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How To Use Lemon Balm

>3 April 2012
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how to use lemon balm

Last year, I started a few lemon balm plants from seed. Boy, have they come back like crazy this year! These plants are gorgeous! And I just love to rub the leaves between my fingers and smell them. Yummy.

But now that I have this beautiful plant gracing my flowerbed with its citrus-y fragrance, what do I do with it?

Here’s how to use lemon balm for cooking, natural healing, cleaning, cosmetics, and more…

 

Roasted Lemon Balm Chicken

Handful of fresh lemon balm leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup or so of fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large roasting chicken
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Trim herb leaves from stems; wash and pat dry. Set sprigs aside. Chop two-thirds of the leaves, and combine with the butter, salt, and pepper. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Loosen the skin in several places and insert the herb butter underneath. Rub chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Insert the remaining herb sprigs into the cavity of the chicken. Place breast-side-down in a roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, then turn chicken over. Bake about 20 minutes longer.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Lemon Lover’s Tea

1/4 cup dried lemon balm leaves
2 tablespoons dried lemon thyme leaves
1/4 cup dried lemon verbena leaves
1/4 cup dried lemon geranium leaves
2 tablespoons dried lemon grass leaves
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms

Mix all together and use a tsp. or so per cup of boiling water. If you are missing any of the lemon herbs, just use more of the ones you do have.

Lemon Mint Sun Tea

1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup lemon balm
1/2 cup chamomile flowers
3 black tea bags

Place in a gallon container and add cold water to fill the jar. Set in the sun for several hours. Strain our tea and herbs. Pour over ice and refrigerate the leftovers. Sweeten with honey or sugar if desired.

Rose and Herb Tea

1/2 cup dried red rose petals (make sure no sprays were used)
2 tablespoons dried lemon balm
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Mix well. Use 1 teaspoon for each cup and pour boiling water over the herbs, then strain after 5 minutes or so. Sweeten as desired.

Lemon Balm Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons light olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
6-8 leaves lemon balm
Fresh black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons wine vinegar

Stack the lemon balm leaves together and roll, then with a very sharp knife cut thin strips, and then chop finely. Combine with the other ingredients and serve with steamed vegetables or mixed salad greens.

Lemon Orange Cheese Spread

2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh lemon balm

Blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the other ingredients. Chill overnight and serve at room temperature.

Lemon Herb Butter

2 tablespoons lemon balm, chopped fine
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped fine
1 cup butter, softened

Cream butter and stir in herbs. Chill for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Use with seafood or vegetables.

Thanks to Old Fashioned Living for sharing these recipes.

There are also a TON of other recipes on this forum. My favorite is the Lemon Balm Jelly and the Lemon Balm Tea Cake. Yum!

I’ll definitely be trying this Old Fashioned Lemon Balm Lemonade!

Ingredients:

4 lemons
1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups water
ice (optional)
2 -3 fresh sprigs lemon balm, to decorate

Scrub the lemons well. Peel the rind thinly, avoiding the white pith, and set aside the lemons.

Place the lemon rind, lemon balm leaves, and the sugar into a small heat-proof pitcher.

Pour the boiling water into the pitcher and stir well, crushing the lemon balm leaves to release their flavor.

Leave mixture to infuse for about 15 minutes.

Now, cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Strain juice into a large glass pitcher, add a few fresh sprigs of lemon balm, and add the cooled, strained syrup.

Top up with water or half-water half-ice, and chill until needed.

(Recipe and photo from Food.com)

How about sampling some Lemon Balm Ice Cream! Or try making Lemon Balm Pesto. So many recipes out there to try!

Lemon Balm also has medicinal uses as well!

Kimberly over at Learning Herbs has this to say about her experience with the plant:

Lemon Balm is relaxing and soothing for the nerves!

Not only that, it’s a great general tonic.

Being a mild, nutritive herb it’s great to use every day. While it calms anxiety it also acts to restore depleted energy and revitalize us. Lemon Balm can also act as a decongestant and antihistamine, helping with even chronic problems like asthma or allergies.

…it has an old reputation for enhancing understanding and memory.

Lemon Balm is also an anti-viral herb…

Sara at Superb Herbs had these interesting uses to share:

Lemon balm has many uses. As a cosmetic, it makes a good skin cleanser. Dry leaves are used in potpourri. It is reputed to repel insects and can be blended with other insect repelling herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, and rue. Rub down the kitchen table with the herbs to keep bugs from food and throw some in the campfire or barbeque pit to keep bugs away. Beekeepers have rubbed it on the inside of the hives to encourage a new swarm to stay.

