12+ Things to Do With Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an easy to grow herb that not only attracts bees to the garden, but is also a great anti-viral with relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children.
Traditionally, it’s been used to gently treat colic and upset stomach in everyone from infants to elders. A leaf can be chewed to freshen the breath or crushed and placed on a bug bite to help ease the itch.
Our favorite use is to turn it into a lip balm for cold sores! (See #3 below.)
If you’ve ever planted lemon balm, you know how one tiny plant can quickly take over a large portion of your garden!
Fortunately, lemon balm has many uses and today, I’m sharing over a dozen things to do with this prolific little gem.
Note: If you’re on thyroid medication, or are pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions or concerns, talk with a qualified health professional before using lemon balm medicinally.
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12+ Things to Do With Lemon Balm:
1. Make a sleepy time herbal syrup:
This is a delicious way to calm and relax everyone from children to adults!
- Place about 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves into a small pot and add enough water to just cover the leaves.
- Simmer, covered partially, until the liquid is reduced in half.
- Strain out & compost the leaves.
- While still quite warm, measure out about 1/2 cup of the concentrated tea and stir 1/4 cup raw honey into it.
- Add more honey to taste, if you wish.
- Store in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
- Dose by the spoonful at night to help calm and relax. (Honey should not be used with children under 1 year old.)
Note: You can make larger or smaller batches – keeping a ratio of about 2 parts lemon balm infusion to 1 part honey.
2. Make a lemon balm bug spray:
I’ve tried a lot of homemade bug spray recipes and this is my favorite one.
The best part is that it’s yet another way to help use up some of my abundance of lemon balm and other herbs!
You can find the full recipe and how to make it in my blog post, Lemon Balm Bug Spray.
3. Chop fresh leaves and sprinkle on salads or in baked goods:
Drizzle the salads with honey or a dressing made of yogurt and honey.
Try adding finely chopped leaves (1 to 2 TBSP) and lemon zest (a pinch) to your favorite scone or muffin recipe.
Related: Fresh leaves can also be frozen in ice cubes to dress up a summer beverage.
4. Make a lip balm for cold sores:
This lip balm recipe was designed especially for my son who developed cold sores triggered by sunshine when he was young.
It cleared his cold sores up within a few months and they stayed away!
You can find the full recipe and how to make it in my blog post, Super Healing Cold Sore Lip Balm.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Make Herb Infused Oils (+FAQS & Tips)
Video: Making Lemon Balm Lip Balm for Cold Sores
Here’s a video of me making a batch of lemon balm lip balm. It’s so easy, but so effective! (Sometimes an ad plays first, but the video will start right after. The video player won’t show up if you have an adblocker.)
5. Make a glycerite:
Glycerites are a sweet way to dose herbal medicine without the alcohol that regular tinctures contain. Herbal infused glycerin can also be used as an ingredient in lotions, toners and aftershave recipes.
To make a lemon balm glycerite:
- Fill a jar with fresh lemon balm leaves.
- Cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine to 1 part water.
- Cap and let this sit in a dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.
- Dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed to relax and calm.
- Store in your refrigerator for several months.
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs.)
6. Make a relaxing, tummy soothing tea:
Fill a jar with fresh lemon balm leaves.
Pour simmering hot water into the jar then cover the top with a saucer so that none of the vapors escape.
Let steep until cool enough to drink. Sweeten to taste & enjoy!
7. Make lemon balm soap:
This soap recipe is made with lemon balm tea and naturally scented with lemongrass.
It’s a perfect way to use up some extra lemon balm from your garden!
You can find the full recipe in my blog post, Lemon Balm Soap.
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8. Make a simple remedy for bug bites & acne:
Moisten a pinch of cosmetic clay with lemon balm tea.
Dab on blemishes and bug bites as needed.
Allow to air dry and keep it on your skin as long as possible to help soothe the itchiness and inflammation.
9. Make a relaxing bath:
Fill a bath bag with lemon balm leaves and rose petals.
Hang from the spigot and let the water run through as the tub fills.
For even more relaxation, try throwing a cup of Epsom salt into the tub as well.
(No bath bags handy? Try a thin white sock with a knot tied at the top.)
10. Make a ginger & lemon balm cold syrup:
This Ginger & Lemon Balm Syrup is a ramped up version of a basic ginger syrup, with lemon balm added for its extra antiviral properties.
