Lemon balm is a wonderfully versatile medicinal herb which has been used to treat many ailments for centuries. Also known as Melissa officinalis, lemon balm is part of the mint family, but has a lemon scent (hence the name).
Lemon balm can be used to treat the entire body, but is especially useful for the digestive tract and nervous system. It is known to be a great stress reliever.
Here are a few ways you might consider using lemon balm in your daily life:
Make a stress-relieving foot soak
Add 1/2 cup of fresh lemon balm (or 2 tablespoons dried) to a large basin. Pour approximately two quarts of boiling water over the top and leave to steep for about 10 minutes. Add enough cool water to make the water a comfortable temperature, then soak feet.
Make an digestion-enhancing tea
To soothe an upset digestive tract, place 1/2 teaspoon of dried lemon balm and 1/2 teaspoon of dried peppermint into a heat-proof container. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and pour over the herbs. Cover and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the herbs and drink.
Makes one cup of tea.
Use plain lemon balm tea (1 teaspoon per cup of water) to help soothe heart burn, heart palpitations, nervousness, and anxiety.
Polish wood furniture
Fresh lemon balm leaves can be used to polish wood furniture. Just take a handful of leaves and rub. The oil in the leaves will clean and shine the wood, as also leave a nice scent (which will help keep some pests away, such as flies, and even cats).
Treat cold sores
Lemon balm's antiviral properties make it the perfect candidate for treating cold sores. Use a lemon balm cream that contains at least 1% lemon balm and apply to cold sore up to five times a day.
Take a calming bath
Help promote sleep and relaxation by taking a lemon balm bath. Simply brew a strong lemon balm tea and pour into the bath. Soak for at least 10 minutes.
Have you found any helpful ways to use lemon balm? If so, please share in the comments.
Stacy is the mom of three and wife to her preacher man. Stacy enjoys making herbal remedies and natural body care products. She is the author or Simple Scrubs to Make and Give, an eBook about creating all-natural body scrubs. Stacy strives to make home a place of peace and joy, she blog about it at A Delightful Home.
Hi. I just recently placed an order for the Liver Cleanse tincture and was wondering if you could also use vinegar to make it. Or if half a teaspoon of vodka 3-5 times a day would show up on a breathalyzer test? My husband is a bit worried about that and I would like to put his worries to rest.
Typically, the amount of alcohol consumed when taking a tincture is usually no more than what you would consume eating a very ripe banana. Personally, I don't think it would be an issue, but I am no expert.
“Ethanol is greatly diluted by the body fluids. For example, a 1-ounce shot of 80-proof whiskey, which contains 0.4 fluid ounces of ethanol will be diluted in a 150-pound human, producing somewhere in the neighborhood of an 0.02% blood alcohol concentration. With a user that is smaller with say one half of the water weight in his or her body than the individual in the prior example, that same 0.4 fluid ounce of ethanol would likely produce an alcohol concentration at or near 0.04%.” from http://www.intox.com/about_alcohol.asp
If you were to take 1 tsp of tincture 3 times a day, you’d only be ingesting a total of 0.5 fluid oz (1 Tablespoon) of alcohol per day. You could triple this dosage (1 T per dose) and still be under the limit mentioned in the example above.
You could absolutely use vinegar or some other medium if you prefer. You may have to adjust the dose or even take it a bit longer (potency and effect differs in tinctures when using alternative mediums), but it should work just fine.
You could also make a decoction (tea) if you'd prefer. Here's an article with more information on herbal preparations.
Shay McConnaughey is a wife and home-school mother to three children. She is a retired database designer, and currently works for Bulk Herb Store and for Well Tell Me. She does research, answers questions, and writes product reviews. Her goal is to educate others on health and herbs so they may enjoy the benefits God has provided through nature.
Spring is well on it's way, bringing with it house cleaning, clearing out clutter, and shudder bugs! Are you interested in trying BHS's Bentonite Clay Toothpaste Kit, but you're worried about too much clutter in your medicine cabinet? Well, if you get bit by mosquitoes, and the itch just drives you up the wall, there's a solution that can kill two birds with one stone.
