I’ve been gardening a lot more lately, mainly because I have so much time on my hands since getting progressively worse with my illness. I enjoy it though. It’s nice to spend some time out in the sun, nurturing my plants and growing food and herbs which also helps save some money since my monthly expenses have gone up with all my medications and doctor visits.
One of the things I’ve been growing is lemon balm. It has a number of health benefits and has a lovely lemon-mint taste. It helps with colds, flu, fevers, and helps lower blood pressure. It also contains chemicals that help with headaches, stomach upset and relaxes your muscles. It has sedative properties to help with mild insomnia and it’s great for anxiety and depression. Avicenna, the 11th-century Arab physician, wrote that lemon balm “causeth the mind and heart to become merry.” Sign me up!
Tea is only one way to get the health benefits of lemon balm, but it is easy to do. Just follow the steps below.
- Place 2 tsp of fresh lemon balm leaves into a mug. Fill with boiling water. You can leave the leaves whole or cut them to release more of the oils into the water.
- Steep the tea. The flavor will be more intense the longer your steep. A normal range is 5 to 10 minutes of steeping. Much longer and the tea will become cool.
- You can add other herbs to your lemon balm tea, such as mint or lemon grass. Also, you can add honey, stevia, or lemon juice. Just add a bit to make the flavor to fit your tastes.
Cold Lemon Balm Tea
If hot liquids are not appealing to you, try making your tea double strength then putting it over ice. Or place the leaves in a large jar of cold water and leave the jar in the sun. Over the course of a day it will steep into rich sun tea. Serve over ice.
Other Ways to Use Lemon Balm
Lemon balm can be used as a flavoring for various foods. Try cutting up leaves and add them to your salads, or place a sprig on desserts. Also, you can sprinkle dried leaves into soups or over meats.
Give it a try! I think you’ll really like the lemony minty taste. It’s great for spring and summer drinks.