It’s so easy to make, your kids can help!
Stash it in the refrigerator for around 2 weeks and take whenever you’ve been around germy people, feel a little run down or think you might be catching something.
You can find the full recipe and how to make it at my blog post, Ginger & Lemon Balm Cold & Flu Syrup.
11. Make a lemon balm tincture:
This is a great stomach soothing, anti-viral concoction, perfect to take when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or bug.
To make a lemon balm tincture:
- Add fresh lemon balm leaves to a jar until about three-quarters filled. (Or fill a jar about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with dried lemon balm leaves.)
- Pour in 80 proof or higher alcohol (like vodka) until the jar is filled.
- Cap with a non-metallic lid and store in a cool, dark place for about 4 to 6 weeks, shaking periodically.
- Strain and store for at least a year.
- Adult dose is 1/4 teaspoon (about 1 dropperful or 1 ml) at a time, as needed.
- I usually mix with equal parts honey for better patient compliance.
Lemon Balm is also a star ingredient in my trusted Favorite Cold & Flu Tincture.
12. Make a lemon balm vinegar:
Lemon balm vinegar can be used as a hair rinse, added to your bath water, or used to add extra flavor to salad dressings.
You could also use it in an oxymel remedy. (Oxymels are sweet and sour herbal syrups – learn how to make those HERE.)
To make lemon balm vinegar:
- Fill a jar about 3/4 full with fresh leaves.
- Cover with apple cider vinegar.
- Cap with a non-metallic lid and let steep in a cool dark place for a few weeks.
- Strain and use.
- Shelf life should be at least 9 months to 1 year+.
13. Make candied lemon balm leaves:
This is a favorite kid activity around here!
To make: Beat an egg white with a tiny bit of water. Dip lemon balm leaves in the mixture, then dip in sugar. Lay the coated leaves on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in a 200 degree F oven until the leaves look dry, but not browned. Check after 20 minutes and every 5 to 10 after that.
14. Make lemon balm & honey butter:
Mix half a stick (4 tablespoons) of softened butter with a pinch of finely chopped lemon balm. Add a drizzle of honey to taste.
Yummy on hot fresh bread or biscuits!
15. Make an herbal water:
This subtly flavored water is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
To make lemon balm water:
Fill a jar with fresh lemon balm leaves and a thinly sliced lemon. Pour in cold water until it reaches the top. Refrigerate for several hours.
Jan! It was on my “To Do” list today to harvest and wilt lemon balm. Now I have a focus for the harvested lemon balm. Thanks! I’m off to trim the plants!
Wonderful! I’m glad the information was timely for you! :)
how to preserve lemon balm for uses later?
You could try freezing it in your icebox/ freezer :)
Thanks for the reply Alyssa! I’m sorry that I didn’t see Cheryl’s comment earlier! Yes, you can freeze lemon balm leaves in single layers in a freezer bag for a month or two. You can also make a tea or infusion and freeze that. I’ve kept infusions for up to around 9 months. Frozen items are good for making teas, lotions, soaps and other water based things, since they’ll get a little soggy (the leaves) anyway, when thawed. For oil based items, you can dry your lemon balm leaves by spreading them out on a clean towel in a single layer for a few days. Keep them in a jar, out of direct sunlight and don’t crumble until you’re going to use them (to retain the aromatic oils as much as possible.)
if you mix it with a little water into your blender and break it up some you can freeze it in ice cube trays…it keeps very well in zip lock bags
Your post came just at the right time! I have a bunch of lemon balm waiting for my attention, and I could use that sleepytime herbal syrup due to some menopause-related sleep problems (I also have hormone-related blemishes that it could help with!).
Thanks so much for these great ideas! I will put them to good use.
Hi Nadine, I’m glad that you found some helpful ideas in the post! :)
Thanks, Jan. You had me at “attracts bees to the garden” (always a good thing)! The candied lemon balm leaves look good too. Can lemon balm be grown from seed or is this a plant that is best purchased from a nursery?
