Family: Lamiacaea (mint)
Habitat and Cultivation: Lemon Balm is common throughout Europe, but mostly cultivated in the United States. It sometimes grows wild in sunny fields and along roadsides. It is a perennial and is easily cultivated by seed or root division in rich, sandy or loamy soil. The branched upright stem is square and grows to about 3 feet in height. The leaves are bright green growing in opposite pairs they are ovate and serrate. The whole plant has fine hairs and a lemony scent when crushed. The flowers are yellow-white to rose colored or even bluish, two lipped, bilabiate they grow in clusters at the joints or some times on small branches at the joints. Lemon Balm blooms from about July to August. Gather the leaves flowers and stems as soon as the flowers begin to open
Parts used: Arial parts
Actions: Carminative, Nervine, troporestorative. spasmolytic, Mild sedative, Mild antidepressive, Diaphoretic, TSH antagonist, Antiviral, (topically)
Specific indications: Anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, headache, depression, hypertension and irritability associated with stress or hyperthyroidism. Lemon Balm as a trophorestorative for the nervous system. Trophorestoratives have traditionally been used to nourish, strengthen, and feed a specific system–in Lemon Balm’s case, that would be the nervous system. Lemon Balm’s mild sedative properties have historically been used for insomnia, anxiety, stress induced headaches, heart palpitations and high blood pressure. For some folks, Lemon Balm can also be a gentle mood up-lifter. Lemon Balm’s gentle and calming properties make it a safe and tasty choice for hyper, agitated, or cranky children.
Because of Lemon Balm’s calming effect on the nervous system, it can help provide relief in cases of a “nervous stomach.” When there is indigestion due to stress or anxiety, Lemon Balm can help to relieve spasms, cramps and gas of the digestive tract.
Lemon Balm has been shown in clinical studies to exhibit strong antiviral properties. Applied topically, the diluted essential oil of Lemon Balm, commonly called Melissa, is effective at preventing and relieving cold sores, genital herpes, chicken pox and shingle outbreaks. All three viruses live in the nerves, so Lemon Balm’s antiviral action along with its affinity for the nervous system makes it an ideal remedy.
Like other members of the Mint family, Lemon Balm can be both cooling and warming energetically. A cold infusion of Lemon Balm can cool you off during a hot summer day or help to reduce the severity of hot flashes in menopause. A hot infusion of Lemon Balm is traditionally used as a diaphoretic to break a fever–especially useful for children.
System Affinity: Nervous, digestive, immune
Combinations: Infantile colic – with chamomile, vervain, licorice & fennel,
Sleep disturbances – with valerian, hops and motherwort
Energetics: slightly warm and dry, sweet, sour.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated with hypothyroidism and in early pregnancy unless used under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner.
Preparation and Dosage: Fresh Lemon balm is much better than dry, it tends to lose its fragrancy when dried. The tea or tincture should be made from the fresh leaves but the will still be benefit when used dry. Dosage of the tincture can be small (1-3 drops) to large (10-30 drops). The E.O can also be used.
Folklore: In ancient times Balm was planted by ones front door to drive away evil spirits. It was also used to draw bees to the hive. Avicenna, an 11th century Arab herbalist said “it causeth the mind and heart to become merry