lemonbalm

Lemon Balm: is particularly good for indigestion when it has been caused by anxiety and tension ...

Common Names: Lemon Balm

Botanical Name: Melissa officinalis

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant Type: Hardy perennial

Parts Used: Leaves

Flowering: All summer

Native to southern Europe and western Asia, lemon balm likes the mountains, but has also been naturalized in southern England. It is now grown worldwide.

Description: This hardy perennial grows into a bush two to thre feet high with crinkly, serrated, heart-shaped leaves, which taste - and when rubbed - smell of lemon. It blooms all summer and into the autumn. Lemon balm is a shallow-rooted member of the mint family.

Cultivation: Lemon balm grows easily from seed. It grows best in full sun, in average, well-drained soil. It is hardy to zones 4-5.

Harvesting: Best used fresh. Picking stem tips to use fresh will encourage the growing plant to sprout more leaves. To dry, harvest leaves before the plant flowers - the active ingredients will remain after drying but the leaves will loose their lemon scent.

Culinary Uses: Lemon balm combines the tastes of lemon and mint. Use the fresh leaves in salads, fruit dishes, poultry, and fish. Use the dried leaves in tea. Lemon balm is a flavoring ingredient in the liqueurs Benedictine and Chartreuse.

Lemon Balm Magick

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mercury

Element: Air

Money. Lust. Healing. Travel. Exorcism. Protection

Add dried lemon balm leaves and flowers to love amulets.

To ensure justice and right action prevail, hang a bunch of lemon balm in your home.

To help make your dreams manifest, wrap the lemon balm plant (except the roots) in linen, write down what you want to manifest on a piece of paper, place it in the linen, tie the bundle with a piece of silk thread, and place it on your altar. Say a prayer and know your wishes have already manifested. Bury the bundle once your prayers have been answered.

Herbal Healing with Lemon Balm

Cosmetic Uses: Lemon balm is a good facial cleanser, especially for persons with acne.

Medicinal Actions: analgesic, antibacterial, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiputrid, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antistress, antiviral, aperitive, calmative, carminative, cephalic, choleretic, cordial, cytophylactic, diaphoretic, digestive, emmenagogue, febrifuge, galactagogue, hypotensor, insect repellent, nervine, sedative, stomachic, tonic, uplifting, vermifuge, vulnerary

Medicinal Uses: Lemon balm seems to have a mild sedative effect, and to be mildly inhibiting to the growth of bacteria and viruses. It is a strong antispasmodic and wind-dispeller. Lemon balm can help bring down high blood pressure as it stimulates the circulation and calms tension at the same time. The herb has a long tradition as a tonic remedy that acts on the nervous system, calming and cheering.  In aromatherapy it is known by the name Melissa and is widely used for insomnia caused by anxiety.

Body Care with Lemon Balm

  • To relieve nervous tension, anxiety or depression, take 1 cup lemon balm leaf infusion up to three times daily, for as long as needed.
  • To ease stress-related high blood pressure or palpatations, take 1 tsp lemon balm tincture three times daily as needed.
  • To improve your appetite or digestion, or to calm the queasiness of a nervous stomach, take 1 teaspoon lemon balm tincture up to three times daily.

Infusion: 1 teaspoon dried or 2 teaspoons fresh lemon balm leaves in 1 cup just-boiled water.

Tincture: 200 g (7 oz) dried or 400 g (14 oz) fresh lemon balm leaves in 1 litre (4 cups) vodka-water mix.

Healing Combinations with Lemon Balm

  • For irritable bowel and similar problems, use it with comfrey (Symphytum), German chamomile (Matricaria) and peppermint (Menth piperita)
  • For gastritis and stomach ulcers, try it with licorice (Glycyrrhiza), meadowsweet (Filipendula) and marshmallow (Althaea)
  • For anxiety and mild depression, use it with St. Johns wort (Hypericum), valerian (Valeriana) or borage (Borago)
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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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