There are a few herbs that are really soothing and relaxing…and are good for when you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and less than luscious. One of my favorites is lemon balm. One cup of lemon balm tea, really helps to relax away the stress of the day….but lemon balm has some other wonderful benefits that you need to know about as well!
Our ancestors knew how powerful these herbs were and not only used them to make teas, tinctures and salves, but also incorporated the flowers, leaves, bark and roots into their diets as well. Because of the growing interest in healing the body naturally with herbs, you will be finding more important information on how to incorporate herbs into your life to balance your body and improve your health.
Today we are going to look at lemon balm, also known as Melissa. This plant is actually a member of the mint family, although it does not have a minty taste or smell and instead has a slight lemony taste and scent. Although the plant is native to Europe, it is now grown around the world, and many gardeners and herbalists love having it in their garden because it draws honey bees, which help to pollinate the rest of the garden.
Some of the benefits of lemon balm are:
- Give you a powerful antioxidant boost- lemon balm contains flavonoids which contain strong antioxidant properties. With the chronic exposure to environmental and food toxins, consuming high quality, food based antioxidants are vital for maintaining your health as they go after free radicals which damage you at a cellular level.
- Helps to relieve stress, depression and anxiety. One of the main things that lemon balm is known for is its stress relieving, calming properties. In fact, it is one of my favorite herbs to have on hand when the stress is high, and I love to make lemon balm lemonade to sip on after a stressful day. People have been using it as a mild, natural tranquilizer for thousands of years.
- Will keep you free from colds and the flu. Lemon balm has great anti-viral properties and is great to drink as a tea or take as a tincture when you are hit with a cold or the flu. Lemon balm salves and ointments have show to speed healing in cold sores as well.
- Great headache reliever. The tranquilizing effect of lemon balm is thought to relax muscles which can help to relieve stress headaches.
- Insect bite and wound healing. Traditionally, fresh leaves of lemon balm were placed on insect bites to help with the swelling and it was also used on bug bites and wounds in salves, ointments and poultices to help speed healing.
- Natural allergy relief. Lemon balm contains natural anti-histamine properties which can help to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
- Reduces PMS symptoms for women. Drinking lemon balm tea can help to relieve the bloating, irritability and cramping that women can feel during PMS as well as throughout their cycle.
- ADHD relief. Lemon balm is very calming and helps to balance out an easily distracted mind. Even those who deal with regular racing thoughts can benefit from the balancing power of lemon balm.
- Can help with tummy troubles. Lemon balm is traditionally know for the ability to reduce gas, bloating and indigestion.
These are some of the amazing benefits of lemon balm and a great reason to consider learning more about it and whether or not it is right for you.
There is one caution for those considering using lemon balm. If you are currently taking thyroid medication, lemon balm can interfere with the effects of the medication that you are taking, and so regular use of lemon balm is not recommended for those with thyroid conditions.
Herbal remedies are amazing, but like anything else, they will not be right for every person, and you may experience an allergic reaction when taking any new herb. The good news is that you can simply discontinue using that herb and any negative symptom should disappear within 24-48 hours.
Here is a great, relaxing, bedtime tea that uses lemon balm along with a couple of other sedative teas. This tea is medicinal in nature, and will make you sleepy….so don’t operate heavy machinery after drinking this!
It is always important to know what medications these herbs can interact with. Lemon balm interacts with thyroid medications and chamomile interacts with blood thinners. If you are on either one of these types of medications, then avoid this tea (you can opt to leave out the chamomile if you are on blood thinners, but don’t have any restrictions with the other herbs).
- 1 tsp lemon balm
- 1 tsp skullcap
- 1 tsp marshmallow root
- 1/2 tsp chamomile
- 8-12 oz of hot, but not quite boiling water.
- Place the herbs in a tea ball or infuser.
- Steep in water that has been heated just before boiling for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Remove tea ball.
- Add raw honey to sweeten.
- This is a medicinal tea and so steeping for 15-20 minutes is necessary to get the full medicinal benefits. If you are on a blood thinner, omit the chamomile which can thin the blood. This tea is a natural sedative! DO NOT operate heavy machinery or take during the day because it can cause drowsiness!