Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, is a fragrant perennial plant that is a member of the mint family, and it is cultivated in the United States, Europe and Canada. With an aromatic and fresh scent that combines the odors of mint and lemon, Lemon Balm is a favorite addition to culinary dishes, tea, and body care products. This plant is so vigorous and easy to grow that Smile Herb Shop owner Tom Wolfe recommends it as the first plant for new herb gardeners to try. The leaves of this lovely plant and the essential oil derived from them are both used medicinally.
Lemon Balm has many uses, and is a favorite of lots of herbalists. Here are a few ways to introduce this herb to your self-care routine.
1: Topical Ointment
Diluted Lemon Balm essential oil can relieve the pain from an insect bite or sting. You can also apply this natural ointment to small lacerations or scrapes as a natural anti-microbial. Lemon Balm is considered a powerful anti-viral, and can be used to treat warts, cold sores, and other viral skin eruptions.
2: As a Mild Sedative
To promote sleep or soothe frayed nerves, you can enjoy a cup of hot Lemon Balm leaf tea. The fresh or dried leaves can be used, but Lemon Balm is so easy to grow, why not use the fresh? The dried leaves can be tied into a sachet and placed underneath your pillow at night to promote restful sleep. Lemon Balm is particularly good for fussy children, as it is safe, soothing, and has a flavor that most children enjoy.
3: Soothing Dry and Sensitive Skin
If you have dry or sensitive skin, Lemon Balm essential oil can be a great addition to your skincare regimen. Added to lotion or bath oil, Lemon Balm soothes, moisturizes, and protects dry itchy skin.
4: Relieving an Upset Stomach
Hot Lemon Balm tea is a great treatment for upset stomachs and mild nausea, especially when the upset is caused by tension. Again, it’s a great treatment for children as well as adults. A favorite tea blend for “nervous tummies” is equal parts Lemon Balm, Chamomile, and Lavender.
5: Increasing Mental Alertness
Lemon Balm can be taken internally for concentration and focus as a capsule, extract or tea. Some supplements are specially formulated to help with Attention Deficit Disorder and general restlessness. Used in an aromatherapy diffuser, Lemon Balm essential oil is a great choice to use in rooms where you work or study to increase mental alertness and concentration.
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