I started with one plant purchased from my local garden center and not only did it spread to form mounds across about 1/3 of the side of my house, but I find little seedlings everywhere when I weed my garden (Including in places wayyyyyy far from it.) So, in theory, it should be able to be grown by seed, but if you ask around and find a friend with some, there’s also a good chance they’ll be happy to give you a section of theirs! :)
I have a beautiful lemon balm in a pot are there seeds on it I can plant in my garden next year?
Hi Candy, My lemon balm usually reseeds itself each year – sometimes in places as far away as across my yard! I’ve never collected the seeds, so I’m not sure much about them. I would think once it flowers it should produce some. You can also divide your plant and put part of it in your garden. (If you have really cold winters, you might want to wait until spring to do this.) Lemon balm is a lot like mint. Once you plant it, it usually grows and spreads A LOT. I started with one tiny plant, and now it has spread to cover about 1/3 of one side of my house.
Thank you, my first herbs and garden in years, I’m learning, next year will be much better
Placed in a container of water on a windowsill, roots will quickly grow on harvested stems. These can be planted and will establish and spread quickly.
Thanks for the growing tip rebajoe!
This certainly does happen INDEED! I was so happy to see how easily the stems could be re-harvested to grow into nice large plants! I’m a firm believer in waste not want not with regard to plants!! I love ’em!
I grew my lemon balm from seed and it is huge and wonderful. I did start it indoors in April.
I love this post and definitely will be bookmarking it.
I have been trying to grow lemon balm from seed with not much luck. Maybe I will try to find a plant and just purchase it.
I love lemon balm tea and appreciate all of its other uses!
Hi Sandra! I’ve not tried growing it from seed, but I have ran into a few tricky ones that I just gave up and bought the plant too. Lemon balm is one of my favorites, so even though it gets a little wild in the garden once it gets established, I love having it around. :)
I was told by my naturopath that lemon balm is GOOD for hypothyroidism…? Why do you suggest against it?
I would definitely not want to usurp what a licensed naturopath says – they know all about your medical history and I’m sure they have a big picture/plan for health in mind! However, here’s why I put that suggestion in:
The first time I saw this information, was a quote by respected herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar: “Lemon balm is considered a thyroid inhibitor; those suffering from hypothyroidism or low thyroid activity should use it only under the guidance of a health-care practitioner.” That made me curious to learn more, because if anything my children & I run more to having a few symptoms on the opposite hyperthyroidism side of things & I wondered if we could benefit by taking it more. (We have super fast metabolism, that’s not always a good thing.)
I found several medical sites cautioning against its use with hypothyroidism & thyroid medications, then started looking at the medical studies they cited in their sources. Here’s an example of one that I found:
“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”
And there are more you can search for, but the main thing to keep in mind is that the tests were done in an isolated lab setting. Likely, your naturopath has you on a balanced combination of other herbs & nutrients suited just for your situation.
To be safe though, I have to mention those types of things so that people won’t just willy-nilly take something at home, without stopping to think that herbs can be powerful – just as powerful as a medication – and should be researched well before use, especially if there’s a medical condition or pregnancy involved.
Thanks for asking & I hope that clarified my statement better! :)
Wonderful thank you so much. I have heaps of it in the garden but haven’t ever done anything with it and now I know what to do. Thanks Mx
You’re welcome Madeleine – I’m glad you found the post useful! :)
Thank you. I will be using these for myself and for my children when they need to be calmed down at night.
You’re welcome! I hope you get good results! :)
Would using it for lip balm be considered using it internally (or close enough) ?
Hi Amy! I think the small amount in lip balm should be fine. You probably shouldn’t drink a cup full of tea or some other large amount if you’re on hypothyroid meds/supplements though, without double checking with your doctor or naturopath first.
I use it to make mosquito repellent. I steep lemon balm and peppermint in witch hazel and a splash of ACV, then strain and add a splash of aloe juice and put it in a spray bottle. Friends are always surprised at how effective it is. We keep it in the fridge, so it’s refreshing, too!
That’s a wonderful idea Laura; thanks for sharing with us! :)
Was reading all these post archives and wondered what is ACV that Laura uses in her mosquito repellent. Here in Georgia mosquitoes are considred a runner-up for the state bird…:D
Hi Kathy T, Yikes those sound like some mosquitoes! :) ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar
WHAT IS ACV
Hi Janet! ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar
How long do you let it steep for? In Minnesota, the mosquito is our state bird so I empathize with Kathy from Georgia and love this idea.
