By Carly Klassen and Alex Jean from Simply Alex Jean
Do you have a special relationship with a plant? Something that has called to you? For me, lemon balm is one of those plants that has cropped up spontaneously in the past few places I’ve lived.
I read not too long ago that plants often grow where you need them to. (I’m sure that I read this in the book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, but my recent searches have me hardpressed to find where exactly I synthesized that idea from.) I looked up what lemon balm was traditionally used for and the first thing that came up for me was stress and anxiety. I think that those two things are a likely culprit for many of us, but for me it felt meaningful.
A call to wake up and start actively managing some of the challenges that were causing me that stress and anxiety.
In this blog we explore some of the benefits of lemon balm and feature the products that we make with lemon balm.
Growing Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a wonderful perennial plant that is from the mint family. The Lemon balm plant emits a light lemon scent and can have white flowers during the summer months. It's best to plant lemon balm in the spring, following the last frost. To harvest lemon balm, you can remove a couple small leaves, or using gardening sheers to cut leaves from the centre stem. Once harvested, you can use lemon balm it in various herbal and natural products.
Lemon balm can be grown in your own garden and is a fairly low maintenance plant. It requires regular watering, prefers moist soil and, once established, it becomes hearty with less water over time. As lemon balm is in the mint family, it can help to keep away bugs and pests away from your plants. If you are someone who plants a garden, or has plants that are prone to attract pests, lemon balm is a good companion plant. Lemon balm can grow quite a bit and can become a bit invasive, depending on your garden and its needs.
Lemon Balm medicinal uses
Curious about lemon balm uses and medicinal benefits? Lemon balm is considered a calming herb that dates back to the Middle Ages with being noted as helping with reducing stress, anxiety, promote sleep, reduce stress, lessen toothache pain, improve appetite, ease pain, help reduce menstrual cramping, and reduce discomfort from gas, bloating and colic. It has also been noted naturally as having antiviral properties helping to heal cold sores and reduce the symptoms. Today, lemon balm is still used for natural and medicinal purposes by individuals. It is considered safe, and nontoxic for short term use, and it’s encouraged to start with using a small amount of lemon balm at first.
In fairness, there is not an overwhelming amount of scientific research behind these claims; lemon balm should not be used for medical conditions without speaking to a medical professional. Lemon balm does not replace medical advice or prescribed medications and treatments from a medical professional.
Lemon Balm at home uses
Can you ingest lemon balm? Yes, you can! Lemon balm adds a lemon scent and taste to different recipes or drinks. Before ingesting lemon balm, ensure you thoroughly clean it and do your research on harvesting and ingesting the leaves. You can use a couple lemon balm leaves in water to infuse it with a natural lemon flavour. You can also add a couple leaves to your salad to add some mild lemon flavour. It can be used to make tea, infused into pesto and spreads, or as a seasoning on meats such as chicken. There are lots of great recipe ideas - give it a quick google search to see how you can incorporate it into your cooking.
Lemon balm leaves can be combined with carrier oils to produce a lemon balm oil, this oil can then be used into various products. It is often made into a lip balm, salve, and spray.
Lemon Balm Products
Looking for an easy way at home to enjoy lemon balm without needing to grow it or spend time making products. At The Sage Soap Company we’ve got two wonderful products!
If you're looking for a natural way to help you with getting ready for bed and ready for sleep, draw a nice warm bath and add in some Forest Bath Salts which uses dried lemon balm.
Are you taking some time this summer to be outside, and not a fan of the bugs that come with the great outdoors? Or planning a trip outside of the city and enjoying some wooded areas? You'll want to check out the Botanical Bug Repellent, as it also contains lemon balm hydrosol that we make in our workshop.
Lemon balm is a wonderful plant that is packed with great benefits for you, and your garden! Be sure to check out our lemon balm products! I'm a big fan of the botanical spray as I'm someone who is often attractive to bugs in the summer!