Lemon Balm; A Calming Herb – Part 2

Yesterday’s post, ‘Lemon Balm; Part One’ was discovering that Lemon Balm has mild sedative properties. It helps with all types of ailments but my focus is as a natural sleep aid. Many people believe lemon balm has calming effects so they take it for anxiety, sleep problems and restlessness. Lemon balm is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and rapid heartbeat due to nervousness.
Please see Part 1 to review the clinical findings.
Today we are going to learn tips on how to grow your own Lemon Balm and some recipes that include this healing herb.

If you’d like to grow your own, it is easy to start from seed sown in the Spring and early Fall. It prefers partial shade but will grow in full sun. It is a hardy perennial that belongs to the mint family and looks very similar with light green ridges leaves. It is best to harvest before it goes to seed.

A handful of fresh lemon balm and mint make a lovely tea – hot or iced. It can also be used in place of lemon peel in a recipe.
To harvest, cut the whole stems within a few inches of the base of the plant, gather in groups of 5-6 stems, tie and hang in warm, airy location. When dry, strip off leaves, store in a covered container and use as needed.
Taken from oldfashionedliving.com

For more detailed growing instructions see the NC Cooperative Extension Program guidelines at http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/hil/hil-126.html

See recipes below that include lemon balm leaves:

Lemon Balm Vinaigrette
3 TBSP olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
6-8 lemon balm leaves
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 TBSP wine vinegar
Stack Lemon Balm leaves together, roll and with a knife cut in thin strips, then chop very fine. Combine with other ingredients and serve over steamed veggies or raw mixed salad.

Lemon Astringent
1 TBSP fresh lemon balm
1 C witch hazel
Combine ingredients in a tight fitting jar. Allow to steep for 1 week, then strain. Use 1 tsp per application on a cotton ball. Refrigerate if you wish.

Lemon Herb Butter
2 TBSP lemon balm, finely chopped
2 TBSP thyme, finely chopped
1 C butter, softened
Cream butter, stir in herbs. Chill for at least 3 hours to infuse flavors. Use with chicken, seafood and vegetables.

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