The Benefits of Lemon Balm

“Lemon balm causeth the heart and mind to become merry.”
—Avicenna, physician and philosopher (970-1037)

Plants are naturally designed to take care of us, as they contain many of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

I am a huge fan of lemon balm and am on a personal mission is to inspire everyone to grow and use it. A member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, lemon balm has vibrant green heart-shaped leaves with toothed margins and a bright lemony scent and flavor. Lemon balm is sometimes called sweet balm, sweet Mary, Melissa, balm mint, blue balm, gentle balm, honey leaf, honey plant, or heart’s delight. It is one of my very favorite perennials in my garden and I find myself dividing my plants every year to grow more.

Beneficial Properties and Common Uses

Rich in vitamins and minerals, lemon balm has many beneficial attributes including antimicrobial, antiviral, and mild antidepressant properties can be used to naturally support those with headaches, digestive issues, nausea, abdominal paint, menstrual cramps, anxiety, and mild depression when ingested as an herbal tea or used in aromatherapy. When used topically, it naturally supports those with bee and wasp stings and skin conditions such as ulcers, wounds, scratches, scrapes, and cold sores. As a gentle nervine, it is safe to use on children. It can be infused in honey and used as a calming nighttime syrup to calm and rejuvenate the nervous system and promote peaceful sleep in both children and adults. Lemon balm is used to naturally improve memory and concentration and is used to support those with Alzheimer’s disease and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.)

Lemon Balm in the Garden

In the garden, lemon balm is a natural insect repellant, protecting your crops from garden pests, and is deer and rabbit resistant. I recommend distributing it throughout your entire garden and placing pots of it near outdoor seating and dining areas, but keep in mind that your plant will grow bushier each year.

Lemon balm only needs partial sun (3-5 hours daily) to grow and is a good companion to basil, dill, and nasturtium. It deters cabbage moths, mosquitoes and gnats, so I recommend planting it by itself in a pot that can be easily moved to tabletops and near seating areas to keep mosquitos from disrupting your garden parties.

Lemon Balm in the Kitchen and Home

In the kitchen, lemon balm can be used to make a delicious and refreshing batch of lemonade or add to other iced drinks. I most enjoy using lemon balm as a garnish for cocktails and salads, and making candied lemon balm chips and decorate cookies with them.

Around the home, lemon balm is a rejuvenating addition to herbal bath bundles and bath soaks, and makes a fragrant addition to floral arrangements. It can also be used to make natural mosquito repellant sprays.

Precautionary Note: Lemon balm has been known to lower thyroid levels, so refrain from using it if you have thyroid disease. 

Ready to take your herbal journey to the next level and expand your knowledge of how plants can nourish, soothe, and support?  I encourage you to consider the herbal courses offered by The Herbal Academy.

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you.

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