Hi Michelle, I’m not sure how Laura makes it (and if she sees your comment I hope she replies!), but I let fresh herbs infuse in witch hazel for about a week. I have a lemon balm based bug spray recipe coming to the blog soon too!
Awesome, Jan! Thank you.
Also, is it witch Hazel extract? If so, how much? I want to steep this while I am gone for a week so I am hoping to pick up anything else at the co-op tomorrow. I have never used witch Hazel before but looking forward to trying a plant-based repellent.
Hi Michelle! Yep, witch hazel extract. You can even buy it in your local grocery stores (check the pharmacy section) or drug stores like CVS. I just stuff my jar at least half full of fresh herbs (more is good too) and then cover to the top with witch hazel. Cap and tuck it away out of the sun. It will turn brown, but that’s not a problem!
could you e-mail me and ell me what ACV is
Peggy, ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar
Wow, thanks so much! This will sure come in handy this year, when I get my lemon balm. I’m excited hahah.
You’re welcome! I’m looking forward to my lemon balm returning too. Usually, part of it stays green all winter here, but this year has been extra cold and I lost it all. Spring isn’t *too* far away though!
Thanks for the information it helped a lot. I live in the desert in Arizona with an abundance of wildlife that likes to snatch up plants so I grow mine mostly indoors in a grow tent with 300 watts of light and my Lemon Balm plants and Peppermint Plants have just take off like you wouldn’t believe. Its perfect this time of year growing vegetables.
Your grow tent sounds wonderful! That’s great to know that lemon balm and peppermint do well indoors as well!
Its perfect here this time of year for vegetables and I gave Lemon Balm a try and its taken off.
How lucky to be growing things this time of year! :) I’m anxiously waiting for mine to start peeking out again.
I am not understanding the negative link of lemon balm and thyroid meds for hypothyroidism. I was looking forward to making lemon balm tea this year after reading the article.
Hi Barbara, You could certainly ask your doctor, they may think it’s okay for your situation. If you’re taking any medication though, it’s good to check with whoever prescribed it before using an herb in a greater amount than seasoning. Some can be quite powerful.
If you want the best effects from Lemon Balm (to help sleep), can you just eat the whole plant?.
I grew some and its up now (looks like a nettle, smells nice)… to get the best sleeping effects can I just eat eat the whole plant?? ty
Hi Timmy, You sure can eat lemon balm leaves – my kids love to snack on them when playing outside. I’m not sure whether it gives a better effect or not, though you can certainly try it out and see how it works for you!
I just got some seeds I will plant then I can’t wait to see them and do all the great thing.
Hi Isabel, That’s great – I think you’ll enjoy your lemon balm plants!
I purchased a small lemon balm plant from a nursery. I was wondering… is it better to leave in my kitchen window or plant it outside in the garden? I live in a pretty dry climate with rocky soil.
Hi Jana, My once tiny lemon balm plant constantly threatens to take over one portion of my garden. I find seedlings for it all over the place. It has survived freezing winters and super dry summers where nothing grew well. So, it’s a pretty tough plant! However, I’m not exactly sure how it grows in other climates, outside of my own. If you bought it from a local nursery though, there’s a good chance that it is suitable for your area, but you can double check with them and see what they recommend. I hope it does well for you!
Is there any type of face mask I could make with lemon balm leaves ?
Hi Samantha, I don’t have a recipe – but I love the idea! You should be able to make a lemon balm tea and use it for the liquid in any face mask recipe you find online. If it were me, I’d probably experiment with mixing it with some clay first, perhaps French green clay. What a great idea, thanks for sharing it; I’ll have to experiment with that this summer!
Ahh I have just had an idea ! Hold tight they don’t come that often :) How about using oatmeal /porridge oats as a face mask.using the lemon leaves. Add a lilttle hot water then mashing them all together ..Splatter on face :)
That is a great idea! :) I had one too! My daughter & a friend of hers (teens) have excellent luck using honey on their face – I bet you could infuse honey with lemon balm leaves and use it as a mask too. Or maybe that would be a face wash of sorts… but still – good ideas!
Jan: I learn something new from you every time I read your blog. I just bought my first lemon balm plant and will by tucking it into a nice (and large) pot I just happen to have. Glad I didn’t plant it with my basil as between the 2 of them my raised bed would be over run.
