Hello dear friends!
It was just last summer that I was standing barefoot in my garden, rubbing a fuzzy green leaf between my fingers, trying to identify it. It was cheerful and vibrant green, giving off the most lovely smell of lemony citronella. With a quick check in my herbal book, and a shoutout to my fellow herb nerds online, I concluded that yes indeed, my backyard was positively brimming with lemon balm.
Now, I’d read plenty about lemon balm before. They’re one of the top herbs in the Medical Medium series. They’re common in my area of the globe. I’d drank teas with lemon balm, and even used some dried lemon balm in a tincture formula before. But I hadn’t had this chance to truly connect with the plant up close and personal! I felt an immediate kinship with lemon balm- it was a whirlwind romance with my little backyard sweetheart.
Soon I was lovingly harvesting leaves for my evening tea, for herbal honey, and to nibble on after meals. Since last summer, I’ve absolutely fallen for this incredible plant, and I use it every single day now! So, who better to kick off this new blog series than the lovely lemon balm?
If you’ve been curious about plant medicine, and want to start incorporating these healing allies into your life, it’s nice to get a primer on each plant and personally make a connection with its energy. So please indulge me as I delve into one of my all-time favorites…
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Member of the mint/Lamiaceae family. Used since ancient times to calm the heart and mind. Smells citrusy, sweet, and delicate. Found in dozens of applications, including teas, perfumes, culinary dishes, liqueurs, jams/jellies, and even some furniture polish!
Aromatic perennial with serrated heart-shaped leaves with soft white hairs on the undersides. Comes into fullness in late spring, with vibrant green leaves. The leaves will yellow throughout the summer and fall, but this generally does not affect the medicinal quality.
Botanical name Melissa comes from the Greek word for “honeybee.”
Lemon balm has been shown to:
Reduce heart arrhythmias
Fight herpes-family viruses, including Epstein-Barr
Reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Reduce blood sugar levels
Enhance concentration and overall cognitive function
Regulate overactive thyroid
Protect the GI tract
Cooling, drying, aromatic.
Antispasmodic, anti-viral, nervine, diaphoretic, digestive, mild sedative.
Works well for the heart and third eye chakras.
This plant is strongly associated with the emotional self, and the divine feminine.
Ruling planets: Jupiter, Neptune, Moon
Zodiac signs: Cancer, Pisces
Recommended to “make the heart merry,” and lift the spirits, lemon balm was thought to be as much an emotional remedy as a physical one. Popular to use during cold, dark winters to lift the spirits and ease seasonal depression. Also commonly used to clear the mind before ritual or divination work.
Used often in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. Eases and opens the heart.
Also used in ritual baths, and to connect with divine Goddess energy. Considered sacred in the temple of Diana. Lemon balm is sometimes planted near the front door to ward away evil spirits, or at the homes of newlyweds to invite marital bliss.
Ways to use lemon balm:
I love making lemon balm tea (fresh leaves in the spring/summer, dried in fall/winter) and lemon balm honey/electuary.
I take Vimergy lemon balm every day as well, to combat EBV and calm my anxiety.
Lemon balm makes a nice addition to cold salads, jams/jellies, and in syrups/cordials.
Around the house, lemon balm can be a lovely air freshener too.
Do you love lemon balm? What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate this healing plant ally into your life? Tell me in the comments below!
And as always, friends…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
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