Lemon balm | Medical Benefits | Gardening Tips | How to eat | Side Effects
Lemon balm offers a variety of health benefits, such as decreasing anxiety and stress, improving sleep, and helping digestion. The perennial plant thrives in soil that is well-drained and has a lot of sunlight. For eating, you can include fresh leafy greens in teas and salads or serve them as garnish. The effects of this herb are not common but could include stomach upsets that are mild or allergic reactions for some people.
What Parts of Lemon Balm are Medicinal?
Leaves of the lemon balm Melissa officinalis (Lamiaceae) are utilized in Iranian folk medicine due to their digestive, carminative, antispasmodic, sedative tonic, diuretic, and carminative properties, and also for treating gastrointestinal problems that can be functional.
Leaves: The Powerhouse of Medicinal Properties
Due to its medicinal benefits, the lemon balm leaves are the most renowned and used part of the plant. They are rich in flavonoids, essential oils, and phenolic compounds. Lemon balm leaves provide many health benefits. Here are some most important medicinal benefits of lemon balm’s leaves
Calming and Relaxation
Lemon balm leaves are famous for their soothing effects on your nervous system. The natural substances inside the leaves, including flavonoids and rosmarinic acid, can help promote relaxation, lessen anxiety, and increase sleep quality. Adding lemon balm tea or extracts in your daily routine could help reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm.
The lemon balm leaves are traditionally utilized for digestion. The essential oils within the leaf, which include citronellal and eugenol, have carminative properties that help to soothe the digestive tract, relieve bloating, and help ease stomach pain. Consuming lemon balm tea or adding it to your diet can aid in improving digestion.
Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Effects
Lemon balm leaves are rich in antioxidants like caffeic acid and ferulic acids, which fight inflammation and oxidative stress within the body. This makes lemon balm an excellent herb for improving overall health and boosting immunity.
Flowers: Delicate and Therapeutic
Although they aren’t as widely employed as leaves, the lemon balm flower is therapeutic. They are scented with a lighter scent than the leaves, yet they have benefits on their own. Here are some ways that lemon balm flowers could be used for their therapeutic benefits:
The blossoms of lemon balm contain essential oils, which have been traditionally used to help promote healthy skin. They have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. This makes them useful in treating skin infections and various skin-related ailments. Lemon balm preparations containing extracts can help to soothe and rejuvenate the skin.
The delicate aroma of lemon balm flowers can have an uplifting and refreshing effect on mood. Aromatherapy uses the scent is commonly used to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mood fluctuations. Incorporating lemon balm flower extracts or essential oils in diffusers or personal products can help achieve an overall more peaceful emotional state.
Essential Oil: Concentrated Wellness
The essential oil of lemon balm comes from flowers and leaves that are part of this plant. It is a very concentrated herb version and provides numerous therapeutic benefits. Here are a few important benefits of the essential oil lemon balm:
Due to its rich content of soothing substances, The essential oil of lemon balm is extensively used in aromatherapy to reduce stress. The refreshing aroma of lemon balm will help to relax, improve spirits, and relieve tension.
The essential oil of lemon balm has been researched for its potential benefits to the brain. It is believed to enhance concentration, memory, and general cognitive performance. The oil’s diffusing or application on the skin (properly dissolving it) could help to improve mental clarity and focus.
Cold Sore Treatment
Antiviral qualities of the essential oil lemon balm are a common natural treatment for cold sores caused by the herpes virus. Applying topically diluted versions of the oil can ease discomfort, aid in healing, and reduce the likelihood of outbreaks.
How to Grow Lemon Balm?
It is important to water your plants regularly before and after planting. Pick a site for planting in light shade or sun and in damp soil that drains well. The lemon balm plant can also be planted in large pots filled with soil-based compost. A 20cm (8in) container is perfect.
Choosing the Right Location
For the best development that your plant gets plant, choosing the best location is essential. Lemon balm thrives under full sun. Therefore, you should choose a location in your yard with at least six or 8 hours of bright light throughout the day. In addition, it prefers well-drained soil that has a pH range that is between 6.0 and 7.5. If your soil appears a bit heavy or clay-like, add organic matter like compost to help improve drainage.
Beginning with Seeds or Seedlings
There are two options for starting your journey with lemon balm Seeds or seedlings. If you begin with seeds, plant the seeds indoors around 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. The seeds of lemon balm are small; therefore, it is best to plant them on top of the soil or in a seed-starting mixture, pressing the seeds in but not completely covered. Keep the soil damp and warm (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius) until seeds begin to germinate.
You can also select seeds from the garden center or nursery. They have established plants that can be replanted directly into your garden when the risk of frost is gone. Seedlings are an excellent option for those who want to skip the germination procedure and experience immediate results.
Planting and Spacing
If your lemon balm seedlings have reached about 2 inches in height or purchased seedlings from a nursery, now is the time to plant the seeds in your backyard. Get the soil prepared by loosening it using the garden fork or tiller and then removing any debris or weeds.
The lemon balm plants should be spaced between 12 and 24 inches apart to give them space to grow. Make sure that all the surrounding soil is adequately moist throughout the planting process to promote strong root structures.
Watering and Maintenance
Lemon balm needs constant watering to flourish. The plants should be watered regularly in order to keep your soil damp but not overly waterlogged. Be aware not to drown the plants because excessive moisture could cause root rot.
