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        Lemon Balm is scientifically referred to as Melissa officinalis. The herb also has the common nick name of balm mint. It's very fascinating that the fragrance of lemon can be found in many plants, including this one, and even Cannabis. The same thing is so for many other aromas. It has a long history of use in alternative healing practices. There is some scientific phytochemical research into balm mint. I first gained interested in it when stumbling upon information discussing its potential as a nootropic ( mind-power type substance ).


Lemon balm has many medical applications in traditional and alternative medicine, and a history of use as a popular culinary flavoring agent. It's often times used in teas and any sort of refreshing delight that mint has been used in. It goes great with strains of Mint, and very likely shares some of the same phytochemical constituents as peppermint also. It has been used in so many ways that it's mind-boggling. Lemon balm has some unique and incredible potential that's almost always over-looked by those who market it and use it.(bloggers, herbalist) There is much more to it than most people state.


Lemon Balm has a history of use in traditional Austrian medicine where the leaves were prescribed for both internal and external applications (Internal being tincture, tea, external poultices, etc). Today, this plant is still used in German pharmacies and is the main ingredient in Carmelite Water. Carmelite water is a formulate that dates all the way back to the 14th century. Its essential oils are used in aromatherapy. You can easily produce your own oils. A Native American friend of mine shared with me a simple secret. Take the flowers and even leaves of the live plant and add them to water. Water and oil don't mix, so there's an easy way to separate them. You can use a dropper to collect them. Steam distillation is more advanced method. You can always buy products ready made as well.


With all of this in mind, it reminds me of infusions, and I think they are the way to go. They are essentially combinations of different leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, put together because of their strengths and similarities. It would be really interesting to see a list of constituents for Lemon balm alone ( which you can, below ), but to see a list of all of them in a mixture that contains 5 herbs? That's a lot of phytochemicals! That would be cool!


Essential Oils



Essential oils can easily be extracted from Lemon-balm using fresh material. Add the fresh organic material to some fluoride free water ( spring water ) and allow it to sit in the sun for an extended period of time. You can also warm some water on the stove and add it to the organic material to separate the oils. Water that is too hot may prove damaging to many of the prized constituents. These essential oils are what is prized in the practice of aromatherapy. They typically contain the highest concentrations of active phytochemical alkaloids and constituents, with some exceptions. Other herbs may contain the most desired chemical(s) in the plant salts.


Health Benefits


There has been extensive research on the effects and constituents found in Lemon balm. As shocking as it may seem high doses of purified extracts in human subjects produced "significantly increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness." This to me sounds like an adaptogen. Other studies show that a daily dose of lemon baln tea reduces oxidative stress. These findings are not surprising as many plants are even used in the production of modern pharmaceutical medicine. They are literally pharmacological gold mines in my opinion.


Crushed leaves of the plant can be used as a mosquito repellent. Yet another study has found it to be effective in reducing stress and to have anxioltic effects. A constituent known as rosmarinic acid causes GABA transaminase inhibition activity in humans. Again further research shows it to potentially improve mood and mental performance. These properties are thought to be due to the muscarinic and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. This is further evidence of its effectiveness in aromatherapy applications.

Phytochemical Constituents


Constituents found in this species: eugenol, tannins, and terpenes. Melissa officinalis also contains 1-octen-3-ol, 10-alpha-cadinol, 3-octanol, 3-octanone, alpha-cubebene, alpha-humulene, beta-bourbonene, caffeic acid, caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, catechinene, chlorogenic acid, cis-3-hexenol, cis-ocimene, citral A, citral B, citronellal, copaene, delta-cadinene, eugenyl acetate, gamma-cadinene, geranial, geraniol, geranyl acetate, germacrene D, isogeranial, linalool, luteolin-7-glucoside, methylheptenone, neral, nerol, octyl benzoate, oleanolic acid, pomolic acid, protocatechuic acid, rhamnazine, rosmarinic acid, rosmarinin acid, stachyose, succinic acid, thymol, trans-ocimene and ursolic acid.


        It may be interesting to note that harmine, a constituent found in this herb is also found in Passion Flower, Ayahuasca Vine, and other MAOI inducing plants used in brews by Shamans. It's obvious after much research that many of these prized pharmacological compounds exist over and over in many separate plants. Nature produces an endless abundance of these types of compounds. The best part of it all is that they have been created by the pharmacy of reality itself.


Growing Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm seeds of this plant require light and temperatures of at least 20 degrees Celsius ( 70 degrees F ) in order to germinate. It's best to plant more than one seed at a time for obvious reasons [ survival of the fittest ]. You can use an old egg carton to germinate the seeds. If you do decide to use the egg carton you'll have to transplant them into small pots rather quickly. Allow the seedlings to become root-bound before transplanting again. You can actually cut them out and stick them straight in the soil, the carton should bio-degrade.


These plants are perennial and belong to the mint family. Don't think you can kill them because they will come back. This means they come back every year. They can completely die off in the winter and grow back, just like other mint species. You should plant your seeds alone because Lemon Balm can quickly take over any garden plot. Take cuttings regularly and hand them out so as to spread the genetics around the world. Heirloom seeds are of extreme importance. [ see the dangers of GMO genetics! ] You can cut a branch off and stick it in water and put it next to a window seal and it will grow roots. Don't overwater it or give it too much sunshine and you will be find! You can buy live Lemon balm plants here.


Precautions:

Lemon Balm can be interacted with by "thyroxine", a thyroid "medication" (Pharmaceutical garbage) [ The two should not be combined ]. Consider interactions, dosages, long term effects, and preparations when considering this alternative medicine or any other. Consult your healthcare provider before use. In general, you shouldn't take pharmaceutical drugs in combination with any herb. It can be dangerous. Of course, the herb will get the blame from the authorities. We want to see these medicines remain legal, as crazy as it is that politicians want to out-law nature, it's happened many times. So please, just be careful about 'combinations'.

Random related product:Alfalfa ( Medicago sativa)

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