Lemon Balm (or Melissa) is an easy to grow perennial which will attract bees to your garden. It likes to rich soil and a little shade. Lemon balm has been used in traditional medicine for more than two thousand years.
Lemon Balm Tea
Traditionally hot lemon balm tea can help to soothe an upset stomach, combat indigestion, anxiety and stress. It may also lessen some of the symptoms of coughs and colds.
To make lemon balm tea place a handful of clean, fresh leaves in a small tea pot. Pour over enough just boiled water to cover the leaves. Place the lid on the tea pot and leave to steep for at least five minutes. Strain. Sweeten with a little honey if needed.
Cold Sore Treaments
Some studies indicate that lip balm made with lemon balm infused oil may help to lessen the symptoms and reduce healing time for cold sores.
Details of how to make an infused oil are here. Simply use lemon balm leaves in place of calendula petals.
You can use this simple recipe for lip balm. In a small double boiler or microwave-proof jug slowly and gently heat 30mls of lemon balm infused oil with 7g of beeswax and 7g of cocoa butter. Once melted add 3 drops each of tea tree essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Pour into a small, clean jar and allow to cool. Makes approximately 1/4 cup of balm.
Take a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves and rub over the surface of wooden furniture. The oil in the leaves nourishes the wood and leaves behind a subtle lemon fragrance.
Fresh leaves can help to relieve the itching of insect bites.
Keep Moths Away
I haven't tried this yet, but bundles of lemon balm leaves placed in a wardrobe or cupboard are supposed to keep moths away.
Lemon Balm Vinegar
Fill a large jar 3/4 full with fresh, clean lemon balm leaves. Pour in enough Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar to cover the leaves. Seal the jar with a non-metallic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to break down and corrode over time). Store in a cool dark place for 6 to 8 weeks.
The infused vinegar can be used as a rinse for greasy hair and works well in homemade salad dressing adding a subtle lemony flavour.
CAUTION: avoid using lemon balm if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have an under-active thyroid.
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