Health Benefits and Other Uses for Lemon Balm, Melissa Officinalis

Lemon Balm, melissa officianalis ©Cynthia Zirkwitz 2019
Lemon Balm, or melissa officinalis, is a perennial herb from the mint family.  It may have originated in Europe, the Middle East or Asia, but now it grows like a wild thing in my garden, and maybe yours?  But unlike other "invasive plants" (sometimes incorrectly labeled "weeds"), lemon balm has so many wonderful attributes-- lemon scent, lemon-y flavour, beautiful fresh vital green colour-- that you would never hack it out and dump it in the forest.  However, I do suggest that you grow it in a container or a bed that doesn't have access to other parts of your garden.

But DO grow it.

During the summer small white flowers show up, with bee-attracting nectar in them.  (Melissa is actually Greek for 'honey bee'.)  Melissa may well be the "honey leaf" referred to by Theophrastus, (c. 371-c.287BC) successor to Aristotle, and called "the father of botany" by the Greeks.

BALM IN THE BIBLE

Besides being known as 'lemon balm' (the name used by a couple of other bee-attracting flowers as well-- bergomot or Oswego, the lovely flower and flavouring for Earl Grey tea, and genus Monada-- Melissa also is known as "common balm," "balm mint" or simply, "balm".

The original use of the word "balm" referred to the oil of a particular palm tree in the Bible with properties that healed injuries and soothed pain.  In a larger sense, Jesus was seen as the healing "balm."  Referencing Jeremiah 8:22, the beautiful "Negro Spiritual" below was sung by slaves, and a musical arrangement was later published for choirs as part of a collection in 1919 by African-American composer, arranger and professional singer, Harry Thacker Burleigh.   


WHY YOU SHOULD GROW MELISSA OFFICINALIS:

  1. It is an easy-to-grow perennial-- dies down in the Winter and pops up with lavish vigor in the Spring.  Once you find out about all the benefits of having Melissa (fresh or dried) in your pantry and your yard, you will feel like a wise person for growing it.  You will look like your have an incredible green thumb to your friends and neighbours (re the neighbours: better to plant your M. officinalis in a container, as I said above).  You will be able to hand out lovely little pottings of M. officinalis to your friends, workmates, and in my case, to a friend who is a beekeeper.  You will be percieved as not only wise, but also kind and generous!
  2. Honey Bees love M. officinalis!  They gather its nectar from the abundant plants (please garden organically for the loves of bees) and if a container of balm is grown near their beehives, they will always return home to the hive.
  3. Bee Balm makes such a lovely tea (tisane): Use fresh or dried leaves.  Pour boiling water over them-- voila! A very nice lemony tea, perfect for summer tea parties or just for solo general comfort.  You can also add it to Green Tea for a little flavour lift.
  4. Add it to your Fruit Salad: Such a lovely green it is!  Tasty, lemon-y, refreshing!  And goes well in fruity smoothies as well!
  5. Refreshing Face and Body Wash! Carmelite nuns in the 14th C. used a combination of balm and other herbs in water (and maybe alcohol? Or so it was commercialized) as a wash.  You spa-queens-- sounds like something to try, eh?
  6. Get a better sleep! Herbalists and alternative medicine folks attribute the herb with qualities that promote a sound and pleasant sleep.  Drink a cup of Melissa tea before retiring.
  7. Aid in eliminating digestive issues: Alternative medicine suggests that M. officinalis is helpful for various digestive complaints.  Start the day with a fresh fruit or greens and smoothie, and throw a leaf or two of M. officinalis into the blender with the other ingredients.
  8. Another tool in your anti-Depression & Anxiety tool kit! When detoxing caffeine and alcoholic drinks, you might want to replace those beverages with M. officinalis tea or smoothies.  A study shows that healthy persons are more likely to be calmed by M. officinalis. 
  9. Flavour other healthy treats!  Ice tea, smoothie pops, and ice cream (vegan please) can all be delightfully and healthfully flavoured with a few leaves of this diverse herb.


Melissa Officinalis is also available as an essential oil. 
Follow instructions regarding its use as an essential oil.  Generally it is not advisable to take an essential oil orally, or to use without a carrier oil.  Here is an M. officinalis oil that you can feel safe in using (CLICK on image):
US Organic Essential Oil: MELISSA (Lemon Balm) 100% pure & certified organic  CLICK ABOVE.


**Please speak to your Doctor or other care provider if you have questions or concerns about using Lemon Balm/Melissa officinalis.  One video I watched suggested that there might be a mild clash between Melissa and thyroid medication. 



