lemony! Lemon balm is very prolific and so I harvest and am able to preserve a lot of it for the winter, mainly I dry it but my mom also makes a medicinal tincture, for insomnia, anxiety, nausea ect., that lasts throughout the winter in our herbal apothecary until we have fresh lemon balm again. This herb has traditionally been used to improve mood and cognitive function. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels, and help with insomnia and is also helpful for nausea like its relative, Mint. I have struggled with nausea insomnia, sever brain fog and anxiety from my chronic Lyme disease/ POTS/dystanomia and so defiantly can say this herb has been and continues to be very helpful in my healing journey. I highly recommend this herb for anyone with these issues. This herb can be taken in tea or tincture form (my preferences) or powdered and put in capsule when used medicinally.

Some other medicinal uses include, easing menstrual cramping, in a salve or cream for cold sores, some use it for toothaches. Homesteaders used to chew on a leaf to freshen breath, or rub a crushed leaf on bug bites to reduce itching as well.

In The Garden

It has been used as a bug repellent and is great as a companion plant in your garden to attract beneficial pollinators, while the strong, citrusy odor deters several unwelcome pests, including gnats and mosquitoes. Some gardeners even claim that lemon balm helps keep weeds in check (I'm not completely convinced of this yet although I do seem to get fewer weeds around my lemon balm). I will caution lemon balm can get quite big and you will need to be sure to plant it in a location with this in mind. I don't find that it spreads as aggressively as mint does however.

In The Kitchen:

This is quite a versatile plant for cooking, you can dry it and combine it in a seasoning blend, have it fresh in salads, make a honey syrup with it (this is great on toast and can double as a cough syrup with the addition of a few other herbs), you can use it to make herb vinegar for cooking or salad dressings. The list of ways to use lemon balm is only limited by your imagination! Here are some easy idea's to get you started:

Add it finely minced, to taste into your favorite fruit salad recipe.

Use it in your favorite lemon tea cookie recipe fresh or in extract form.

You can also substitute lemon balm in place of lemon peels in sauces and soups.

Have you tried cooking with lemon balm? What are your favorite recipes, culinary or medicinal? I would love to hear from all of you! Be sure to leave a comment and let us know! Also if you liked this post please be sure to subscribe for more and share this post. As always I pray you have an amazing day and that this post is a blessing in your life!

Proverbs 15:17

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

Psalm 104:14-15

You (God) cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.

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