Lemon Balm benefits and uses – absolute must in any vegetable garden

Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa officinalis is totally and utterly the herb of the month for me at the moment, springing up all over the garden. It seems to really want to grow here in England, with very little attention, scattering out the most bountiful harvest at a time when other greens are just starting to unfurl their leaves.

Lemon Balm’s botanical name, Melissa, is Greek for bees, so it comes as no surprise that bees adore this perennial wonder.  It is often affectionately referred to as Bee Balm. This versatile herb thrives in most places, taking care of itself rather well, spreading vigorously with its roots and seeds.

In temperate climates the leaves die down in the winter, shooting back through once the season begins to move towards spring again. Most natural gardeners find that they have ample of the stuff and would be more than happy to dig you up a clump, otherwise you should be able to buy seeds or a small plant at your local garden centre. It’s an all-around winner and an absolute must in any happy garden.

Medicinal uses for Lemon Balm

This zingy herb has an abundance of well-known, tried and tested health benefits and medicinal properties. Whilst one of it’s most famous properties is as a mild sedative, calming the nervous system, it is also commonly used to help:

  • digestive problems
  • flatulence
  • colic
  • bloating
  • upset stomachs
  • menstrual cramps
  • headaches
  • to calm nerves
  • relieve anxiety
  • anti-viral 
  • irritability
  • depression

Fresh Lemon Balm Tea

It’s so easy to make a cup of fresh lemon balm tea. Simply add a few fresh leaves into your mug, pour in some boiling water and allow the leaves to infuse for at least a few minutes before drinking. No strainer is required if you use fresh leaves.

If you don’t have fresh plants you can probably buy some dried leaves from a really good healthy food store, herbal shop or traditional apothecary.

Infuse dried leaves as you would the fresh leaves and strain before drinking. I often drink lemon balm tea at night – it’s wonderfully relaxing, with a nice hint of lemony-flavour.

Culinary Uses for Lemon Balm

Lemon balm exudes a gentle lemon fragrance and flavour that blends wonderfully as an addition to many different dishes. It infuses a lively subtle zingy-ness to salads when used raw, reducing the need for lemon or vinegar in your dish. It’s also refreshing added to desserts and can be tossed into just about any dish, with different effects.

Lemon Balm, Ginger & Pumpkin Seed Pate

Lemon Balm Pate

Lemon Balm Pate

I use lemon balm frequently in salads when it’s in season. I’ve also created a delicious recipe for Lemon Balm, Ginger & Pumpkin Seed Pate here: Lemon Balm, Ginger & Pumpkin Seed Pate. This is another excellent way to enjoy the raw health benefits of this versatile herb.

I do hope that you are as inspired by lemon balm as I am. It feels that times are changing and we need, now, more than ever to become more self-sufficient and start growing herbs and plant-foods that are happy to thrive.

with love and happy herbs

Anastasia

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Health benefits and uses for lemon balm by Anastasia, Kind Earth

8 Comments

  1. I’m so happy to have stumbled across this post! I’ve got a huge lemon balm plant in my garden and I’ve never known what to do with it. I love herbal teas, so will definitely try infusing the leaves. I love the sound of your ginger lemon pate too!

    • Trinity May 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      That’s wonderful to hear Sharon – I’m delighted to hear that it inspired you. Lemon Balm is a real gem.
      x

  2. Drew Griffiths June 12, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    I love this for making a tea, I have it in work all the time. It helps relax me, important in a call centre ­čÖé

  3. Carol June 6, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Love all that is lemon. I have this huge plant that I cut a whole bunch from this morning. Will try the tea and definitely your Pate! I have been trying to plant more herbs that will help my bees become strong and healthy. The herbs have medicinal effects on the the bees too.

  4. Nikki November 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Thankyou yet again Trinity
    I rent so drag my little portable garden with me wherever i go. Herbs, flowers veg.
    My lemon balm is a new addition as of last year & I absolutely adore it. Its aroma is gorgeous & always grab some fresh lleaves crush in my hands & rub the oil over my arms etc then i use the leaves, as I do now with all my tea leave once used, to recycle, as an offering with some fresh ones, to the park in thanks & gratitude to the plant world, Gaia & all those before us, when I take my dog for play time, but never thought of putting it with all sorts of foods.
    I sooo an now
    Thankyou
    Namaste

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