As an herbal remedy, lemon balm may be best known for its antiviral properties capable of tackling cold sores associated with the herpes simplex virus. Melissa officinalis is a hardy perennial of the Lamiaceae family with aromatic lemon-scented leaves. It has a long history of medicinal use in the Ayurvedic tradition, balancing the nervous system and calming the stomach; it’s also well known to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), where it’s considered energetically cooling and drying.
Melissa is a nervine relaxant and a mild sedative that can be incredibly useful for those who tend toward anxiety and nervousness, or when fried nerves are preventing you from relaxing and getting a proper night’s sleep. Nervine relaxants can be used by most people throughout the day without any major side eﬀects such as grogginess, low energy, or drowsiness. They help cut down on tension and smooth out the rough edges.
Like other members of the mint family, lemon balm is also a great anti-inflammatory and digestive aid. There’s even evidence that it may help to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Tea may be the simplest way to take your lemon balm, but it’s certainly not the only way to do it! Try adding a few tablespoons of chopped, fresh lemon balm leaves to fruit salads to impart a lovely, lemony flavor. Or infuse some champagne vinegar with lemon balm, and combine it with olive oil for a faux-citrus salad dressing. The sky’s the limit!
In this recipe, we’ve put together a tasty and uplifting lemon balm liqueur that would work well as a special nightcap or a base ingredient in an herbal cocktail. Guilt free of course. Cheers to our health! ??
- Simple Syrup:
- 1 c white granulated sugar
- 1⁄2 c water
- 2 1⁄2 tsp dried lemon balm
- sliced and scraped peel of 1⁄4 lemon
- a pinch of coriander
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 2 peppermint leaves
- 1 c vodka
- 1/2 c simple syrup (recipe below)
- To make the simple syrup, bring water to a simmer, and stir until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. (Always cool before adding to alcohol mixture.)
- Place liqueur ingredients into a bottle and steep 3 weeks, shaking jar daily.
- Strain and filter into a dark bottle, adding more sugar to taste; mature for 2 months.