I do how ever wonder if you have any wonderful ideas for fresh spearmint. I have a great potful that I trim back and take to work, share with neighbors, family and use myself. New uses would be wonderful to add to my current book of recipes.
Thanks in advance for your kind assistance.
Hi Myra! In my posts: (6 ways to use mint) https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/mint-ideas/ and (Using fresh mint in salves/lip balm) https://thenerdyfarmwife.com/using-fresh-mint-to-make-lip-balms-salve/ I actually used fresh spearmint the most for the projects shown because I have a ton of it too! I remember last year that I thought of several more mint ideas, I just never got around to trying them out. So, high on my list for this year is coming up with more mint recipes and project ideas. I’ll be sure to share them as I make them!
Thank you for the recipes. I have a grandson who can’t sleep. I’m going to make the sleepy time syrup for him and tincture for my daughter who suffers from anxiety. Want to get them off the meds they are on.
Keep up the good work.
Hi Olivia, I’m glad you like the recipes and I hope they help your grandson and daughter!
I’m so happy to have found this link just when I was wondering what to do with my lemon balm! I look forward to the tea, the water, and the tincture. :)
Wonderful! I’m so glad you found it useful! :)
A friend just shared her plant with me. I am so happy to find out how to use it. Thank you for all the tips!!
That’s great! I hope you enjoy your wonderful lemon balm! :)
Can you dry lemon balm?
Yes, you sure can. You can tie little bunches up to air dry or you can place individual leaves on paper towels or clean dish towels and let them air dry, in a single layer, for several days.
I have all this lemon balm and would really like to make your tea or syrup for relaxation and to help sleep, but I do take thyroid medication. Can I use the lemon balm in this way? Thanks.
Hi Lynne! That would be up to the doctor that prescribed your medication since he/she knows the severity of your condition, the amount you take & the numbers on your blood work. It’s more of a precautionary statement to let people know that a few studies & some traditional herbalists lean towards avoiding lemon balm if you have hypothyroid. Your doctor may say lemon balm’s okay for occasional use. (Say a cup of tea during a really stressful time or something like that.) If they don’t think it’s a good idea at all though, you could try passionflower and/or valerian root for sleeping. (They make a really great combination.) Also, my daughter has excellent results with taking magnesium before bed to help her sleep better. Most people are deficient in it, so it’s usually needed anyway. (With all of these though – double check with your doc to make sure it won’t interfere with any prescriptions or other health issues.) I hope you find one of those ideas helpful!
Enjoyed reading . Just planted lemon balm this year and wanted ideas to use the leaves as I need to trim it down. Should I term all stems off for most of theses recipes?
Hi Leigh – I’m glad you enjoyed reading! If they are small, thin stems like are found on the tips, they’re fine to leave on. I don’t use the thicker ones though.
Hello, thank you for the info. Really interesting to know about the sleepy time syrup. Would you know if there are any changes in dose for different ages and at what age is it safe to give. I was thinking of using it as part of my bedtime regime when I have 2 or 3 over excited grandchildren on a sleepover at ‘nans’. It was 1am before they settled last time. Great fun though . Love the bug spray too. Genius.
Hi Irene! You’d want to give this recipe to kids over the age of one (because of the honey), but lemon balm by itself is even used for infants with colic. It’s one of the safest herbs known. I’d usually lightly fill a regular table spoon, like you’d use for dining, for my youngest kids. My daughter still makes a lemon balm/honey mixture occasionally (she’s a creative night owl, but sometimes needs to sleep earlier so she’s not overtired the next morning) – a spoonful seems good for her too and she’s 15 now! That seems to be the magic amount for us, so I don’t think you’d need more than that. Sleepovers with Nan sound so much fun – I bet they have a great time! :)
Thank you so much. Lemon balm cut and ready to go.
Best wishes from the UK
This is an awesome post! I’ve been watching this plant sweep over its neighbors in my garden and I must act! Now I know what to do with it, thanks for all the great ideas!
Also, this is a really wonderful blog!
Hi Brody, Thanks – I’m glad you enjoyed the ideas!
Hi, I love all your recipes, Thanks! I am growing 2 pots of lemon grass. Can that be used in the same way as lemon balm?