Lemon balm makes both delicious beverage and medicinal teas. It is also nice added to black tea. Fresh leaves can be chopped and added to green salads, fruits salads, marinated vegetables, poultry stuffing, and fish marinades and sauces. It goes well with broccoli, asparagus, lamb, fish, and shellfish. Combine it with other lemon herbs such as lemon thyme, lemon basil, and lemon verbena and add to vinegar. It is one of the ingredients in Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs.

Medicinally lemon balm is used in tea for fevers, to help digestion, and for tension headache. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for depression, melancholy, and nervous tension. Externally in salve, it has been effective in relieving symptoms of herpes simplex, sores, and painful swellings. A compress is good for gout. A most exciting development is that this very common plant is being investigated along with common sage as herbs with memory-improving properties.

You can make a lemon balm tincture and use it to alleviate symptoms such as an upset stomach, stress, nerve pain, insomnia, chicken pox, cold sores, roseola, genital herpes, and shingles.

Did you know that lemon balm can be used in cosmetics as well?

Use those leaves to make lemon balm soap! You can also treat yourself to a lemon balm face wash, or infuse witch hazel with lemon balm leaves for a refreshing astringent.

Lemon Astringent

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon balm
1 cup witch hazel

Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to steep for 1 week. Strain. Use 1 teaspoon per application with a cotton ball. Refrigerate if you wish.

Oh, and don’t forget to use it in your favorite homemade cleaning spray!

To make an all-natural disinfectant, pour 1/2 c. of dried lemon balm leaves into a jar and cover with 1 1/2 c. white vinegar. Let it sit to infuse for about 2 weeks before pouring into a spray bottle. Add another 1 c. of white vinegar, and add about 30 drops of your favorite essential oil, if desired. Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Pink Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Peppermint are great options. Use as you would any all-purpose cleaner!

So much you can do with it!! You didn’t know this plant was so useful, did you?

Want more recipes and medicinal uses? Do a quick Google search. You’ll have a few dozen more in no time.

I love this stuff! Get yourself some this year (it’s super easy to grow from seed). Then have fun experimenting with it!

 

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13 Comments »

  • April said:

    After reading this post this morning we packed up and headed to Lowes for some lemon balm. I haven’t had any luck this year with my seeds so I bought the plant. So excited. I always learn so much from your blog. Love it!

    I’m blogging from my iPhone and I’m having a hard time typing in my blog addy at the top so I’m gonna just post it down here.
    http://www.life-as-i-know-it-oceans5.blogspot.com

  • Miranda said:

    Wow thanks Kendra! I was just noticing how bushy and beautiful my lemon balm plant is this spring. That lemonade sounds great and I think I will have to try that cleaning recipe! Thanks again.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    That’s awesome, April!! Put it in part shade, and it’ll grow amazingly for ya!

  • Amy @ Homestead Revival said:

    REALLY glad to see this post… I have Lemon Balm coming out my ears! It reseeded and has spread like wild fire! (A word of warning to the wise!). But it makes a great green filler in the garden and now I have some great recipes to try! Thanks!

  • April said:

    Does it come back every year or do you have to replant?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    April,

    Oh yes, it definitely comes back! And it spreads, too. Which is great if you want a lot. You can always dig up the new clusters and transplant them somewhere you need some green. It doesn’t spread as badly as mint, but it does stretch its legs ;) I think it’s a beautiful plant.

  • April said:

    Thanks Kendra. I have it in a pot right now. I will probably move it to a bed soon. It is a pretty plant. I don’t think I will mind when it spreads. :)

  • alicia said:

    is there a way to keep a healthy plant but not let it over-grow? i’ll be moving twice in the next 1 1/2 and don’t want to pass on a forest of lemon balm.
    thank you.

  • Lopuise said:

    I have given bunches of lemon balm to those who can’t sleep. Mash it up, make a tea, add a little honey drink and get knocked out for 8 hours. It’s the herbal remedy that turns those onto herbal medicine the easiest. Because they can’t believe how well it works. Non addictive too : )

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Alicia,

    Lemon Balm grows nicely in a container. The larger the pot, the larger your plant. You could also dig a hole in the ground to sink the pot into. It will look as if the plant were growing from the ground, but it won’t spread beyond the pot, and you could easily take it with you when you leave ;)

  • 1111Austin said:

    Do yall celebrate Easter? If so….do you have any thoughts on how to celebrate with your kids and make it fun but still about Jesus…you know, without collecting eggs for Ishtar? I’ve also been wondering about a tactful way to handle not wanting to participate in celebrating pagan gods around holidays like Christmas and Easter with your church….since most do.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    1111Austin,

    LOL… kinda off subject… but no, we do not celebrate Easter. We will be celebrating Passover, instead. Did you see my post on not celebrating Christmas, by chance?

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    This is a lovely herb. I have it growing in one of my herb gardens. I am also starting heirloom lemon balm seeds. It is just so pretty!

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