Lemonbalm! A favorite amongst herbalists, its sweet lemony scent alone is transportive. Some of my strongest memories with Lemonbalm include sharing its delightful scent with young children as we came across it on our nature walks during my time as an educator, as well as enjoying its delicious, freshly picked leaves from the garden in tea over ice during the summer months. The flavor feels like sunshine in a cup to me.
A member of the mint family member, Melissa officinalis, or Lemon Balm, is most known for its gentle and relaxing nature and is often used in children's calming tea formulas, such as our Happy Tummy Kid's Tea Blend and Children's Wind Down Tea Blend. Its mild and tasty flavor is especially useful with children and those who may be sensitive to more bitter herbs with similar properties. As a gentle diaphoretic, it's also very beneficial in supporting those experiencing a fever.
Like many members of the mint family, Lemonbalm is also a great ally for an upset stomach. Full of lemony volatile oils, it's a wonderful carminative herb that can help to relieve gas, bloating, and nausea. Lemonbalm also acts as a nervine that can help folks of any age with restlessness, tension headaches, insomnia, upset stomach caused by nervousness, and mild depression. Additionally, Lemonbalm has been demonstrated to help calm hyperthyroidism, particularly when combined with Blue Vervain.
Recent studies have also demonstrated its benefits as an antiviral. Lemonbalm, alone or combined with St. John's Wort, is one of your best herbal allies when fighting any form of herpes virus (including cold sores, chicken pox, and shingles). An external ointment made with Lemonbalm leaves has exhibited a high degree of effectiveness in relieving symptoms associated with herpes simplex.
If growing Lemonbalm in your garden, be aware that like other mint plants, this lemony friend can take over a garden in no time, and may benefit from being planted into containers. For harvesting the aerial parts, it is best to wait until late spring or early summer before the flowers set seed; this is when the essential oils are the strongest. However, Lemonbalm will be growing through the summer and can be used after the bloom as well.
Lemonbalm is such a gentle and safe herb for most bodies, and can serve as a great entryway into building deeper relationships with plants for so many folks! Give their medicine a try this summer.
Experience the medicine of Lemonbalm in the following THS blends: Lemonbalm Chillout Tea Blend - Tranquility Powder and Capsules - Soul Shine Tea Blend - Zen Parent Tea and Glycerite Blend - Happy Tummy Kid's Tea Blend - Children's Wind Down Tea Blend - Delphinus Relaxing Elixir Blend
You can also head over to Amanda's mocktail blog Make Your Own: Lemonbalm Chillout Mocktail for a great summer drink recipe that includes this lovely plant friend!