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How to make lemon balm tea (3 recipes)

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Learn three ways to brew a perfect cup of lemon balm tea using fresh or dried leaves. This relaxing and calming herbal tea recipe is caffeine free and helps you to sleep.

What is lemon balm?

Known as Melissa officinalis, the lemon balm is easy to grow perennial herb. It was planted in ancient times around beehives to encourage bees to be happy and stay together.

Its Latin name Melissa means “honey bee.”

Called by Paracelsus the “elixir of life”, the lemon balm plant has been used to enhance mood and alleviate anxiety and insomnia for thousands of years. 

However, its medicinal benefits don’t stop there; this lemon scented herb also helps with menstrual cramps or eases pain and discomfort from indigestion.

how to dry lemon balm

What is lemon balm tea?

Tasty Lemon balm tisane is a potent herbal infusion from brewing dried or fresh lemon balm leaves or stems. Homemade lemon balm tea has been used for centuries to soothe, calm, and encourage relaxation and better sleep. Adding banana peel to the tea can further enhance its sleep-promoting properties.

How does lemon balm tea taste?

Lemon balm belongs to the mint family and thus carries a refreshing lemony flavor with hints of mint. Its citrusy flavor can be enhanced with raw honey or other sweeteners like maple syrup.

It is also beneficial to combine it with other  “sleeping herbs” such as lemon balm and chamomile or lavender, oatstraw, valerian, and catnip. Experiment with different herbs to find your favorite. Aromatic lavender lemon balm tea stimulates bile production and reduces indigestion. The combination of lavender and lemon balm makes calming and soothing tea that eases digestion. Typical lavender tastes nice and complements citrusy flavor of lemon balm. 

lemon balm infusion

The taste of lemon balm tea made from fresh leaves is more intense and lemony than when made with dried leaves, but both are delicious.

When I planted a tiny lemon balm, it quickly took over a large portion of my garden. No wonder I made this calming lemon balm tincture and mosquito repellent I always carry with me for any holiday trip. Lemon balm lip balm is a go-to solution in the prevention or against the first signs of cold sores.

While I love to make fresh lemon balm tea , I also enjoy lemon balm in salads, pesto or to flavor ice pops or lemonades.  

lemon balm iced tea

Foraging or growing lemon balm?

As much as I enjoy foraging wild herbs such as yarrow or elderberries to brew wild teas, I had no luck finding lemon balm in nature. However, lemon balm grows worldwide, sometimes even two feet high if not maintained. So I encourage you to search in your location.  The best time to forage is from May to September. One can find in hedgerows, wood edges, or waste grounds.

How to Harvest Lemon Balm Leaves For Tea

Lemon balm is easy to recognize. When you crush the leaves between your fingers, lemon balm has an unmistakably lovely lemon flavor. 

Stems are squared like all herbs from the mint family. When you twirl them around in your fingers, you will feel it.

Leaves are oppositely paired, deeply wrinkled, and range from dark green to yellowish green. 

Like all members of the mint family, lemon balm is not toxic and thus safe to forage. Visually you may mistake it for other members of the mint family. However, its wonderful lemony aroma, when you crush and smell the leaves, should confirm it as lemon balm.

Growing your lemon balm plant is easy and once established it comes every year as a bushy with a pleasant lemon smell that attracts bees. 

You can enjoy delicious lemon balm tea from fresh or dried leaves, stems, and flowers.

Once you gather fresh leaves, you can make tea directly from fresh ones or dry them and use them all year long.

Alternatively, order dried lemon balm online.

lemon balm

how to dry lemon balm

Spread lemon balm leaves on a baking sheet or drying rag and place them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. It takes up to 3 days to dry them completely. 

To speed up the drying process, you can use a dehydrator. Place the dehydrator at 95°F to 115°F before using it. Check on the herbs every 1-2 hours. They are dry when they crumble easily. If you have a different dehydrator, follow its directions for drying herbs.

In the oven – Place clean, dry leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into an 80 C (180F) oven for 2 hours or until crisp and crumbly.

how to dry lemon balm

Lemon Balm Tea Recipes

from fresh or dried lemon balm

Whether you make tea using dried or fresh lemon balm leaves, you will enjoy the lovely flavor of this drink. 

First step

Use one teaspoon of dried leaves and stems for one cup of tea

Second step

Gather lemon balm, whether foraging or harvesting your lemon balm. 

Third step

Wash the herb thoroughly and place it in a large teapot or mason jar.

Fourth step

Add 1 teaspoon of dried or two tablespoons of fresh lemon balm leaves for 1 cup of tea. 

Fifth step

Bring the water to a boil and pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover with a lid and let it steep for 15 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger tea you will get. 

Sixth step

Strain the herbal material and drink it or refrigerate it.

Seventh step

Sweeten with honey, and squeeze a splash of fresh lemon juice.

lemon balm tea pregnancy

From lemon balm tincture

Another way to brew up a cup of delicious tea is to use lemon balm tincture. The tincture is fully soluble in water and adds additional properties to lemon balm, extracted in ethanol only. 

First step

To prepare a cup of tea, steep 1 teaspoon of lemon balm tincture in 1 teapot of boiling water until infused, about 5 minutes. 

Second step

Stir in lemon balm tincture to your taste and sweeten as desired.

This study investigated the benefits of lemon balm tea made from lemon balm extract. The research revealed that the hot water extract of lemon balm might provide health benefits to glycation-associated tissue damage in the blood vessels and skin. 

dried lemon balm tea

Lemon balm iced tea

First step

Making lemon time ice tea requires more time as you need to cool it before drinking it. I always make iced tea in larger batches – 3-4 cups and keep it in the fridge for a few days. I also make the tea stronger as I dilute it with ice cubes when serving.

