Last year, I started a few lemon balm plants from seed. Boy, have they come back like crazy this year! These plants are gorgeous! And I just love to rub the leaves between my fingers and smell them. Yummy.
But now that I have this beautiful plant gracing my flowerbed with its citrus-y fragrance, what do I do with it?
Here’s how to use lemon balm for cooking, natural healing, cleaning, cosmetics, and more…
Roasted Lemon Balm Chicken
Handful of fresh lemon balm leaves, stems removed
1/4 cup or so of fresh sage leaves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large roasting chicken
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°. Trim herb leaves from stems; wash and pat dry. Set sprigs aside. Chop two-thirds of the leaves, and combine with the butter, salt, and pepper. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Loosen the skin in several places and insert the herb butter underneath. Rub chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Insert the remaining herb sprigs into the cavity of the chicken. Place breast-side-down in a roasting pan. Bake 30 minutes, then turn chicken over. Bake about 20 minutes longer.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Lemon Lover’s Tea
1/4 cup dried lemon balm leaves
2 tablespoons dried lemon thyme leaves
1/4 cup dried lemon verbena leaves
1/4 cup dried lemon geranium leaves
2 tablespoons dried lemon grass leaves
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
Mix all together and use a tsp. or so per cup of boiling water. If you are missing any of the lemon herbs, just use more of the ones you do have.
Lemon Mint Sun Tea
1/2 cup mint
1/2 cup lemon balm
1/2 cup chamomile flowers
3 black tea bags
Place in a gallon container and add cold water to fill the jar. Set in the sun for several hours. Strain our tea and herbs. Pour over ice and refrigerate the leftovers. Sweeten with honey or sugar if desired.
Rose and Herb Tea
1/2 cup dried red rose petals (make sure no sprays were used)
2 tablespoons dried lemon balm
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Mix well. Use 1 teaspoon for each cup and pour boiling water over the herbs, then strain after 5 minutes or so. Sweeten as desired.
Lemon Balm Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons light olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
6-8 leaves lemon balm
Fresh black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Stack the lemon balm leaves together and roll, then with a very sharp knife cut thin strips, and then chop finely. Combine with the other ingredients and serve with steamed vegetables or mixed salad greens.
Lemon Orange Cheese Spread
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh lemon balm
Blend the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the other ingredients. Chill overnight and serve at room temperature.
Lemon Herb Butter
2 tablespoons lemon balm, chopped fine
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped fine
1 cup butter, softened
Cream butter and stir in herbs. Chill for at least 3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Use with seafood or vegetables.
Thanks to Old Fashioned Living for sharing these recipes.
There are also a TON of other recipes on this forum. My favorite is the Lemon Balm Jelly and the Lemon Balm Tea Cake. Yum!
I’ll definitely be trying this Old Fashioned Lemon Balm Lemonade!
1/2 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups water
2 -3 fresh sprigs lemon balm, to decorate
Scrub the lemons well. Peel the rind thinly, avoiding the white pith, and set aside the lemons.
Place the lemon rind, lemon balm leaves, and the sugar into a small heat-proof pitcher.
Pour the boiling water into the pitcher and stir well, crushing the lemon balm leaves to release their flavor.
Leave mixture to infuse for about 15 minutes.
Now, cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice. Strain juice into a large glass pitcher, add a few fresh sprigs of lemon balm, and add the cooled, strained syrup.
Top up with water or half-water half-ice, and chill until needed.
(Recipe from Food.com)
Lemon Balm also has medicinal uses as well!
Kimberly over at Learning Herbs has this to say about her experience with the plant:
Lemon Balm is relaxing and soothing for the nerves!
Not only that, it’s a great general tonic.
Being a mild, nutritive herb it’s great to use every day. While it calms anxiety it also acts to restore depleted energy and revitalize us. Lemon Balm can also act as a decongestant and antihistamine, helping with even chronic problems like asthma or allergies.
…it has an old reputation for enhancing understanding and memory.
Lemon Balm is also an anti-viral herb…
Sara at Superb Herbs had these interesting uses to share:
Lemon balm has many uses. As a cosmetic, it makes a good skin cleanser. Dry leaves are used in potpourri. It is reputed to repel insects and can be blended with other insect repelling herbs such as lavender, lemongrass, and rue. Rub down the kitchen table with the herbs to keep bugs from food and throw some in the campfire or barbeque pit to keep bugs away. Beekeepers have rubbed it on the inside of the hives to encourage a new swarm to stay.
Lemon balm makes both delicious beverage and medicinal teas. It is also nice added to black tea. Fresh leaves can be chopped and added to green salads, fruits salads, marinated vegetables, poultry stuffing, and fish marinades and sauces. It goes well with broccoli, asparagus, lamb, fish, and shellfish. Combine it with other lemon herbs such as lemon thyme, lemon basil, and lemon verbena and add to vinegar. It is one of the ingredients in Benedictine and Chartreuse liqueurs.
Medicinally lemon balm is used in tea for fevers, to help digestion, and for tension headache. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for depression, melancholy, and nervous tension. Externally in salve, it has been effective in relieving symptoms of herpes simplex, sores, and painful swellings. A compress is good for gout. A most exciting development is that this very common plant is being investigated along with common sage as herbs with memory-improving properties.
Did you know that lemon balm can be used in cosmetics as well?
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon balm
1 cup witch hazel
Combine the ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Allow to steep for 1 week. Strain. Use 1 teaspoon per application with a cotton ball. Refrigerate if you wish.
Oh, and don’t forget to use it in your favorite homemade cleaning spray!
To make an all-natural disinfectant, pour 1/2 c. of dried lemon balm leaves into a jar and cover with 1 1/2 c. white vinegar. Let it sit to infuse for about 2 weeks before pouring into a spray bottle. Add another 1 c. of white vinegar, and add about 30 drops of your favorite essential oil, if desired. Tea Tree Oil, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Pink Grapefruit, Rosemary, and Peppermint are great options. Use as you would any all-purpose cleaner!
So much you can do with it!! You didn’t know this plant was so useful, did you?
Want more recipes and medicinal uses? Do a quick Google search. You’ll have a few dozen more in no time.
I love this stuff! Get yourself some this year (it’s super easy to grow from seed). Then have fun experimenting with it!