The results are in! Lemon Balm wins MVP (MVH?) of 2018. It should be no surprise that a plant in the mint family showed up overnight and took over my entire medicine cabinet in early March.
Lemon Balm is a beautiful lime green plant that smells like lemon and is lovingly known as Melissa Officinalis. You can smell her before you see her, and the invigorating lemon scent calms the nervous system (nervine) while bringing you into a state of pure bliss.
Sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, fevers, acute pain, stress, a broken arm ( ; Most of these ailments are easily improved with a spot a tea, a dropper full of tincture, or picking a fresh bouquet of Lemon Balm. Seriously though, Lemon Balm has so many excellent properties and is extremely safe (even for pregnant women) while also being effective. The lemony mint smell comes from the many essential oils within the plant, giving Lemon Balm it’s antispasmodic powers.
Lemon Balm is considered an MVH for the honey bee as well. This fast-growing perennial is a marvelous addition to any garden (or container…mint family). Having Lemon Balm in the garden is a clever way to invite beneficial insects including the honey bee and ladybug to your garden.
After a year full of more herbal study than ever before – naming an MVH was difficult. There were many runners up including: Nettle, Devils Club, Bleeding Heart, Skullcap, and Passion Flower. Obviously, I adore my nervines <3 I chose Lemon Balm because I used the tincture on an almost daily basis. I grew massive amounts of Lemon Balm (it’s taking over my garden) and made tinctures, teas, wreaths, and salves. I experimented while making the tincture because I wanted to nail Herb Pharm's delicious Lemon Balm tincture recipe. I tested tincturing the flowering leaves, and the fresh spring leaves separately. Both were delicious, but the flowering leaves tinctured had a floral sweet taste and when mixed with the Spring leaf tincture… so dreamy! You can find my Lemon Balm tincture here.
If you’re looking to name your personal Herb of the Year in 2019, I highly recommend starting out with one or two herbs and getting to know them very well. It was recently projected that over 40% of Americans suffer from chronic anxiety! I think we could all use a little more Lemon Balm in our lives.
While Lemon Balm is considered one of the safest herbs out there, we must always consider bio individuality. It will not be the all star plant for everyone. Especially not recommended for those who are deficient in yin with heat signs or dealing with hypothyroidism. Cheers to growing and knowing more herbs in 2019!
“Balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy” – John Evelyn, 1600
Lemon Balm was even one of the table names at our Wedding in October <3