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Herb Spotlight: Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)

by Kristie Nackord (Spirit Horse Herbals)

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Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)

Fragrant and delicious all wrapped up in one!

Lemon Balm is a delicious culinary and medicinal herb generally used to calm and relax the nervous system. As a very gentle, sedative herb, enjoy a cup of Lemon Balm tea combined with other herbs like Chamomile and Oatstraw, and feel the stress of the day fade away. Lemon Balm aids in gastrointestinal relief and can be used as a remedy for headaches, depression, and insomnia. Lemon Balm is also a delightful flavoring agent that can be used to enhance the taste of anything that might require a zing of lemon flavor! It is a great addition to salads, soups, chicken, and fish dishes.

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Lemon Balm is a perennial herb that grows in many different types of gardens, including the high-altitude (8,300 feet!) gardens of Spirit Horse Herbals. Throughout the winter the Spirit Horse lemon balm lives under 6-feet of snow which provides the spring moisture that Lemon Balm loves. It is an easy-to-care-for herb that is part of the mint family. In some gardens it will take OVER, so be mindful if that is what you don't want! I, on the otherhand, can't get enough of it! Lemon Balm likes some shade and I try to grow it next to taller plants such as Echinacea or Valerian that eventually will shield it from the late afternoon sun. You can harvest your Lemon Balm throughout the growing season and it will grow back with vigor! Clip down and leave 2-3 inches of stem and leaves on the plant. You can dry it or use it fresh. Because of its high level of essential oils, Lemon Balm stores well.

For a calming and relaxing tea, blend Lemon Balm with Chamomile, Lavender, and Oatstraw. Or, instead of using lemon peel to flavor your meat or veggie's, throw in some Lemon Balm leaves and enjoy the burst of lemon flavor!

Tags

lemon balm, Herbs, herbs for your garden, tea garden

comments

Lemon balm is a wonderful herb! I planted it in my first garden and loved it - you are right though, it is a vigorous spreader. I made tea with it and in general just loved crushing a few leaves in my hand in the garden for it&#x27;s heavenly smell. I don&#x27;t have any currently, I have lemon verbena instead, but I might need to make some room for the lemon balm again! Thanks for the post! <br/>
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gardengirl commented on 05/05/10
Glad we can connect here on Dig the Dirt! Antique roses...now that is something I would love to learn about from you! Roses are good medicine! I brew them into my teas often! <br/> <br/>Thank you for your compliments. I truly do feel I am LIVING my dream life, not just dreaming about it anymore. I hope to inspire people to remember that it is totally and absolutely possible!
Sprite
Spirit Horse Herbals commented on 05/03/10
You give such great information about herbs. I looked at your shop and it looks like you have made a business out of your passion. What a great way to live your life. Take care.
Sprite
HeartOfTexas commented on 05/03/10
This sounds like a great cooking herb... I am picturing it with some grilled marinated chicken... YUM! I haven&#x27;t grown this this year as I was trying to see what the chocolate mint was like, but could probably stick one of these on their own somewhere.... need more space!
Sprite
FigTree commented on 05/03/10
Oh, I LOVE chocolate mint. So good! And banana mint, apple mint...I mean, MINT all the way!
Sprite
Spirit Horse Herbals replied: on 05/04/10
I have heard that plants in the mint world have a mind of their own, but someone told me if you plant it in the ground in a pot with the bottom cut out it controls it a bit...
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nematode commented on 05/03/10
Thanks for the tip!
Sprite
Spirit Horse Herbals replied: on 05/03/10

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