Lemon Balm

Posted by on Sep 27, 2013 in Herbs for Health | 0 comments

In addition to its invigorating, citrus scent, lemon balm has been prescribed as a medicinal herb since ancient Greek times, lemon balm has long been known to relieve anxiety, promote sleep, and sooth agitation. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an autoimmune disease involving the thyroid (Graves’ disease), swollen airways, rapid heartbeat due to nervousness, high blood pressure, sores, tumors, and insect bites.

Lemon Balm is easy to grow and has tiny attractive flowers as well. Lemon Balm tolerates lots of pruning, so don’t be afraid to harvest and use it regularly. Just give it a little extra mulch and compost so it can continue to grow.  It’s a hardy perennial that grows into a bush about 24 inches round. Lemon Balm belongs to the mint family and looks very similar, with light green, ridged leaves.

To harvest, cut the whole stems within a few inches of the base of the plant, gather into groups of 5-6 stems, tie and hang in a warm, airy location. When dry, strip off the leaves, store in a covered container and use as needed.

A handful of fresh lemon balm and mint make an excellent hot or iced tea when honey is added. It can be used in place of lemon peel in recipes. Add it to your favorite sugar cookie dough. Add to herbal vinegars that can be used for marinades or salad dressings.



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