Lady Lemon Balm Elixir
Lady Lemon Balm Elixir
Lovely Lady Lemon Balm♥
This is a tasty elixir, available in half or 1 ounce sizes. I gathered fresh Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, and extracted it in organic grape alcohol, fresh distilled water and local raw honey. After the initial straining, I double extracted it by adding some dry lemon balm to increase the concentration and flavor. She's pretty special, read on for more info ♥
***while I have the supplies, free custom tea samples with your order! just give me three words that come to you and I will make a tea based on those words, fun right? there should be a comments section to add your words during checkout☺***
Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis
Also known as: Balm Mint, Bee Balm, Blue Balm, Cure-all, Garden Balm, Honey Plant, Melissa, Sweet Balm, Sweet Marymon
Helps to rest, digest, be present and cool things down. Helpful for a heated digestive tract, nervous tension and pesky Herpes Simplex viruses. Enables a remembering or returning to playful, curious and sensual states of being.
Flavors/Energetics: sour, aromatic, cooling, relaxant
Actions: Nervine, Anti-Spasmotic (especially digestive), Anti-Depressant, Vasodilating Hypotensive, Carminative, Mild Diaphoretic, Anti-Viral (especially Herpes Simplex I & II), Sedative, Emmenagogue, Anxioletic, Antipyretic, Hepatic, Anti-Microbial, Thymolyptic (aids in elevated mood), Anti-Inflammatory
Primary Constituents: Flavonoids, particularly Rosmarinic Acid (anti-oxidant and immune modulating, helps normalize hyper-thyroidism), Luteolin-7-glucoside (anti-cancer/mutagenic), Succinic acid, Essential Oils
Indications: Nervous Tension particularly in the stomach, Anxiety that causes an inability to relax, fear associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a hot & tense stomach with indigestion/gas/cramping, Herpes Simplex Virus & Shingles (internally & externally), fever with no appetite and/or nausea, hypertension, hyperthyroidism and possibly Grave’s disease, can be used in combination with other herbs to help bring on delayed menses (especially when due to anxiety and stress), mental fogginess due to nervous exhaustion, restlessness and insomnia, a need to restore oneself to playfulness and youthful sensuality.
Contra-indications: Hypothyroidism, should not be sole treatment for anxiety/depression, possibly not safe in early to mid-pregnancy due to emmenagogue effects, generally regarded as safe for children
Lemon Balm’s Latin name speaks of her strong relationship with honey bees. Melissa means ‘bee’ in Greek, and the Melissae (bees) were priestesses of goddesses usually associated with the moon (Diana, Artemis, Demeter). Bees have a long history of being considered sacred and having a connection with the Goddess or divine feminine energy, they dance the figure 8 of eternity and are one of the primary reasons we get to taste the sweetness of fruit and feast on the bounty of food. Bees are suffering right now, and so too, when the bees suffer, so we. We are interconnected even if we don't see it in our daily lives.
Lemon Balm is gentle, scalloped and curvy. She smells bright and lovely when rubbed gently to release some of her aromatic oils. Lemon Balm, let’s just refer to her as Melissa, is a wonderful herb for uptight busy bodies who forget to eat and complain of tension headaches, indigestion and feeling “hot and bothered” (not in that good way, haha).
Melissa has a special ability to relax the nervous & digestive systems, cool down heat that is stuck in the digestive tract and tone the cardiovascular system by slightly dilating blood vessels. In so doing, Melissa moves heat and tension stuck in our core, releasing it to be swept away in the currents of our blood out to the periphery, literally helping us to ‘chill out.’ This can be especially helpful for someone who has hyperthyroidism and needs assistance with calm and focus but struggles with feeling tight and overworked. Melissa has constituents that bind to thyroid hormones and help lower the TSH uptake.
For young ones, colic & nervous stomach can be aided with a simple weak tea sweetened with a little sugar or throw some chopped leaves into a little ice cream. Lemon Balm tea with honey & lemon tastes delicious! Lemon Balm is lovely for new mommas too, but is a bit drying so avoid larger or regular doses while breastfeeding if you tend towards having a dryer and/or hotter constitution.
Melissa is an especially wonderful ally in treating Herpes virus outbreaks. Can be used internally as well as topically in a salve or oil, or as a simple infusion (tea) placed on the affected area. Research seems to show that constituents of the plant help prevent the virus from binding to the host cell and can help speed healing. What I have noticed in some folks who have used Lemon Balm topically on Herpes outbreaks is that it seems to initially get a bit worse at the onset of treatment and then heal more rapidly after that initial increase in symptoms. Combines well with Rose, st. John's Wort, Elder Flower and Calendula in external skin formulas.
Melissa is traditionally regarded to aid memory, clarity and focus. Some studies have shown that this is dose dependent, meaning there will be right amount to take for these effects for each of us, and more or less will not necessarily show the same effects. A funny story to make this point: when I was first studying Lemon Balm as an herb student, I read that the dry herb was less potent than the fresh herb (not true necessarily, depends on what you are using the plant for....) Since I only had dry on hand, I made a strong tea with a heaping Tbsp. of herb to one cup of water. I let it infuse for a while and then sat down to read a book while sipping it.
