Herbal Medicine Spotlights -> Lemon Balm

Dr. Carrie Wine at Rooted in Health will be spotlighting a new herb each week in the foyer at Sycamore Square in Bellingham (1200 Harris Ave). Come join her from 12 to 1pm each Thursday this summer to learn about the weekly herb. After the event, she will post some information about the herb here in case you missed it. Herbal medicine is just one of the tools that naturopathic doctors use to create personalized health plans.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm.jpg

Indications: Aids in reducing anxiety and stress; can aid digestion;  may be helpful for relief of headaches. This herb also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Lemon balm cream can also be used in the treatment of cold sores (HSV).

Safety/contraindications: considered generally safe but should be used cautiously and under the care of a physician with pregnancy and hypothyroidism.  May interact with barbiturate drugs.

Ways to use the herb:

  • Add 1 tablespoon dried herb to a cup of boiling hot water, cover cup and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy hot or iced

  • Add fresh leaves to salad greens or use for making salad dressing

  • Place several fresh leaves in cold water bottle and enjoy as an all day herbal infusion - add lemon for extra flavor if you prefer. Add ice or keep chilled to help it stay fresh longer.

  • Lemon balm popsicles for kiddos


Recipes:

Lemon Balm Pesto:

Adapted from a recipe from Sarah Mace and Doug Wolfe

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup lemon balm leaves

  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Optional: 1 tsp fresh chives

Place in food processor and blend until smooth. Use on vegetables, pasta, fish and enjoy!

Lemon Balm Popsicles:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon balm or 2 tbsp dried

  • 2 1/2 cups water

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup raw honey* (or substitute with 1/2 cup apple juice or blueberry juice - if you do, use 2 cups of water for brewing)

Directions:

Place the lemon balm, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat off and set it aside until completely cool. Drain, then stir in the lemon juice and raw honey. Pour into popsicle molds and set in the freezer overnight.

Servings: 6-8 popsicles

Optional: Can add 1 tsp fresh grated ginger for a little kick in flavor.

*Children under 1 year old should not consume honey, use apple juice instead)




References:

“Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth” - Dr. Sharol Marie Tilgner

“Lemon Balm: Professional Monograph” - Natural Medicines (herb and supplement professional database)

“Prescription for Herbal Healing” - Phyllis A. Balch CNC