This wonderful bentonite clay paste can be utilized for multiple purposes! So far I've used mine for:
teeth cleaner (read Nathan's article and the recipe here)
bug-bite itch soother (yay!)
a neat well, odd way to introduce people to the wonder's of God's great herbs ("You use MUD to clean your teeth?" "What is that on your feet??") :D
How To Use It For Bug Bites, Skin Irritation, Itching, & First Aid
The bentonite clay is like a sponge that absorbs all harmful bacteria and infection and the cinnamon, cloves and sea salt give it even more antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
For skin irritation and itching: A simple “mud pack” made with bentonite clay powder and enough water to create a thick goo can help control the itch and dry up blisters, herbalists say. Spread the clay over the affected area and let air dry. Keep it on until the clay wears off or gets itchy. Wash off the residue.
For first-aid: To make a healing pack, mix Bentonite clay powder or baking soda and oatmeal with water and an anti-infection herb (such as garlic, thyme, or calendula) or an herbal tincture. Apply to pimples, boils, or wounds."
Having the paste already made and saved in a nice glass jar keeps you prepared for instant use. (I'll tell you, when I get new bites or older ones get irritated, I feel like I could scratch myself wide open before I'd have time to whip up even a simple solution!) So the Bentonite Clay Tooth Paste Kit has baking soda, bentonite clay, antimicrobial herbs, and sea salt which come all together for a nice smooth paste to help in preventing infection and sooth bug-bite itches! To read more ideas for bites, and other input from more BHS customers and fans, click here. (Do keep in mind that it may sting if the bites have been scratched open! So use with discretion, of course!)
Don't already have all the ingredients? Order your kit here, or go to A Gypsy Herbal to find an alternate recipe, using the same basic recipe with different herbs.
What ways have you used the Bentonite Clay Toothpaste for something other than brushing your teeth?
Serafina Holeman is a missionary to Deaf children in Mexico.
She loves herbs as much as books, and blogs every-now-and-then at A Gypsy Herbal.
Can I just say that I love smoothies, and that I long for summer so I can enjoy them more often again.
You with me? I thought so.
So today, Shoshanna has a new video where she's showing us how to make a delicious berry smoothie that is great all on it's own, but you can throw in some of the smoothie herb mixes that Bulk Herb Store offers and take your smoothie to a whole new level.
Wanna know my faves? Daily Boost is my go-to mix unless I need the Stress Less which, let's face it, can be kinda often with 3 wild boys running around! Ha!
What do you add to your smoothies to give them a boost of nutrition?
Meagan Visser is the blog editor at Bulk Herb Store as well as the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy, where she offers natural, herbal skincare products for children. Connect with her at her Shop and Blog or email her at meagan (at) bulkherbstore (dot) com.
Being pregnant is one of the most incredible events of life. I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with our first baby…who could make it’s appearance any day now!
The first 3 months of pregnancy were pretty typical for me. I was tired, slept a lot, and tried to keep the news of the pregnancy secret until we were out of the first trimester. ;) (Yes, we succeeded!) The next three months of pregnancy were easy, and near the middle of the second trimester, we started taking birthing classes given by the lady who is going to attend our homebirth. Chuck (my husband) and I learned a lot. We were so overwhelmed by the knowledge of what I ate, and how it is currently effecting the baby, and how it will continue to effect it for the rest of it’s life.
With the pregnancy, came a desire to live a healthier lifestyle. Both by the things we ate, and by our physical lives. Taking walks, making little changes (like cooking with pink Himalayan sea salt instead of salt from a grocery store), using whole wheat flour, and drinking lots of smoothies. During the second trimester of pregnancy, I was introduced to Shoshanna’s series Making Babies, and literally, a whole new world was introduced to me. I was so excited to get started making tinctures from herbs to help me in some areas I was struggling with in my pregnancy! And so my quest started.
Through pregnancy, I’ve been dealing with some minor (but uncomfortable!) bone inflammation. I could especially feel minor discomfort in my tailbone area. In Making Babies, there is a recipe for a bone inflammation tincture and that so happened to be my first tincture making experience.