Hm, that’s a great question! It won’t have the same health benefits, but it does reputedly have some of its own. A caution is that lemongrass needs to be avoided by pregnant women, since it can start menstrual flow/cause miscarriage.
I found you on the web as a result of a search for information about the uses of lemon balm. A couple of years ago, I bought a small pot of the herb and left it on an outside table next to the edge of our low lying deck. The lemon balm has taken over about 6 feet around the corner of the deck and I was wondering what to do with all that Herb. Well, now I know! Thanks again!
Hi David S, I’m happy you found some useful ideas for your lemon balm bounty! Mine seems to have world domination plans as well!
Thank you so much for those sites and thank you for all you do!
Hi Juanita, Thank you for the kind words & encouragement! :)
I have a question about the tincture. When you say “store for up to a year at least,” does that mean it won’t be ready for over a year? Or will it be ready after the six week period and lasts for a year? Thank you.
Hi Chelsea! Once the tincture is strained it is completely finished and ready to use. You can then store it for up to a year, like you store home canned goods for up to a year. It’s sort of a suggested expiration date (though quite a few people – including me- keep tinctures for several years since alcohol is an excellent preservative!)
I am so excited to start using my herbs for things other than cooking. Will the glycerite retain the good smell of fresh herbs?
Hi Chelsea, I’m glad you’re finding more uses for your herbs! Your lemon balm glycerite should smell lemon-y for a while. (Some scents fade with time, though my two year old rose glycerite is still a pretty pink and smells as fresh as the day I made it!)
I cut up some lemon balm leaves and put them in a simmering pot of water on my stove all day to freshen my kitchen/home (making sure to keep water added), it smells wonderful! I sometimes add a slice of lemon and some basil with it to give it an extra kick, or add fresh lavender. This can also be done in a slow cooker.
What a wonderful idea – thanks for sharing Amber!
Thanks for these great ideas!! I have one more that I’ve tried with success: Break off a leafy stem and very gently rub it on any exposed skin to repel mosquitos.
Great idea! Thanks for sharing Patty!
Thank you all so much for sharing this information. I just found out this morning that we have about 5 medium plants of lemon balm in our garden in Aruba and they keep on growing. I sure will collect some leaves, since some family members are suffering from the mentioned conditions. Be blessed.
What a wonderful thing to find in your garden! I hope it helps your family members feel better!
What a great post!
Thanks Renee! :)
I’m 34 weeks pregnant. I wanted to make the sleepy time salve but wasn’t sure if it was safe to use lemon balm while pregnant.
Hi Angela, Congratulations! I would give your doctor/nurse/midwife a call and see what they say. If they feel like you should avoid it, perhaps something that will help you with sleep is a magnesium supplement. That has helped so many people I know (including me!) get a better night’s sleep and it’s likely to be doctor approved. (But still double check with them, to be on the safe side.) :)
Thanks for the great tips!
I’m using some chopped lemon balm in my homebrewed beer (a Belgian wit – so a typically citrusy wheat beer). Will let you know how it turns out!
Hi Michael, That’s an interesting use – I’d love to hear how it turns out!
I recently started juicing…I have lemon balm all around my yard …what benefits do you think I`ll have
Hi Miss Juday! I haven’t tried lemon balm in juice myself, but it seems like a little bit in moderation might be a good addition!
Just curious – there are so many wonderful recipes here… Are all of them good for treating PMS? Or are the teas the best bet for that?
Hi Tammy! I know that teas are a good, gentle way of dosing herbs, but I’m not a huge tea fan myself, so prefer other forms first. I think you could try the syrup or tincture, but you might also consider investigating rose for PMS.
Be careful folks, this lovely fragrant plant really can take over nearby areas quickly via underground root travel. I fight it every summer, it even grows in the deep woods where I’ve chucked it. I cut it and put it in a vase just to tame it, a nice bouquet when flowers are short. But the roots? Oh dear….
Once established, the larger plants are very difficult to pull out, I have to dig them. Get the seedlings out while you can. Mow them down!
When extracting through boiling water, best to steep leaves and not be tempted to simmer for more than 1 – 2 minutes, as it can turn bitter. Have fun!
Thanks for your tips Karen! Lemon balm is definitely a persistent plant. I find seedlings half way across my yard!