After about twenty minutes, I felt almost too calm (I am one of those busy body uptight types who gets a little anxious when I am too relaxed). I also felt hungry suddenly (the tension in my core was released) and so I went over the fridge to get….well, something, because by the time I was there I couldn’t remember why I was at the fridge so I stood there with the door open trying to figure it out. Back to trying to read, starting to get sleepy, but still hungry, I decided I needed to get something from the fridge again, and when I was back at the fridge, I couldn’t recognize a food I wanted to eat and was too relaxed to cook or prepare anything.
The calming properties of Melissa had become much more like a sedative as I was hardly interested in anything that would require me to focus, like using a pan or remembering how to cook…I think I was able to slice some cheese and fall asleep. But the back and forth to the fridge lasted at least 45 minutes! So, a teaspoon might have encouraged a calm that aids in focus and clarity, while a heaping tablespoon made me a fridge stalking house wanderer!
Tthere is a lot of research being done on the cognitive benefits from regular use of Melissa. Science is showing that some constituents help bind to the Acetylcholine receptors in the brain (the ones that break down and contribute to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia) The binding of these receptors seems to help delay the progression of symptoms. The calming benefits of Melissa have been shown to decrease the amount of fear and agitation in older folks in nursing homes, especially when applied topically.
On a personal note, to me, the energy, or spirit of Melissa is one that embodies maiden/youthful/playful sexuality. Those early moments where we, as young curious spirits first begin exploring the playful and wonderful realm of touch and sexual/creative pleasures. A shameless, gentle, beautiful and embodied sexuality that comes from true organic expression (before we are conditioned to think we need to be this or do that in order to be ‘sexy,’ or ‘sexual’). The first kiss. The feeling of being alive, where the cells are singing and there is a simple delight in the pleasure of living. That time in life where you felt like your whole future is ahead of you and everything feels so new.
Some of us, too many of us, didn't quite get to feel this way in our bodies often enough, or not at all. Melissa can be an ally in resurrecting those parts of ourselves. They are still there, I promise ♥
To experience this energy, it requires a certain openness and calmness, a focus that is not razor sharp, but rather arising naturally out of being fully present in the moment. When we are in a state of balance, we are able to be equally soft and present, being wildly curious, unowned by the stories of the past and open to the adventures that await. We are bright. We are relaxed in the core and able to breathe. This, to me, is Melissa. It is the bright, wild and innocent part of ourselves which reaches out to new and pleasurable experiences.
It is important to keep a place for that young and wild part of ourselves no matter what stage of life we are in.
Moving into mother/crone or into full adulthood are powerful transitions which act as additions to our full self and not an override of the previous state as substituting the former. Sadly, I feel we have lost a bit of room in our current cultural demands and schedules and modern life which make it difficult for us to make room for the playful needs of the wild self. Let’s make room for this part and visit and feed this part honey now and again. It is there for us to access and most likely misses the opportunity to come out and shamelessly play.
I have a lot of wounds around the maiden aspects of my own sensuality since my ability to naturally grow into and explore my sexuality was taken from me without my permission. My first encounters of Melissa as a tea invoked anxiety in me as opposed to bringing calm and only after sitting with her and really finding what the anxiety was trying to protect me from was I able to see how much I had suppressed Melissa energy in me. She showed me how that part of me was wounded and how much, if I was willing, I could learn from her. She is teaching me to love my gentleness, be wild and present and open to touch. She shows me shows me that when I am rubbed (physically or energetically) playfully, with consent, in a way that is not harming but instead allows me to release the best of myself, pleasure can be wholly wonderful in itself. Indeed, it is our birthright to feel and embrace what brings us wonderful, consensual pleasure.
I encourage you, if any of Melissa’s qualities resonate with you and especially if you would like to bring in a bit more maiden energy and healing, to grow some Melissa (lucky for us she is one of those plants that can be potted easily and grown indoors near a window!). Sit with her and watch how she grows over time. See how her arms reach out to display her gifts and her leaves welcome affection and offer aromatic pleasures in gratitude for your presence.
In my practice, when someone tells me of their desire to work these younger or more tender parts or of feeling lost and disconnected form the curious, wild and younger parts of the self, particularly related to wounded sexuality, Melissa is one we turn to for guidance. I often encourage growing a little pot of her and nibbling the leaves, but having an elixir like this can be a valuable and much more portable aid in accessing her medicine. She might teach you something entirely different, which is what is so exciting about how plants + people connect. My favorite was working with a self-identified crone who said to me after a few drops of the elixir, "you know, I always thought I was such a brat when I was younger, getting myself into messes. But I realize now how damn fun that was. I need some more messes in my life." <--- uh, yeah, me too!
Taken by the drop or two, she can connect deeply with the energetic body and enliven. Taken by the dropperful or two she can help relax tension in the core and promote the ease of resting and digesting.