Lemon balm tincture is an effective herbal formulation with a calming effect on emotional stress that enhances your mood. This potent and safe herbal extract may also help you with insomnia and indigestion.
Lemon balm uses
This lemon scented herb called by Paracelsus “elixir of life” has been used to enhance the mood and alleviate anxiety and insomnia for thousands of years. However, it’s medicinal benefits don’t stop there. Melissa officinalis also called balm mint or honey plant or heart’s delight also helps with menopause or menstrual cramps. In addition it may ease pain and discomfort from indigestion.
Every time I am in the backyard it delights my senses with its lemony fragrance that also attracts honey bees. In fact its latin name Melissa means “honey bee” and it was planted in ancient times around beehives to encourage bees to be happy and stay together.
This fragrant herb from the mint family contains volatile oils as well as a number of minerals and antioxidants that contribute to its medicinal properties.
Melissa is also effective remedy for cold sores.
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How to make lemon balm tincture
Tinctures are one of the easiest ways (next to tea) to implement herbs in your daily routine. They are concentrated herbal extracts in alcohol as a solvent. Soaking herbs in alcohol for several weeks enables extracting a high concentration of active substances in a few drops. Tinctures are a traditional and very convenient way of preparing and preserving herbs with a long (up to 5 years ) shelf life.
Whether you grow lemon balm in your garden or you decide to forage you will need to gather 2 handfuls of fresh lemon balm for this herbal preparation.
The best time to harvest lemon balm is early in the morning as it helps preserve the volatile oil content of the plant. Also collect the herb before it begins to bloom as the volatile oils and medicinal compounds in leaves are the most concentrated.
I have been using dried herbs for many tinctures in the past however when it comes to lemon balm I suggest using fresh material. It is a very fragrant herb with volatile substances that are at its best power when fresh.
Chop fresh leaves and stems of lemon balm to increase the surface area for the maceration and place it into a sterilized jar filling it to ¾.
Pour in 80 proof vodka to cover the lemon balm. You might have to push down the leaves a bit and some still may float, but that’s ok.
select alcohol 40% = 80 proof ethanol, ethyl alcohol or grain spirit, alternatively vodka that doesn’t have any specific flavor or color. Pour the alcohol over the lemon balm to the very top of the jar.
I prefer to use a glass jar with a plastic lid however if you have one with a metal lid at hand, use parchment paper in between to avoid any corrosion. Cover the jar and set it in a cool place that is easy to reach. You will need to shake it occasionally to help break the cell walls of the herb. Also make sure that the leaves and stems are covered completely with alcohol as it may evaporate and you will need to add it up. The whole extraction process may last 6-8 weeks.
Strain the tincture through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth. Make sure there are no herbal pieces left in the tincture as they may lead to the development of mould and spoilage.
Store the tincture in a dark bottle with a dropper in a cold place. It can last up to 5 years.
Don’t forget to label your tincture with the date you made it.
Lemon Balm Tincture Benefits
This melissa tincture is handy when one needs to sleep at the end of the day. It may help relieve insomnia and restlessness. In this study conducted on children below 12 years of age researchers found that lemon balm, in combination with valerian, is effective in the treatment of restlessness and dyssomnia.
Lemon balm tincture for anxiety
It may help to reduce stress and anxiety. In this double-blind experiment, 18 healthy volunteers received lemon balm extract and a placebo. Those participants that received lemon balm extract experienced mood improvement and stress resistance.
How does lemon balm help the nervous system?
The secret is in its lemony scent. The pleasant aroma that is produced by these volatile oils such as citral, geranial and citronellal help calm down the muscle tension and help with indigestion that can come with anxious episodes.
This easy to grow herb that can also be foraged is safe also for children and is often used to calm a sleepless or hyperactive child.
Moreover these oils repel mosquitoes which make this tincture an ideal ingredient for a DIY mosquito spray.
Lemon Balm Tincture Dosage
The recommended dosage is between 15 and 30 drops one to three times daily. The research suggests a dose of 60 drops daily has shown to have beneficial results.
If you don’t like its taste you can drop between 15 and 30 drops into cold water or a cool drink.
Lemon balm is a very safe herb so no need to worry about taking too much.
Lemon balm is effective when applied topically for cold sores. However it should be applied in the form of oil or balm or cream rather than a tincture. The tincture when applied to the skin may cause skin irritation
If you want to make an alcohol free tincture you can replace alcohol with vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar.
If stored properly in a dark and dry place away from direct sunlight like a kitchen cabinet it can last up to 5 years.