Lemon balm tea is a natural herbal medicine that goes back hundreds of years. This wild herb was one of the first herbs traded and was formally introduced to medieval Spain in the 7th century after being used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. This member of the mint family was domesticated before spreading across Europe and the Americas.
Lemon balm tea is good for treating anxiety and digestive issues. This tea has a mild sedative effect and can treat mild aches and pains like headaches and menstrual cramps. Lemon balm tea is frequently consumed as a bedtime tea due to its calming nature.
Lemon balm is a great introduction to herbal teas and herbs in holistic medicine. Keep reading to learn more about lemon balm tea and how to use it medicinally.
What Is Lemon Balm?
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb related to mint and is one of the most popular botanicals in herbal medicine. This is because it is relatively mild, with few side effects, and can treat a wide range of different health problems.
Lemon balm is also known as Melissa, bee-balm, sweet balm, and sweet Mary.
Where Does Lemon Balm Grow?
Lemon balm is a native plant in central-southern Europe, central Asia, and the Middle East. Because it is a very hardy plant, lemon balm can thrive in a wide variety of growing conditions. Lemon balm can now grow naturally across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Is Lemon Balm Different Than Lemongrass?
Many new herbalists and drinkers of herbal tea may confuse lemon balm with another popular herbal remedy, lemongrass. This is an easy mistake to make since lemongrass is commonly used to treat many of the same conditions that lemon balm is used for.
Here are the major differences between lemon balm and lemongrass:
- Lemon balm has a more subtle flavor. Lemongrass has a bright, citrusy flavor often used to spice Southeast Asian cuisine. Lemon balm has a milder lemon flavor suited to herbal teas and desserts.
- Lemongrass is harder to grow. Lemongrass is a much harder plant to grow than lemon balm, and it doesn’t do as well in as many regions as lemon balm does. Lemon balm can be easily grown in the backyard garden, while lemongrass may be more challenging for inexperienced gardeners.
Both lemongrass and lemon balm are used to treat digestive problems. However, lemon balm is also used to treat anxiety and other mental stress, while lemongrass is consumed to regulate blood pressure and immune function.
Why Do People Drink Lemon Balm Tea?
Lemon balm can flavor tea blends with a citrusy flavor note, but it is more commonly consumed for its medicinal properties. People drink lemon balm tea to treat the following conditions:
- Nausea and indigestion: The essential oils in lemon balm are thought to have a soothing effect on acid and bile production in the digestive system. This can help ease the symptoms of sour stomach and other digestive problems.
- Anxiety and insomnia: Lemon balm is known to have a calming and sedative effect, which makes it a good tea to take for those who are restless at bedtime.
- Cold sores: Scientific studies have shown that salves and lip balms containing lemon balm have had curative effects on cold sores caused by the herpes virus. Lemon balm salve may reduce redness, swelling, and healing time, but does not affect pain or scabbing effects.
- Improved brain function: Lemon balm is considered a mood-enhancing tea that slightly improves mental clarity. This makes it a good herb to mix with other botanicals for a brain boosting tea, such as peppermint or green tea.
There are plenty of good reasons to add lemon balm tea into your daily tea routine. Regular preventative consumption of this tea can prevent you from even having an issue with chronic health problems like indigestion or insomnia.
How to Make Lemon Balm Tea
Making lemon balm is a simple process even if you’ve never made herbal tea before. This simplicity is one of the reasons why lemon balm teas and tinctures are one of the first recipes a budding herbalist usually makes.
- Boil water for tea. You should boil around two cups of water for every 2-3 teaspoons of crushed lemon balm.
- Muddle the lemon balm. If you’re using fresh lemon balm rather than dried lemon balm, it’ll need to be muddled. Muddling is the process of crushing the leaves of the lemon balm so that they release their citrusy essential oils. Muddling helps more of the lemon balm flavor seep into the tea during the brewing process.
- Add the lemon balm to a tea infuser. Fill the tea infuser with crushed lemon balm and add the infuser to a teacup.
- Add water. Pour the boiling water over the lemon balm in the teacup. The lemon balm will take 5-10 minutes to infuse with the hot water completely. You can agitate the tea infuser in the water to help the lemon balm absorb more effectively.
- Remove the infuser and enjoy! Honey can be added to lemon balm tea as a natural organic sweetener, or you can use other sweeteners like agave or white sugar.
If you grow a few pots or plants of lemon balm in your kitchen garden, you should grow enough lemon balm leaves for a never ending supply of lemon balm tea. This hardy plant puts out plenty of foliage for making it, and it’s easy to grow from seed in your herbal tea garden.
Lemon Balm Tea Is a Good Introduction to Herbalism
For those who are interested in learning more about herbal teas and their medicinal properties, lemon balm is the perfect place to start. This sweet-smelling herb is easy to keep at home for processing into tea.