Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm!  It has been ages since I've added a new post, but a great workshop on lemon balm at the International Herb Symposium presented by Mimi Hernandez had such great information I just had to share.  I for one take my lemon balm for granted and often curse at it as it pops up all over the garden, never where I want it, and can easily take over a whole bed if I'm not careful.  So its easy to forget what a wonderful  herb this is and why it should be all over the garden.

I thought I knew a lot about lemon balm but as with all herbs, there is always more to learn.  The botanical name, Melissa, is Greek for honeybee.  I learned that lemon balm planted around bee hives keep bees happy, and also repels flies and mosquitos.

I often use lemon balm as an effective nervine for anxiety and sleep but learned that its relaxant properties are also helpful with hypertension, irritable bowel and colic. 

Research being done on lemon balm shows effectiveness in cognitive improvement and can be helpful with Alzheimers.

Lemon balm also helps with thyroid activity and is beneficial for hyperthyroidism.  There seems to be conflicting views about its effects on hypothyroidism, some say it has a negative effect by dropping TSH and others that it has a balancing effect on the thyroid and regulates it.  Seems like there needs to be more studies in this area.

And to top it off, lemon balm is antiviral helping with flu, measles, shingles and herpes.  A tincture can be made at a 45% alcohol level.  It has a relatively short shelf life so it was recommended that tincture be made fresh every year.

And check out Mimi's website and her One World Healing Community, www.mimihernandez.com.  She's a great teacher and a wealth of information.

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