Balm

 

Herb of the Day

 

BALM

 

(Melissa officinalis)

To grow: Perennial herb. Grows to 2 ft. It’s leaves are heavily veined, light green leaves with a lemony scent. It’s white flowers are unimportant and need to be cut occasionally to keep compact. Spreads rapidly. Grow in rich, moist soil in sun or part shade. Balm is very hardy and you can propagate from seed or root divisions. Self sows.

Uses: Balm is an excellent carminative herb that relieves spasms in the digestive tract and is used in flatulent dyspepsia. The gently sedative oils relieve tension and stress reactions, therefore, acting to lighten depression. It has a tonic effect on the circulatory system and heart, thus lowering blood pressure. It can be used in feverish conditions such as flu.

Parts used: Dried aerial parts or fresh in season. Pick the leaves two or three times a year between early summer and early fall. Cut off the young shoots when they are approximately 12 in long. They should be dried in the shade at a temperature not more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 2-3 teaspoons of the dried herb or 4-6 fresh leaves and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes, well covered. Drink a cup in the morning and the evening or when needed.

Tincture: Take 2-6 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Tonic for the Elderly

Drink this tonic daily and feel young again.

  • 1   tablespoon hawthorn berries to enhance the cardiovascular system and regulate blood pressure

  • 1   2 1/2 to 3 year-old echinacea root to enhance immunity

  • 1 teaspoon parsley root to support kidney function

  • 1   teaspoon licorice root, optional (not recommended for hypertension), ginger root may be substituted

  • 1   dandelion root to enhance bowel function

  • 1   tablespoon gotu kola leaves (fresh is best) or 1 tablespoon basil leaves or flowers.

Simmer hawthorn, echinacea, parsley, licorice, and dandelion in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes, covered.l Remove from heat and add gotu kola or basil. Steep, covered, for 10 more minutes. Strain and sip one cup daily.