Tincture for Inflammation
-1 ½ cups of oat straw
-2 cups of nettle leaf
-Glycerin (I used apple cider vinegar)
1) Place herbs in a clean glass quart jar (make sure it has a lid!)
2) Fill jar 40% with hot water and 60% with glycerin. (Or all the way with ACV.) Leaving 1-2 inches of air space at the top.
3) Close jar tightly, place in a Crock-Pot with a small towel underneath to keep the jar from breaking.
4)Fill the Crock-Pot with water up to the top of the jar (not touching the lid), and leave it on the lowest setting for 3 days, being sure to keep the glycerin hot, but not boiling. Add water to the Crock-Pot as necessary.
5) Strain out herb solids and place liquid in a tincture bottle.
NOTE: Take 1-3 tablespoons a day, depending on how your bones are feeling.
The other “problem” area I’ve been dealing with is high blood pressure. I did a little research and found a very easy tincture to aid in this area. Along with this tincture, I’ve also made some diet changes like making sure I’m getting lots of protein and trying to eat mostly pure sea salt. Another important thing to do (for any issue!) is to drink TONS of water. Local midwives have said to make sure I’m getting a 3 quarts to a gallon of water a day. That’s a struggle, but just goes to show how important it is!
Ginger Tincture (To Help With High Blood Pressure)
-3-4 cups of fresh ginger root, shredded (use a food processor)
1) Shred ginger root in a food processor (or by hand if you want a workout!)
2) Place the ginger in a jar of your choice (one that’s big enough to hold all the ginger, or do multiple jars)
3) Pour vodka over the ginger, making sure the ginger is fully covered, but also being sure to leave a little air space at the top of the jar.
4) Screw on the lids, and set your ginger tinctures in a dark cabinet for 2 to 6 weeks, shaking them every other day.
5) After 2 to 6 weeks, strain out the ginger, and put the tincture (the liquid) into tincture bottles and take two drippers a day.
Creating your own tinctures right in your own kitchen is not only fun, but it’s extremely rewarding. Knowing that you’re creating your own medicines of sorts that are healthy and whole for your body is one of the most satisfying things ever! And seeing the positive effects they have on your body is even more satisfying (and relieving!)
Have you made any tinctures to help with specific problems you’re dealing with? If not, maybe now would be a great time to jump in and give it a shot! I’d love to hear your questions and comments, so feel free to voice them below!
Tessa McKnight blogs at TessaMcKnight.com, where she talks about life, the quest of living naturally, home birth, homeschooling, book reviews, delicious recipes, and more! She’s married to Chuck (who blogs at BeingFilled.com), and together they live life as a daily adventure seeking to honor Christ. In addition to blogging, Tessa enjoys family, coffee, getting lost, cooking, and going on new adventures with her husband. Find her on twitter @TessaDMcKnight.
From our Mailbox
Thanks so much for including your birth story. People need to hear about birth the way God designed it to be!! My husband and I actually visited the No Greater Joy offices the first weekend in August, but missed you because you were oh so with baby : )
So we were eager to hear the news. Bradley Childbirth is fantastic- I'm a doula and I've heard many "natural childbirth" perspectives, but I love how the Bradley method really encourages women to focus in on what their body is doing- and to give in to this process.
I liken it to trusting God- even when there is much pain/pressure!
So, we're sorry we missed meeting you but rejoice over Penelope Jane's birth!
Blessings, The Montmenys
Did You Know?
After childbirth, a mama's body is gearing up for breastfeeding. It also begins a cleansing process as chemicals, hormones, and nutrients are all adjusting to proper levels as before the pregnancy. The liver, kidneys, colon, etc. are all very involved in this cleansing. Herbs that aid in this process are known as liver cleansers and as blood purifiers. Amazingly enough, many of the liver cleansers and blood purifiers also promote milk production. Some of these herbs are: Fennel, Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle, and Dandelion. Most of us may not see the relation between breastfeeding and cleansing. However, God provided the herbs that aid the new mother to get both jobs done. The Mama's Milk Tea recipe was contributed by one of our readers, and includes herbs for after birth.