Lemon Balm (for life and vitality)


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According to the London Dispensary of 1696,  "[Lemon] balm given every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain and relieve a languishing nature." 


Since April is our month for renewal, try some lemon balm to renew your zest for life and revive your spirit. In fact, April is a great time to sow lemon balm seeds (varying slightly depending on your part of the country or world). Or, if you're lazy like me, you can wait and buy plants like I did just the other day. I'm bringing it in at night since it's still a little cold when the sun goes down, and we haven't passed our last frost date.  Word of warning: lemon balm can take over if it's in a happy spot, so plant it in an area where you can allow it to wander, or keep it in a pot.

Lemon balm makes great sun tea, which is the primary way I use it. I have a large glass jar which I fill with water and numerous cuttings of lemon balm. Then I place tea bags (your choice) on top, seal and leave in a sunny spot outside for the day. This makes a refreshing beverage which has many beneficial properties as well. Many herbalists say there's no better tea for calming the nerves and lifting the spirits.

Traditionally, lemon balm has been used in water to wash cuts and scrapes, and in a tea as an expectorant and sedative. Lemon balm tea also regulates menstruation and induces sweating to relieve fevers, according to Master Herbalist, Jude Williams.

Paracelsus* would give lemon balm to patients as a general tonic, and it was believed to be an elixir of longevity. It relieves nervous tension and is often used for depression. Because its effects are mild and its taste is pleasant, it is often given to children for fevers, tummy aches and irritability. 

Lemon balm is even used in an ointment to relieve the symptoms of herpes simplex. Recent studies have shown it to be very effective for this purpose.

So, pick a good spot for planting lemon balm and enjoy its refreshing taste and many health benefits today.

*Paracelsus was a Swiss doctor and mystic in the sixteenth century who wandered from country to country learning the practical ways of nature, and whose philosophies had a significant impact on the medical practices of that day.

References

1. Tierra, M. The Way of Herbs (©1998)  

2. Williams, J. Jude's Herbal Home Remedies (©2003).

3. Wood, M. The Book of Herbal Wisdom ((©1997).
4. US National Library of Medicine, "Melissa officinalis oil affects infectivity of enveloped herpesviruses." 2008. 
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18693101
5. Encyclopedia Britannica 

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/442424/Paracelsus  

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™