Friday, November 21, 2014

Herb of the Week: Lemon Balm

When I first started working at The Rosemary House, Susanna taught me about lemon balm. Other than the fact that it is delicious the herb is fantastic for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and what I found most amazing was that its root system lives all year round!

Lemon balm is in the mint family and has been used for everything from insomnia to colic for hundreds of years. Lemon balm is often used in tea for its flavor but can bring positive affects medicinally. Lemon balm has been used to encourage perspiration to break a fever. The herb can also be mixed with valerian or chamomile to calm an anxious mind and get ready for sleep. The flavor is mild enough for children.

The herb contains tannins, volatile oils, and terpenes. It is also carminative, diaphoretic and febrifuge. These encourage relaxation and have antiviral effects. It contains eugenol as well. This can calm muscles and help relieve aches and pains during a fever or flu.

As mentioned, what amazes me most about this herb is that, virtually, it never dies. While the leaves fall off, the root system thrives throughout the winter. Since lemon balm is a known combatant of depression and SAD, there is something to be said about the fact that no matter what, lemon balm will always be there when you need it (even though you may have to dig it out of the snow).

So beat the winter blues by adding lemon balm to tea, cookies, or scones and relax. Spring will be here before you know it!



Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure how I discovered your blog ~ but I love it.

Lemon Balm will most definitely go in my garden this spring. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have had some dried lemon balm that I've enjoyed, so I planted some this past summer, and harvested and dried. I've used it in my tea lately, and have been so happy with the results. My own, is much better than the dried I purchased. So lemony smelling - loving it!

Texan said...

I am going to go out tomorrow morning to my garden and cut myself some lemon balm for tea. I think its just what I need after reading your post.

Anne-Marie said...

Lemon balm is so versatile. The smell is so calming.

Eric Waltemate, D.C. said...

This is an herb that I've heard of but haven't really given much thought to. Thanks for posting this.

I have many patients who complain about S.A.D. and using lemon balm would be a simple and effective treatment for it.