Monday, July 18, 2016

Herb Corner: Lemon Balm

By Stephanie Kane, Local Purchasing Coordinator and Farm Market Manager
The tea section of our You Pick is full of herbs that have been used for centuries to gently ease symptoms and encourage overall health. All conveniently go very well together and are safe for frequent use, but many are contraindicated for pregnancy, so they should not be used without the guidance of an herbalist, especially in stronger doses.
This week, we’ll take a look at one to learn for about its historical use and different ways to prepare it. See our guide for how to make teas, tinctures, and salves. You can also attend one of our workshops to learn these different infusion methods.
This information should be used to promote health, not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Do your research, try some different applications, and discover what works for you!
Lemon Balm: "Gladdens the heart and brings light where there is darkness and softness where there is tension". I love this quote. Lemon Balm truly is joy in plant form.
The basics: Soothes anxiety, nervousness, and depression. Repairs the nervous system and good for digestive upset or insomnia due to stress.
Part used: Flowers and leaves.
Flavor: Lemon smell and taste, sweet, sour, aromatic.
Herb Friends: Pairs well with catnip & chamomile for calming effects, fennel for stomach upset
For Mood: hypertension and irritability associated with stress or hyperthyroidism. If depression or anxiety are attributed to nervousness, lemon balm can be a great ally.
Digestion: In addition, if this nervousness leads to stomach upset, it can be relaxing to digestive issues.
Nursing mothers: Lemon balm can be taken long with fennel and chamomile to help stimulate milk flow for nursing mothers.
Sleepytime Syrup: Make an infusion by combining lemon balm and chamomile leaves with water and simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half. Strain out the leaves, and mix with honey at a 2:1 ratio, infusion:honey. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Dose by the spoonful at night to help calm and relax everyone.
Fun Fact: Lemon Balm is a great plant for helping bee populations - it has been shown that the plant contains several compounds found in worker honeybees’ Nasonov gland, which helps bees communicate about food sources and hive location.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated with hypothyroidism (underactive) and in pregnancy, unless used under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

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