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Monday, June 1, 2009

Lemon Balm

Getting to know your friendly neighborhood herbs: Lemon Balm

Marisa bought some lemon balm at a local farmer’s market and it seems to be a very strong and beautiful plant. Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and its leaves impart a nice lemon favor similar to lemongrass. Like most members of the mint family, lemon balm is considered a weed because of its ability to take over a garden. For this reason it is good to plant it in a pot or a secluded area in your yard. It does well in partial sun but can dry out in full sun exposure. It is also best used fresh as it loses a lot of its flavor after it is dried. What can you use it for?

Insomnia and Anxiety

According to the book “Country Wisdom and Know How” it can be mixed with extract of valerian and used as a sleep aid. Studies have shown it to be as powerful as pharmaceutical sleep medications.


Lemon Balm can be used to make a tea. Today the tea is taken to treat colds and flu, lower blood pressure and for insomnia and indigestion. To make the tea, steep one Tablespoon of fresh leaves in a mug of boiling water. For a spicy kick you can add a little ginger or if you prefer your tea sweet add some honey.


Lemon balm can be used a s substitute to recipes that call for lemon grass or lemon zest. You can add it to chicken as you roast it. We have added lemon balm leaves to salads for a nice citrus kick. We will share recipes using lemon balm in the future on this site.

Even if you don’t use it for any of these purposes I think it is a beautiful, dark green plant that would be attractive as ground cover. Find some at your local farmers market and see if you can find other uses for it.



Little Ant said...

Great info on this plant. Herbs are a subject I am sorely uninformed about and need to brush up on. Thanks.

TheMartianChick said...

Thanks for posting this. We have lemon balm in our backyard. It really does have the ability to take over, but I have always meant to find a use for some of it. Maybe I will dry some for the winter.

Jennifer said...

Is that what you had in the lemonade at your house on Wednesday? I meant to ask you what imparted that special zip, I thought it was mint. Yum!

marisa said...

It was mint, Tressa made it. The mint was from her garden.

mike said...


We have only had lemon balm this year so we haven't ever dried it. However, while doing my research, I did read a few times that this herb does not dry well and is best used fresh. That seem to be a downside to it vs some other herbs.

Candace said...

I have some steeping in vodka for a tincture, as we speak. It's such a great and vesatile herb!