Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lemon Balm : Happy Tea

My 5 year old daughter and I have been using a book called A Kid's Herb Book for Children of All Ages - Lesley Tierra to learn all about different herbs, their history, what they look like, smell like, taste like, and their healing properties. We really love Lemon Balm Tea (hot or iced) It is a calming, mood lifting, happy herb. We planted some in our herb garden last year and this spring it came back stronger, fuller and happier then ever. Here is a picture of my daughter with a bunch of lemon balm she picked last week ready to be washed and made into Tea, or "Happy Tea" as we like to call it.

A little info on Lemon Balm: According to Jase Donaldson , it is a member of the mint family and has been traditionally referred to as the “calming herb”. The plant is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, growing to 70-150 cm tall. The leaves have a slight lemon scent, (which make them a favorite for tasting as you garden) related to mint. Small white flowers appear near summer’s end, attracting bees. In mild temperate zones, the stems of the plant die off at the beginning of winter, but appear again in spring. Lemon Balm's Common Uses:Nervous agitation, tension, occasional anxiety, overactive behavior, mild mood swings, attention, memory, restlessness, and sleep difficulty.

Traditionally, decoctions made from the lemon balm have always been used to lift up the spirits and perk up morale. The herb is believed to induce longevity when it is taken on a regular basis.

How to make Lemon Balm Tea: "Happy Tea"
Wash a large handfull of lemon balm from your garden after taking all the leaves off. Fill a pot with filtered water and put your leaves in. Bring to a boil, then turn to a low simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Strain the leaves out of the tea into a pitcher. Add honey to taste. Drink hot or put on refrigerator and drink as and iced tea. I love it and the kids love it too.

Other uses: Tea is not the only thing lemon balm can be used for. It can be used in place of lemon peel in recipes. Add it to your favorite herbal vinegars that can be used in seafood marinades or salad dressings. There are also many other traditional uses of the herb, such as in the healing of wounds wounds, to relax the heart, to treating toothaches and other dental problems as well.

Lemon balm is so easy for you and your children to grow, it is the perfect herb to add to your garden. You can enjoy it all season long and if you harvest some of it and hang it to dry, you can have it around all year. I think I am going upstairs to enjoy a cup of "Happy Tea" right now.
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