Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herbal nervine. A nervine is an herb that works on helping the nervous system combat stress and nervous exhaustion. Lemon balm makes a wonderful nerve tonic.
Lemon balm is calming, and soothes the nerves. It is good as a single herb for anxiety and stress, but can also be used in combination with other calming herbs such as Valerian, Catnip, Lavender, or Passionflower. If mixed with Valerian or Passionflower, you should not use any other sleep inducing medication such as Valium.
For anxiety Lemon Balm is either given as a tea, tincture or glycerite.
To Make A Tincture
To make a tincture, you will need a 1 quart canning jar, lemon balm herb, 2 cups of either vodka, gin or brandy and 1 cup water. The liquid acts as the menstrum and will preserve the tincture for up to 5 years.
- Sterilize the jar.
- Fill the jar half way with the lemon balm herb.
- Pour the 2 cups of alcohol over the herb until it comes up over the top of the herb.
- Next, pour the 1 cup of water into the jar.
- Shake well.
- Leave in a warm place for 4 weeks. Shake it every day or so.
- If after a few days, the herb is not still fully immersed, add a touch more water. Herb needs to stay totally submerged under the liquid for the 4 weeks.
- After 4 weeks strain out the herb.
- Place tincture in a dark bottle, and label with herb and date.
Take 20 drops of tincture in juice, warm water, or tea 3-4 times a day. Do not take it for more than 2 weeks at a time. Give your body a rest, and take it again for 2 weeks if necessary. If the condition persists, contact your health care provider or herbalist.
If you don’t want the alcohol of a tincture, you can use vegetable glycerin or honey to make a glycerite.
The formula for making the glycerite is the same as a tincture. Follow the above steps, and replace the vodka with either the vegetable glycerin or honey. Allow the 6 weeks and then strain. Dosage is 1/4 tsp. 3 – 4 times a day.
Lemon balm should be avoided by those on hypothyroid medication as it is believed that the herb inhibits the absorption of this medicine.
To make a tea, see our gastrointestinal disorders page