Second step

Pick a handful of fresh (2 tablespoons of dried) lemon balm leaves and place them in a casserole, kettle, or pot

Third step

Boil water and pour it over the leaves. Close it with the lid and let it steep for at least 20 minutes.

Fourth step

Strain the leaves and let the lemon balm infusion to cool completely.

Fifth step

Once cooled, pour it into a large jar to fill it up to half. Add lemon and sweetener, and ice cubes. Serve it with a long glass straw. I always like to include lemon wedges and a few lemon balm leaves for decoration.

Benefits of lemon balm tea

Although it has a long history of culinary use, the medicinal properties of lemon balm are impressive.

Speed up healing.

Just simple tea or lemon balm promotes the healing of cold sores. Gently place soaked tea bags on cold sores (3-5 times a day) to start the healing process. 

Improve mood and cognitive function.

This study demonstrates that lemon balm, thanks to its calming effect, may help improve memory and concentration tasks. It also helps to lift one’s mood.

May help with sleeping difficulties.

People with insomnia or with difficulties falling asleep may benefit from the relaxing effect of this great nighttime tea.

Ease menopausal syndrome and menstrual pain.

This research suggests that lemon balm tea may improve the quality of life of menopausal people with sleep disturbance.

May decrease depression and reduce anxiety and stress.

lemon balm infusion

Support gastrointestinal health.

Many people say that lemon balm eases their digestive issues.

*The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Content on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide personalized medical advice.

Lemon balm tea pregnancy.

Like most herbs, there’s been little study of their safety for pregnant women. This study mentioned that lemon balm might be a risk factor if:

  • a person is pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • a child.
  • individuals taking sedatives.
  • Individuals with thyroid disorders as Lemon balm, may interfere with the action of thyroid hormones. These people should consult their doctor before taking these herbs with thyroid hormones.
  • allergic to lemon balm.

There is currently insufficient research on lemon balm’s side effects specifically. Therefore, people with underlying conditions should consult a doctor before using lemon balm or tea therapeutically.

how hot should your water be for herbal tea?

Different teas require different water temperatures to taste best. White and green teas should be made with water that is not quite boiling, while black and herbal teas like lemon balm need water at a full boil to bring out the flavor. Ideally, you can bring the water to a boil and then let it sit for a minute or two before adding it to your leaves.

lavender lemon balm tea
Yield: 1

How to make lemon balm tea (3 recipes)

fresh lemon balm tea

Learn three ways to brew a perfect cup of lemon balm tea using fresh or dried lemon balm leaves. This relaxing and calming herbal tea recipe is caffeine free and helps you into sleep.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

from fresh or dried lemon balm leaves

  • tablespoon of fresh lemon balm or 1 teaspoon dried lemon calm
  • 1 cup of water
  • honey or sugar (optional) to sweeten

From lemon balm tincture

  • 1 teaspoon lemon balm tincture
  • 1 cup of water
  • honey or sugar (optional) to sweeten

Lemon balm iced tea

  • 2 tablespoons of dried lemon balm leaves
  • 4 cup of water
  • lemon juice to taste
  • honey or maple syrup to sweeten
  • lemon slices to decorate
  • lemon balm leaves to decorate

Instructions

from fresh or dried lemon balm leaves

  1. Gather lemon balm, whether foraging or harvesting your lemon balm. 
  2. Wash the herb thoroughly and place it in a large teapot or mason jar.
  3.  Add 1 teaspoon of dried or two tablespoons of fresh lemon balm leaves for 1 cup of tea. 
  4. Bring the water to a boil and pour boiling water over the herbs. Cover with a lid and let it steep for 15 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger tea you will get. 
  5. Strain the herbal material and drink it or refrigerate it.
  6. Sweeten with honey, and squeeze a splash of fresh lemon juice.

From lemon balm tincture 

  1. Another way to brew up a cup of delicious tea is to use lemon balm tincture. The tincture is fully soluble in water and adds additional properties to lemon balm, extracted in ethanol only. 
  2. To prepare a cup of tea, steep 1 teaspoon of lemon balm tincture in 1 teapot of boiling water until infused, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Stir in lemon balm tincture to your taste and sweeten as desired.

Lemon balm iced tea

  1. Making lemon time ice tea requires more time as you need to cool it before drinking it. I always make iced tea in larger batches - 3-4 cups and keep it in the fridge for a few days. I also make the tea stronger as I dilute it with ice cubes when serving.
  2. Pick a handful of fresh (2 tablespoons of dried) lemon balm leaves and place them in a casserole, kettle, or pot
  3. Boil water and pour it over the leaves. Close it with the lid and let it steep for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the leaves and let the lemon balm infusion to cool completely.
  5. Once cooled, pour it into a large jar to fill it up to half. Add lemon and sweetener, and ice cubes. Serve it with a long glass straw. I always like to include lemon wedges and a few lemon balm leaves for decoration.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 78mgCarbohydrates: 71gFiber: 2gSugar: 65gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Vladka Merva on January 2nd, 2023

5 Comments on “How to make lemon balm tea (3 recipes)”

  1. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety and trouble getting to sleep. This really helped me! And it was super tasty. Thanks so much for including a way to use the dried leaves!

    Reply
  2. This was so delicious and calming that I may need to make it a regular afternoon treat. Thanks for all the details and the easy recipe.

    Reply
  3. I am new to making my own teas and I really appreciate all of the information, it really helped me make this. I plan to plant some lemon balm in the garden this spring, too!

    Reply
  4. I’d heard about the benefits of lemon balm tea for anxiety and stress but honestly, I was hesitant to try it. I’m not a huge tea fan, but this really did turn out lovely! I’ll be continuing to brew this for my anxiety, thanks so much!

    Reply

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