Lemon Balm Leaf (Melissa) (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the mint family. It's native to south-central Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, Iran, and Central Asia, but now naturalized in the Americas and elsewhere.
The genus name of Melissa comes from the Greek, meaning ‘honey bee’ or simply ‘honey’. In Greek mythology Melissa was a nymph who shared the wisdom and honey of the bees. Lemon balm is a favorite plant of the bees. Not only does it produce lots of nectar, it has also been used by bee keepers to keep bees from swarming.
12th century herbalist Saint Hildegarde von Bingen said “Lemon balm contains within it the virtues of a dozen other plants.”
Latin Name: Melissa officinalis
Common Names: balm, bee balm, melissa, melissa balm
Plant Family: Lamiaceae
Taste: Lemony w/mint and herb undertones
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: Leaves
As a tea: Pour 8 oz. boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of herb. Cover and steep for 5-10 minutes, strain and serve immediately.
As a glycerite: Fill a clean jar 1/2 to 1/3 full of dried herbs. Do not pack the herbs down. Cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine to 1 part water. Cap and let this sit in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain. Store in your refrigerator.
Detailed instructions for making a glyercite can be found HERE!
When making a glycerite with dried herbs, it is common to use water to rehydrate the herbs and loosen up the botanical matter.
As a tincture: Tinctures are also called extracts. This same process is used to make real vanilla extract. Alcohol tinctures are the most common type and the easiest to make.
Detailed instructions for making a tincture can be found HERE!
As a vinegar: Use 1 part lemon balm to 3 parts apple cider vinegar. Cap with a non-metallic lid (ACV corrodes metal) and let steep in a cool dark place for a few weeks. Strain and use as a hair wash or add to your bath water. You can also use this in food dishes & salad dressings instead of plain vinegar.
Persons taking a thyroid medication should consult a medical health care professional before using lemon balm.
Always consult your health care professional before using any herbal supplement.