Herbal Remedies Information - Lemon Balm

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Herbal Remedies Information - Lemon Balm
By: Mercedes Aspland

This article is part of a series giving information about herbs and their medicinal properties. We are going to look at lemon balm in this article. You will find out what this herb is, how you can use it and the conditions that could be helped by lemon balm.

What is Lemon Balm?

Lemon Balm is a plant that is native to the Mediterranean however it is also cultivated in North America. The herb is a perennial that is related to the mint family but has a citrus scent. It is a bright and bushy plant that was used over 2000 years ago by the Greeks for medicinal purposes. The plant was introduced as a garden herb to Britain by the Romans. The plant is a bush that grows to 2 feet or 60 cm in height and has heart shaped leaves with square stems. The plant blooms between June and October and has either white or golden coloured flowers. When the leaves are crushed they give off a strong lemon smell.

How to use Lemon Balm

Although the plant can be used for medicinal reasons it can also be used in food. The leaves can be great in a salad or they can be used in sauces for a variety of different meals. The flowers can also be used for medicinal purposes.

One of the best things to do with the plant is to make a tea in a similar way as you would with mint. You can also combine it with other herbs when making a tea and it can work really well with things like nettle, peppermint and chamomile.

Making a tea with lemon balm is very simple and involves combining the leaves with boiling water. You should leave it to infuse for about 10 minutes and then drink. You might want to strain it before drinking to remove the leaves. A tea made from lemon balm is very refreshing and relaxing and can be quite an enjoyable drink.

Uses of Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is very soothing and so it can help to reduce tension and also to relieve mild depression. Drinking lemon balm tea can help to improve digestion, increase a feeling of relaxation, ease muscle spasms and to reduce fevers. In addition the properties of lemon balm mean that it can be helpful with allergies.

The plant is thought to be significant at calming the mind and is used in aromatherapy for that. This means it could be useful for stress, anxiety, tension headaches, PMS and menstrual cramps. It is also thought to be helpful in cases of hyperthyroid activity, palpitations of the heart, and bringing about a restful sleep.

The herb can also be used externally to ease insect bites and stings, sooth cold sores and treat wounds. It can also be very helpful as an insect repellent due to its strong smell.

Side Effects and Precautions

Lemon balm has been used for thousands of years and is very safe however pregnant women and those that suffer from hypothyroidism should consult their doctor before taking a lemon balm remedy. If you are going to harvest your own herb than you should be careful as it attracts a lot of bees.

In terms of side effects, it has been known t o depress the nervous system and people with glaucoma should not take it as it can increase the pressure in the eye. In terms of interactions, you should reduce the dose of lemon balm when taking it with other herbs and should not take it with prescription sedatives or alcohol. It is also thought to interfere with thyroid hormones. If you have any concerns you should consult your doctor for more information.

This article has been supplied by alternative therapies directory. You can also find more information on our Herbal Medicine page.

Article Source: www.NewAgeArticles.com

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