As the weekend winds down, I sip one of my favorite hot drinks: lemon balm tea. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a favorite calming herb, and is an excellent soothing bedtime drink. It contains compounds known as terpenes, which give the herb its calmative properties. Even the steam carries a lovely lemony fragrance. This member of the mint family has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for a wide range of ailments, including insomnia, indigestion, and insect bites.
Although lemon balm is best known as an anti-anxiety, anti-insomnia herb, it appears to have anti-viral properties as well. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, research suggests that this herb is effective against cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. The terpenes are believed to be responsible for this healing property. You can use strained lemon balm tea leaves as a topical poultice for cold sores.
To prepare lemon balm tea, place a teaspoon of the dried herb in a mesh tea ball. In a teacup, pour just boiled water over the mesh ball. Cover the cup and steep for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey if you like. Try lemon balm combined with oatstraw or valerian.
If pre-Monday jitters creep up on Sunday evening, why not prepare a cup of hot lemon balm tea? You’re sure to enjoy its fragrance, flavor, and soothing effects. Find dried lemon balm and other herbs in the bulk section of your local health food store, or online at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Be well and be blessed!