My very favorite herb.
So easy to grow, prolific producer, and a mom’s best friend more times than I can count.
I grow a lot of lemon balm in my gardens for a reason. It simply is one of those go-to herbs that you just can’t beat for different applications. Today I am going to share with you my top four ways of using it so that you can see how versatile it in an herbal medicine chest for your family.
1. As a bug repellent. Seriously. Take one full cup of lemon balm and crush it into a pint jar. Cover with vodka or rubbing alcohol and steep in a sunny spot in your kitchen for two weeks, shaking occasionally. Drain and add into a small spray bottle. Works like a charm to keep those pesky mosquitos off. In a pinch you can rub it directly from the garden onto your skin, but be warned, if you are in an area that if prolific with bees, you may find that you have just traded one problem for another! It will most certainly keep the mosquitos away, but it will really appeal to the bees! If you have both bees and pesky bugs, choose mint instead. 🙂
2. As a sleep tonic. As I wrote about in my book, Growing Your Own Medicine, lemon balm is one of the best natural sleep aids that exist in the herbal world. It is a calming herb, so great for relieving stress, but it is also her a cumulative effect, so if you drink one or more good strong cups of this tea a night, you can expect to get a full night’s sleep. And the tea is absolutely delicious. Kind of like a sweet version of a lemon drop all wrapped in a warm, steaming cup. I dry loads of this each year for teas during the winter.
3. As a tincture for calming stressed nerves and cranky toddlers. Tinctures can be made simply by filling a pint jar with the lemon balm and covering it with high proof vodka or food-grade glycerin. I normally make two tinctures each year, one for adults, and one for children. The adult one uses the following: lemon balm, catnip, and lavender bruised and packed into a pint jar. Cover with high proof vodka and cap, shaking well every couple days for three weeks. Place jar in dark place during this time. At end of three weeks, strain out material, and rebottle into dropper bottles that are amber colored for long-lasting potency. For an adult, 20-30 drops under the tongue has an almost immediate calming effect when distraught or very stressed. (for example, it worked very well on my mother a couple years ago the night she learned that her brother had passed away from cancer unexpectedly, and allowed her to stay focused). For Children, pack an even amount of lemon balm and catnip into a pint jar after bruising them (rubbing between hands or shredding). Cover with food grade glycerin (you can find that here) and steep for three weeks in a warm spot in a dark cupboard. As a mother, this is a gentle and calming formula for my children when they are ill, or when they are healing and want to get up and play, but need a little more time spent healing to be 100%. It is also a good tincture to take along if you are traveling and your children do not handle change well, such as sleeping somewhere other than their own bed, or late nights and early mornings. I recommend this tincture highly. BUT, with all herbal tinctures, please please PLEASE try the herb(s) on the inside of your arm overnight before you ingest anything you have not been exposed to before. You need to know if you have a sensitivity to the herb before you take it internally.
4. As a scent additive for homemade cleaners. Lemon Balm when freshly crushed smells exactly like lemon pledge! So adding it to an all purpose cleaner means that you not only have the wonderful scent of whatever organic material you are using to scent the cleaner, but it adds the fresh clean smell of lemon to it. For my tutorial on how to make your own All Purpose Cleaner, click right here.
Well, those are FOUR uses. Do you grow Lemon Balm? And if so, how do YOU use it? Please leave any ideas or suggestions for other readers in the comment section. Remember, to leave a comment all you have to do is sign in as Anonymous if you don’t want to go through a Google or other profile! I love to hear from you!
Thanks and come back tomorrow for a wonderful new post on how to use Hyssop for Healing!If you do not have space of time to grow Lemon Balm, you can purchase it from a company that is proud of their highest quality herbs and low prices, and who supports bloggers such as myself as we put our time into teaching these things, but have families to support. Please click their button below to browse through some of their wonderful products!
Blessings to you and yours,
Blessings to you and yours,