Thank you for the interesting information i got to know through your website. i have lots of lemon balm growing in my garden. I use the leaves to flavour my tea every sunday. Though i am a thyroid patient (hypothyroid) on medication, i don’t think one leaf a week would have any bad effect on my problem. I got to know through your website that lemon balm leaves can be used in so many ways. I really enjoyed reading it.
Hi Nikhila, Thanks for sharing your experiences with lemon balm with us! I’m happy that you enjoyed the site information too!
Are the flowers on the lemon balm have any medicinal properties to them or can they be used
Hi Suzie! Yes, you can use the flowers as well. I just mix a few in with the leaves sometimes and use them as usual in the various recipes that call for lemon balm.
I must say that I just love the information you provide for using various plants that can be grown at home. My goal today was to find ways to use the Lemon Balm that grows rampant in my back yard. I want to thank you for the warning about not consuming large amounts of this plant if one has a thyriod condition…I take meds for low thyriod everyday,thank you so much for providing this important information along with the rest of the helpful tips on how to use the plants .
Hi Aud, I’m so happy that you’ve found the site useful!
I was given a lemon balm plant this Spring by a girl who rides on the school bus that I drive. Today, I decided to look on the internet to find how to use this herb. My goodness, but what a nice surprise. Your website was on the top of the list, and I am very happy that I clicked on it. I didn’t know that it was a perennial (not much of an herb person), but I will put into my flower garden. Thanks for all the info here. I especially will try the remedies you have here.
Hi Larry, What a great gift! There are lots of things to do with lemon balm and I hope you enjoy your plant!
I love your site! I just started an herb garden this year so I have lots to learn.
Thanks Brenda! How exciting to have your own herb garden to enjoy and make fun things with! :)
Hi – I’m trying to make the lemon balm tincture and I wanted to share my result to make sure it seems right. I used 80 proof vodka and the liquid is now brown and the leaves browned significantly. Should this have happened? Also, it has a faint rotting smell. Is this normal?
Hi Casey! Tinctures very often turn brown (the liquid and herbs), so that part sounds okay. I’m not sure about the faint rotting smell though. I just went through and sniffed my collection of tinctures and they have varying smells – some of the oldest ones just smell like strong alcohol, while some of my newer ones have varying degrees of earthy, plant smells. How long has it been infusing for? Did you add any water, or just straight alcohol? I would go ahead and strain it and then let it sit tightly closed (out of direct sunlight) for several days, then uncap and see what it smells like then. It could be just the stages of the leaves breaking down that you smell. Once it’s strained, that smell should go away. If you think about it, come back and let me know how it turns out! :)
Hi, Can I put herbs in ACV for a few months and then transfer to alcohol or glycerine for long preservation? Which is better?
Hi Julie! It’s better just to make what you want from the start, instead of mixing two processes. Glycerites might have a shorter shelf life, but alcohol and vinegar tinctures will both last a long time.
My batch of lemon balm has reached the year mark. I would like to reinfuse it with fresh lemon balm instead of just throwing it out, is that something that can be done? I presume that the potency of the plant material isn’t as strong, that’s why it has that shelf life..
Hi Sandra! If it’s a vodka tincture, then yes, you could do that. I’ve done it before too! If it’s an oil infusion, then you probably want to toss it, since oil has a more limited shelf life.
Love your article. Cant wait for summer and cool drinks in the shade. Was just given lemon balm plant from the local community garden, cant wait till it establishes itself. Am enjoying as I write this lemon balm tea. Love it.
Thanks Angee! I hope that you enjoy your lemon balm plant – it’s a lovely one to have around!
I found you through a Google search when I was looking for lemon balm uses.
I have a plant and I’ve added the leaves to hot tea, chilled water and in a recipe. I love it.
Just wanted to say I love your post here – and your responses.
I had graduated personal training school several years ago and we were cautioned about giving advice regarding supplements and herbs – especially when combined with certain conditions and/or medications.
Needless to say, I follow this, and I applaud your responses to those asking about their Hypothyroidism.
It’s nice to see someone dispense responsible information. Actually, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Awesome info here. I’ll have to try some of the other recipes out.
Thanks so much :)
Hi Dana, Thanks for the kind words! I’m happy you found the post useful & hope you have lots of fun making lemon-balmy things! :)
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