How to Use Lemon Balm
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Gayle
Posted on: August 17, 2001

How do you keep it or put it up (can) the lemon balm? What is its purpose? How can I use this herb? It is my first time to grow lemon balm. I heard you can make lemon balm oil; can you tell me how and what I can use it for?

Lemon balm is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is best known for its use in herbal tea. The leaves are dried and brewed either by itself or mixed with other tea herbs. The tea helps to settle the nerves and is pleasant to take as a nightcap before you go to bed to help induce sleep. Fresh lemon-scented leaves may be chopped and added to salads, soups and stews.

In recent years lemon balm has been found to posses anti-viral properties and has been used in creams and salves to treat skin sores caused by the herpes virus.

We have not heard of making an oil flavoured with lemon balm, but we can imagine that the method would be similar to other herbal oils such as basil or rosemary oil. For basil, rosemary and other herb oils, a branch or sprig of the fresh herb is added to hot oil in a decorative bottle. Usually for savoury oils such as basil, other spices and garlic are added for extra rich flavour. In the case of lemon balm, you would need to experiment. If you are making the oil for the medicinal antiviral effect, then you would not added anything else but plenty of fresh branches.

One must always be careful when making herbal oisl because they can become contaminated with bacteria. Always heat the oil to near boiling and make sure containers are sterilized. Storing in the fridge helps prevent bacterial outbreaks also.

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