Lemon Balm – Hug in a mug

Lemon Balm – Hug in a mug

Lemon balm also known as Melissa is part of the mint family and has been used since ancient times when it was planted by the front door to drive away evil spirits.  In the middle ages it was used to prevent baldness.

This amazing herb with its delicious lemony scent is now flourishing in my garden and wild along the lane where I live.  Now is a great time to make use of it as it seems to lose many of its healing qualities when dried.

Regular consumption of this plant helps with palpitations, stress induced headaches, nervousness and stomach ache.  Lemon balm helps digestion with a calming, relaxing effect that help release tension.  It is also thought to be good for the memory, a range of allergies such as eczema and hay fever and to heal and prevent cold sores.

Containing tannin’s that have been found to be antiviral and antibacterial and helps to cure mild depression.  In fact my medical herbalist tutor described it as hug in a bottle uplifting the heart, mind and spirit.  The leaves rubbed on the skin act as a natural insect repellent and can also help alleviate pain from stings.

You can use this popular herb in a variety of ways including popping the fresh leaves into fruit or green salads.

Make a delicious refreshing tea by pouring 1 pint of boiling water over 1oz of balm, infuse for 15 minutes, stir and drink. You can also add a little lemon peel or juice to make a delicious summer drink.

Why not create a bath concoction to help you relax before bedtime as it has a tranquilising effect and can also help with sleep disorders.  Bring to the boil and simmer 10 tablespoons of leaves in 1 quart of water, steep for about 10 minutes, strain and add to the bath water.