Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lemon Balm Tea

In yesterday's post I mentioned a few of the ways that I use my herbs.  Today I want to share one of those ways with you.  I'm going to show you how I make lemon balm tea.  

First, let me share a bit about lemon balm with you.  This excerpt is taken from the e-book "Healing Herbs" by Rosalee de la Foret.

Lemon balm is a highly aromatic plant that is easy to grow in your garden. Like many mints it has a variety of uses and is generally safe for all ages. It also tastes wonderful, making it an easy remedy to get down picky throats.

Children seeking comfort from the pain of teething can use lemon balm as a tea or can chew on a washcloth soaked in tea.

Like many mints it is an aromatic digestant that can be used for indigestion, gas, bloating, and other digestive complaints.

Lemon balm is antiviral and a relaxing diaphoretic, making it an ideal choice for colds and the flu, especially when accompanied by a fever. It is often combined with St. John’s Wort, both topically and internally, to relieve cold sores. Because both of these antiviral herbs are relaxing nervines they make an especially beneficial pairing for these stress-related sores.

Lemon balm’s calming abilities are especially suited for tissues in an excited state such as hyperthyroidism. It is often paired with bugleweed (Lycopus spp.) and motherwort (Leonorus cardiacus) for hyperthyroid conditions with heart palpitations. Because it is often used for hyperthyroidism, some caution those with a hypothyroid from using too much of it.

If you’re feeling overly stressed with a go-go-go-go mentality, a daily lemon balm infusion can help you to slow down and unwind. I like to pick lemon balm just before it flowers, which is usually when the temperatures are nice and toasty outside. 

Ok, now for my disclaimer.  I love lemon balm.  But, as you just read it is a part of the mint family.  In case you don't know what that means - IT IS VERY INVASIVE.  I actually have spearmint growing as well, and lemon balm makes spearmint look like a wussy in regards to it's invasive tendencies.  I knew nothing about it when I planted it other than Isaac thought it would be good to have.  Note here - research before you go planting something you know nothing about.  That one little lemon balm plant that we put in the front flower bed has sent runners under the ground all the way into the back yard.  It wants to take over everything.  Having said that, I would still grow it, I would just grow it in a pot or in a separate bed with deep boundaries to keep it in one spot.  Hind sight's 20/20...

So, here's my favorite way to use this lemony herb of goodness.

Pick (or cut) your lemon balm and wash it in cool water.

Stuff it into a quart sized mason jar while twisting and bruising the leaves.  There is no need pick the leaves from the stems.

Next, fill the jar with boiling water to cover the lemon balm.  Then, press and crush the leaves with a wooden spoon.

Once the leaves have been crushed, cap the jars and wait for them to completely cool.

After the tea has cooled, strain it into a different container.  I strained my quart jars into a half gallon mason jar, but you can use a pitcher or anything you have on hand.

The tea you now have is very concentrated.  You want to dilute it by at least half.  In this case, I poured the tea off of my quart sized jar into a half gallon container and finished filling it up with cold water.

It's a matter of taste at this point.  You may like your tea a little weaker.  Depending on how strong my first batch of tea is, I may dilute it by thirds or even quarters.  

You can add a little honey or simple syrup it you like it sweet.  Or if you really want to play up the lemony flavor, you can add an extra dash of lemon juice.

With the rest of the tea concentrate I had left, I poured enough concentrate to make a half gallon of tea at a time into freezer bags and popped them in the freezer for a quick way to make tea each time I had a hankering for some.  Just make sure you don't skimp on quality bags for this like I did.  They leak everywhere leaving all of your hard work a waste.  Whoops...

Since we're not drinking soda anymore we're always on the lookout for a healthy beverage alternative.  You know, sometimes you're just not in the mood for water. :0) Lemon balm tea just fits the bill. 

I'm linking this post to Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. I love how you make everything look/sound so easy.

    I seriously need to begina herb garden. Is it possible to do so in the near Winter like this?


  2. Jessie,

    I'm sure you can do an herb garden. We grew them down there. I'm not sure on the time, though. It may be something that you would have to grow in pots until you warm up a bit. Of course, some of my herbs are extremely cold tolerant (sage, thyme, parsley, lemon balm to name a few). Basil doesn't like the least bit of cold. I took some cuttings and have them rooting in my kitchen window right now. I would just advise you to look up the herbs you're most interested in growing and see what it says for your zone. I think y'all in in zone 9.

  3. It's a very nasty tea, I'll give it that. NEVER will I drink it!

  4. Obviously, my son doesn't care for the taste of lemon balm. :0)

  5. I didn't grow lemon balm this past summer, but I grew lemon verbena and pineapple sage. I might have to try this tea with those herbs next summer. I usually just add them to my sun tea or make infused simple syrup. I have never made a tea with just the herbs.


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