Regular weeding is crucial to avoid competition for nutrients and to ensure that the plant is growing at its best. Spread a layer of organic mulch on the plants in order to reduce the growth of weeds as well as retain moisture.
Harvesting Lemon Balm
The appeal of growing lemon balm is the possibility of harvesting its leaves and relishing its aroma. When your lemon balm plants have grown to an average height of 12 inches, it is time to begin harvesting the leaves.
With a pair of sharp garden shears or scissors, chop the leaves one by one as well as cut the stem above the leaf node. This will encourage the plant to spread out and creates a more bushy growing habit. Make sure you leave enough greenery for the plant to support the growth.
Utilizing Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has a variety of uses in both the medical and culinary realms. The fresh leaves are able to impart a zingy lemony taste to salads, teas, desserts, and sauces. It is also possible to make them dry for later usage by hanging them upside-down in a room that is well-ventilated.
For medicinal purposes, Lemon balm is well-known for its soothing properties. It can be made into a relaxing tea that can help alleviate stress, improve relaxation, and promote sleeping. Lemon balm can also be applied topically in the form of oils infused with lemon balm or salves to ease minor wounds and skin irritations.
Can You Eat Lemon Balm Raw?
As a principle, you should treat lemon balm like every other herb you can think of. It’s particularly good as a substitute for mint, offering vibrant and fragrant notes. Sprinkle the entire lemon balm leaf on your green salads or chiffonade leaves and sprinkle them on a salad to add a zesty flavor.
The Versatility of Lemon Balm
The lemon balm plant is a multi-faceted herbal that may be consumed in many different ways. While it is most commonly consumed in fresh or dried form, it is also a great raw option. It has a distinctive flavor that is citrusy with hints of mint and is a wonderful ingredient in many food items and drinks.
Health Benefits of Lemon Balm
Beyond its culinary applications, Lemon balm is also known for numerous health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants and could help safeguard the body from oxidative stress and promote overall health. In addition, lemon balm is renowned for its potential to soothe and may assist in reducing stress and encouraging relaxation.
Culinary Uses of Raw Lemon Balm
If you’re eating lemon balm raw, it is essential to remember that its leaves constitute the frequently consumed component of this herb. Here are some wonderful ways to incorporate lemon balm into your cooking dishes:
Fresh Salads and Dressings
Chop or tear off a bunch of leaves from lemon balm. Sprinkle them over salads to give them a blast of citrusy taste. It is also possible to mix lemon balm leaves in homemade dressings to give them an energizing twist.
Herbal Infusions and Teas
Take freshly cut lemon balm in boiling water to create an infusion of herbal comfort. The aromatic tea is delicious as a stand-alone drink or with other herbs, such as lavender or chamomile, for an exquisite blend.
Finely chop the lemon balm leaves, then incorporate them into your favorite dessert recipes. From fruit sorbets and salads to cookies and cakes, the herb can impart an appealing lemony flavor to your desserts.
Incorporate some lemon balm leaves into your water pitcher lemonade, lemonade, or iced tea for a refreshing, fragrant twist. The herb can enhance the flavor of your drinks and make them more enjoyable.
Growing Your Own Lemon Balm
If you’re interested in the idea of using fresh lemon balm in your cooking, think about making your own. The lemon balm plant is a sturdy plant that thrives in all conditions and can be grown in both containers and gardens. Make sure it gets enough sunlight and well-drained soil that promotes healthy development.
Precautions and Considerations
Although it is considered safe to consume, however, it is important to use cautiousness and moderate consumption. If you suffer from any medical condition or are taking medications, it’s recommended to seek advice from a medical professional prior to including lemon balm in your diet. Also, breastfeeding or pregnant women need to be cautious and seek advice from a medical professional prior to eating lemon balm.
How Much Lemon Balm is Safe?
Dosing. The herb, which is known as lemon balm, is generally taken at 1.5 to 4.5 grams per day. Doses of 600 – 1,600 mg of extract have been tested in clinical trials. A standardized mixture that contains Lemon balm (80 mg) and valerian extract (160 mg) is administered daily, 2 or 3 times per day, to aid sleep, and it has also been investigated in children.
Safety Considerations and Potential Side Effects
Lemon balm is to be safe for the majority of people if used in the appropriate doses; there are a few things to keep in your mind.
Allergies and Sensitivities
Certain people may be suffering from sensitivities or allergies in the presence of lemon balm. If you notice any reactions that are allergic such as swelling, itching, or breathing problems, stop the use immediately and immediately seek medical treatment.
Interactions with medications
Lemon balm can be a drug interaction for certain medicines such as thyroid medications, sedatives, and HIV medicines. If you’re taking any prescription drugs, it is crucial to speak with your physician prior to incorporating lemon-scented balms into your daily routine.
Drowsiness and Sedation
Lemon balm is mild sedative properties. It can induce drowsiness. This is especially true when used in higher doses or when combined with other sedatives. Avoid using heavy machinery or driving if you are feeling excessively exhausted after drinking lemon balm.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There isn’t much research on the dangers of lemon balm during nursing and pregnancy. It is recommended to stay on the safe side and stay clear of lemon balm when you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Ask your healthcare professional for individualized advice.
Children and Lemon Balm
The use of lemon balm on infants and young children isn’t established. It is recommended to talk with an experienced pediatrician prior to using lemon balm in infants.