Having a garden is having your own apothecary. It’s great to be able to walk into your garden and harvest foods and plants which are full of nutrients to help you stay happy and healthy. I love growing herbs which I can use for medicines, tinctures and teas. I tend to dry some and also use the fresh herbs to make tinctures in apple cider vinegar which will keep for a long time, so I always have homemade medicines at hand.
Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis), also known as Melissa, and Lavender, are two herbs which I have found a lot of people growing here in the UK, and as lemon balm is a sun-loving herb I can imagine it is grown in many other areas also. These two particular herbs are easy to find and so very useful for the beginner.
Some benefits of lemon balm and lavender include:
- antispasmodic – eases menstrual pains and tension as well as other emotional issues related to the menstrual cycle
- mild diaphoretic
Lavender can help to ease headaches and reduce stress. This plant has been used since medieval times to relax, promote sleep and reduce anxiety and stress. It is for these particular reasons that Melissa is most affective for nervous system disorders also. The herb is also good for the digestive system (reduces flatulence, indigestion and colic). It is a mild sedative yet it uplifts the mood making it an ideal herb for depression. This is a tea which does not require any sweetening as it has a mild taste and a beautifully fresh fragrance. A few studies have also found that Melissa may improve cognitive functions and could therefore be beneficial for people who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Fresh leaves — Add 1 teaspoon of fresh leaves to a cup with boiling water.
After a few minutes, remove the leaves and enjoy the uplifting benefits of Melissa.
- Dried herb — Add a teaspoon of the dried herb and follow the above instruction.
Can be sweetened to taste if preferred, however, I enjoy mine as it is.
Dried lemon balm leaves make an excellent addition to mint chutney. Simply add mint and lemon balm with some olive oil, 1 garlic clove, salt to taste and give it a blitz. It’s simple, tasty and good for you.
Melissa and Lavender combined together make an excellent tea. At least one cup a day, one week before your menstrual cycle can help to reduce PMS and menstrual cramping. Lavender is naturally an anticoagulant so it helps to thin the blood, reducing pain associated with clotting during menses. If you are taking blood thinning medication please use lavender with care.