Your ally: Lemon Balm

I’m obsessed with my gardening. I enjoyed the beauty of my indoor plants but now being able to grow things outside that we can actually use is a game changer.

In the midst of the influenza outbreak, my partner had a ringworm outbreak as four massive rings on his face and neck surfaced. I guess technically a fungus can’t “outbreak” but it was so bad that he passed it to me through an open bug bite on my arm. For jiu jitsu practitioners, ringworm is old news. We’ve been through this rodeo before. More than once. But now with the influenza panic, maintaining strong immune system was our focus. Knowing our bodies were fighting a fungal infection, we were extremely proactive with our natural remedies.

The lemon balm in my garden (along with my peppermint, rosemary, and oregano) arrived via my loving mother’s support of my gardening obsession. I didn’t even understand the healing goldmine that had stumbled into my lap at the time. I was just happy to have plants in my own yard. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, after the small plants were finally settled and happy, that I started to think about how to use my new herbs.

Lemon balm is also called Melissa from its botanical name Melissa officinalis. I almost felt the figurative lightbulb over my head when I read this. I was actually very acquainted with Melissa as an essential oil. I’ve happily spent well over $100 for a small 5 ml bottle of Melissa essential oil because it’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic properties are so potent. Suddenly, here she was in my backyard growing unadulterated and growing for me, like a weed.

Lemon balm is part of the mint family and, depending on your climate, it will spread like a weed. It’s been incredibly easy to grow in Southern California. I am no means a medical professional or offering medical advice but Lemon balm is also good for anxiety, helps aid with a sensitive digestion, and helps detoxify certain organs and decrease various types of inflammation. The Medical Medium has a section on lemon balm benefits with a recipe for a tea that inspired my own. The Medical Medium mentions in his books that growing your own food helps enhance its healing properties. As you nurture and protect your plants, they match your frequency and align with what your needs are.

My Lemon balm tea:

– 5-10 fresh lemon balm leaves

-2-6 fresh peppermint leaves

– Half a fresh lemon

– Honey to taste

When I had the time, I let the lemon balm and peppermint leaves infuse in this glass pitcher in the sun for most of the day. Because it wasn’t quite hot enough yet, I boiled the sun-activated water a little and let the leaves steep again before drinking. I added some lemon juice and lemon slices, also from our yard, and added honey to taste.

This is a light tasting tea. We were drinking this almost every other day for the healing benefits and still drink it regularly.

So it was lemon balm to the rescue. Now, lemon balm tea was not the only remedy we used to address the ringworm but it was the main component of the internal remedy, along with onions. (Topically, we were alternating using lemongrass essential oil and an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream twice a day over the effected area. I only used the undiluted lemongrass for about a week but it did “burn” my skin as it burned away the ringworm. My partner’s treatment was close to 4+ weeks.) The lemon balm didn’t just aid with the ringworm but with the anxiety of the unprecedented situation we, and the world, found ourselves in.

The Medical Medium lists the emotional support from lemon balms as:

“Stress and insecurities often cause us to feel fearful about what’s around the bend. We find ourselves lying in bed at night, wondering what will happen to us and our families. If you’re worried about what the future holds for yourself and others, lemon balm can take the worry away and replace it with a sense of peace.”

from Life Changing Foods

I feel a sense of calm drinking the tea and being able to use the herbs in my yard. The healing properties available in food are our allies in this time and I am grateful to have made having access to gardening a priority.

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