To your living health!

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The Lemon-Garlic Mixture Recipe That Chris Wark (Chris Beat Cancer) Recommends



To your living health!


My husband and I are both edging 70, and while we have the odd age-expected ache or pain or fallen hair or swollen ankels or whatever, we have avoided many of the BIG Diseases: Heart Disease, diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis, Cancer-- but we have had family with these diseases and there is a good chance that we will have something like this hit at some time.  That is the way of the world these days, is it not?

So, to be proactive and preventative, we believe that "Food is Our Medicine" and we adhere to a Whole Food/Plant-Based way of eating as much as possible.  We also watch a lot of those health seminars that mesh with our way of thinking that plants/herbs are the answer-- or at least our first rule of order when we feel ill.  We loved the Chris Beat Cancer series because, well, who wouldn't?  Chris is a charming young man with a friendly, compassionate mission to help others learn about how they too can beat cancer without (or only as a sideline) chemo or radiation.

Recently he talked about a lemon-garlic mixture that worked for one of his clients.  The friend took this mix every day for about 14 months-- worked up to taking 3 Tablespoons of the mix over the course of a day-- and at the end of the 14 months: NO TUMORS!

Well, we thought, if it is that powerful at killing tumors, it is certainly going to be powerful in preventing them in the first place?


 
Healing Herbs: A Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging, and Using Medicinal Plants / More than 100 Remedies from 20 of the Most Healing Plants

We are not doctors or scientists of any certification, but it seemed logical to us that this mix would be something we could happily build into our regular regimen every morning.

At first we tried to take it 'straight' on an empty stomach-- but just one teaspoon full of the mooshy sour-bitter liquid made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack.  I'm not kidding.

So, because we are allowing ourselves some licence since we don't actually have tumors (that we know of) and decided that we would put the puree into our smoothies.  That has worked just great for us.  The lemony-garlic flavour really enhances the other flavours in a vital way, as strange as it might sound to have garlic in a Green Smoothie.

THE BACK STORY ABOUT LEMONS AND GARLIC

Okay, this is the worst possible pseudo-junk-science explanation you will ever get, but let's get on with the recipe okay?  You can look up the synergistic qualities of Lemons and Garlic elsewhere on the web.  I am just going to say that each of them-- the perky little citrus Lemon and the bold little garlic crowns-- pack a lot of antibiotic. phytonutrient punch.

Garlic contains the strong organosulphur compounds called Allcin (yes, sounds like the girl's name).  In a clinical trial, extracted allicin (i.e., the amount you would find in about 20 cloves of garlic) was shown to prevent the common cold.

The Lemon  is a powerhouse.  Vitamin C, fiber and various phytonutrients in the lemon make for a fortress against some forms of Heart Disease, Kidney Stones, Anemia, Obesity and some of the compounds in lemons have been shown to "... prevent... malignant tumors from developing in the tongues, lungs and colons of rodents".  

So, yes, let's try this out.  If you have concerns, please do your due-diligence and speak to your trusted health provider.

INGREDIENTS
3 healthy, organic Lemons (small)
6 Garlic crowns or however you think equal the weight of 3 lemons (you can weigh each).  The ideal is to have them be the same weight.
Apple Cider Vinegar (doesn't need to be the expensive Organic brand-- this is for washing)

PREPARATION AND METHOD

1.  Immerse the lemons in water to cover, and add about 1/4 C. of Apple Cider Vinegar and put aside for the time that you will spend preparing the Garlic.



2.  Smash the garlic to make the peel go quickly. Yes it seems like a violent idea, but it really works to process the garlic quickly.  Then peel.  See the video below to see how chefs do it.  


See how Chefs Smash and Peel Garlic: 



3. Cut up the clean lemons into 1/4s or 1/8s.  Be sure to leave the skin on, but get rid of seeds.  They might be okay to consume, but they are SOOO bitter.

4. Put Lemons and Garlic in a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  You may need to add a little filtered water if your lemon is not very juicy.

5. Spoon the creamy mix into an ice cube tray.  Freeze.  Put into a medium size baggy and use one a day in your smoothie.  Or, you can just put the mix into a jar with a lid in the fridge and use a teaspoon per person each day.



Please note that I am an affiliate for many of the products and services offered on this site. That means that when you click and purchase these products or services I receive a small commission. I appreciate your support for maintaining the information on this site!

Search Raw Genesis or the World Wide Web: