Lemon Balm Uses
How to Use Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a leafy herb from the mint family that grows easily and plentifully in any home garden. The perennial plant has many uses that can benefit your skin, body and mind. Steep the leaves in hot water for a potent antioxidant tea, add them to many culinary dishes, or crack one open to rub its soothing qualities directly on a bug bite. The aroma and light, lemony taste of the plant is great in everything from muffins to chicken, and it will calm your mind while also helping you focus.
Cooking with Lemon Balm
Sprinkle fresh leaves on salads.Finely chop up fresh lemon balm and sprinkle it on a fruit or green, leafy salad. Lemon balm is versatile and you can use it on any salad that could use a soft, lemony flavor. Get creative!
Use it in salsa.Add fresh leaves to any salsa recipe for an interesting flavor twist. Substitute cilantro with finely chopped lemon balm.
Add lemon balm to tartar sauce.Make a homemade tartar sauce out of mayonnaise and relish. Add finely chopped lemon balm leaves for a minty, lemon zing.
Use it in place of lemon peel.Lemon balm complements many pastries. Use it in place of lemon peel in cheesecake, muffin and cookie recipes.
Season chicken with fresh leaves.Finely chop a bunch of leaves and mix them with butter, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture on a chicken breast or place it under the skin of a whole one. Add more fresh leaves to a whole chicken by stuffing the cavity.
Making Drinks with Lemon Balm
Make a simple syrup.Boil one cup of tightly packed lemon balm leaves, one cup of water, and one cup of sugar. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes to cool down after the sugar is completely dissolved, and strain the leaves out. Add your homemade syrup to iced tea, lemonade or mix it with vodka. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Steep hot tea.Lemon balm is known for its relaxing qualities and there’s nothing like warm, herbal tea to soothe jittery nerves. Pour hot water over a mug of fresh, cracked leaves and let them steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Wrap the leaves in cheesecloth first or strain them from the hot water.
Make flavored water.Bring the spa home by making refreshing lemon balm water. Place a handful of fresh leaves in a pitcher. Pour water over the leaves and place it in the refrigerator for several hours. Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon or lime in ice-filled serving glasses for an extra citrus flavor.
Infuse vodka.Make special flavored vodka with lemon balm leaves easily and amaze house guests with your bartending skills. Fill a jar with fresh leaves, pour inexpensive vodka over it and place in a dark cabinet for one month. Shake the jar every once in awhile to distribute the flavors and after the month's over strain the leaves for lemon balm infused vodka.
Healing with Lemon Balm
Fall asleep naturally.Lemon balm has been found to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. Fill a small pot with ¾ cup lemon balm and add just enough water to cover the leaves. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Place a lid over the water, but keep it cracked open so half of the water can evaporate. Strain the leaves and add honey to taste.
- Take this concentrated tea by the spoonful a half hour before bedtime.
Make an antiviral tincture.Lemon balm packs a cold fighting punch by being full of antioxidants and antiviral properties. Make a tincture to take when you feel an itchy throat or upset stomach coming on by filling 3/4 of a jar with fresh leaves and topping it off with 80 proof or higher alcohol. Keep it in a dark cabinet for four to six weeks and remember to shake it occasionally.
- Take the tincture by the teaspoonful and keep it for a year or more.
Make an oil infusion for your skin.Lemon balm is reputed to help soften fine lines. Make a lemon balm oil infusion to rub into your skin by drying out a bunch of herbs first. Do this by tying some upside down in an empty closet for four weeks. Fill 1/4 of a glass jar with the dried, crumbled herb. Pour sunflower oil in the jar until it's nearly full, and let it sit in a dark cabinet for four to six weeks.
- Keep your oil infusion for about a year.
Make a poultice out of fresh leaves and oil.Because of the herb's anti-inflammatory properties, you can make a poultice out of fresh, crushed leaves and olive oil. Add just enough oil to make a paste and rub the mixture on bug bites, and minor skin irritations. Make sure to cover your skin with a band-aid or plastic wrap so it can fully absorb the medicine.
Rub cracked leaves on cold sores.Lemon balm contains effective anti-viral components. So much so that it is a common over-the-counter treatment for cold sores in Germany. Crack a fresh leaf open and rub the oil from it directly on a cold sore.
Freshen breath with lemon balm.The light mint flavor of the herb makes it great to use as a natural breath mint. Pull a leaf or two off a plant, rinse it with water and chew for minty fresh breath.
Make a natural mosquito repellent.Lemon balm is natural mosquito deterrent. Use the plant's aroma on you several different ways:
- Rub a lemon balm oil infusion on exposed skin.
- Rub a lemon balm poultice on exposed skin.
- Rub cracked leaves on exposed skin.
Video: 13 Reasons Everyone Should Start Growing Lemon Balm
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