I met Suzanne, a registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, a few years ago when she came to me for Pilates training. We became good friends and my family and I have benefited from her professional expertise, with supplement prescriptions and food sensitivity analysis. She is a consummate “Earth Mama” and has a wealth of knowledge about natural remedies. If you would like to know more about her holistic recommendations, she can be reached at suzannepolo.com. This week she is sharing her knowledge about Lemon Balm.
She is my current herbal love affair. This beautifully fragrant member of the mint family has kept my family healthy throughout the year. Back in November I made a lemon balm tincture from fresh leaves and we’ve used it for it’s polyphenolic antiviral and antibacterial properties. We’ve been able to side step every cold/flu illness that was passed around. You’ll also be interested to know these polyphenols make lemon balm an effective match against herpes and shingles. Here is a simple recipe to make a Lemon Balm Tincture. Not only does this medicinal herb calm the nervous system but it draws more bees than other plants, hence it’s pseudonym, bee balm.
Lemon Balm is a milder relaxant making it particularly good for children. It soothes nerves and can help with stomach problems that are often linked with anxiety and stress. It calms a restless child with ADD and ADHD, and soothes recurring nightmares.
Last week I made a lemon balm infusion. It turned out so deliciously, and honestly was simple to make (steep a large container of strong tea). The flavor is so sweet and smooth my Lemon Balm Lemonade needs no sweetener. Elixir indeed!
I’ve been sourcing my fresh lemon balm from AHO (Abundant Harvest Organics) . This California CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) provides weekly farm boxes filled with organically grown, local produce grown by small family farmers. I coordinate a few pick up sites in the LA area. I plan to plant my own soon as it is a fast growing perennial with an irresistible fragrance and flavor. And we need ‘the balm’ to support our sacred bees.
Lemon balm leaves’ concentration of volatile oils are antispasmodic, calming both the nervous and digestive systems. A tea or infusion is an excellent remedy for stomach distress including relief for flatulence and colic, as well as nervous exhaustion. It’s mild sedative actions help insomnia caused by grief and sadness. lemon balm treats heartache, depression and SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Be good to yourself and bring lemon balm into your daily life. With little effort you’ll reap it’s healing embrace.
Lemon Balm Tincture
- Rinse 2 bunches of lemon balm, remove leaves and spread on baking sheet to air dry and fresh wilt.You don’t want any water in your tincture.
- Finely chop leaves and place in a clean, dry glass jar. Pour enough alcohol (80-100 proof) over the herbs. Pour enough to cover the lemon balm leaves by 2-3 inches and seal the jar with a tight fitting lid. The leaves may float to the top and then settle after a day or two. You can add more alcohol if needed.
- Find a warm, sunny spot for the jar to allow the lemon balm to soak for 4-6 weeks. Swirl and gently shake the jar daily to prevent settling and infuse with healing intention.
- Strain the liquid, compost the herbs, and pour your tincture into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in a cool, dark cupboard, and label your Lemon Balm Tincture. Your medicinal alcohol based tincture will keep for many years.