Grow Your Own Survival Medicine: Lemon Balm

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By Brendan Riordan

Herbs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are medicinal but all are considered food, unlike pharmaceutical medicines.

Many folks today are turning back to their folk medicine roots and opting to say “no” to antibiotics and synthetic medications which have far-reaching known side effects.

Herbs have a much safer history than pharmaceutical meds. Did you know that 70% of new pharmaceutical meds in the U.S. are derived from herbs (synthetically), that 80% of the world still relies on herbal medicine [1], and that 50% of all ER visits are from prescription drug interactions taken as prescribed [2]?

Herbs can be used for almost anything that prescription medications are used for.

If you want something in your bag that has been used to calm folks down and also help break fevers, lemon balm is your survival herb.

Lemon balm is easy to grow. Here’s how to do it.

Many wellness herbs can be grown throughout the U.S. Some of them are chamomile, rosemary, cayenne, onion, tulsi, catnip, oregano, and mint to name a few. Many more, like stinging nettle and plantain, can be wild harvested almost everywhere.

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and is an easy-to-grow hardy perennial to zone 4. You might want to put it in a pot outdoors (although you can grow it indoors too,) because it spreads like crazy. Plant seeds in soilless seeding medium like Pro Mix or similar 6-8 weeks before transplanting outdoors, barely covering seeds with the soilless medium. Keep seeding medium slightly moist but not wet. I prefer to bottom water my seeding pots and trays by placing them in solid water holding bottom tray.  If you direct seed outdoors you’ll get some to grow too, and eventually, the lemon balm will become prolific and spread. You may also purchase seedlings at a garden center during springtime. This plant grows 24-48 inches. Lemon balm can take full sun or part shade. Dead head flowers if you do not want lemon balm to spread in your garden.

Lemon balm seeds are readily available. I buy my seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

I seed lemon balm in open 8×4 trays with soilless potting mix

New seeds emerging from soilless potting mix (these are actually lettuce seeds)

Lemon balm has many medicinal properties. Its leaves can be used in teas, tinctures, and essential oils.

  • Cold/ Flu/ Fever Fighter: It will make you sweat it out (diaphoretic action -) and is also antiviral.
  • Anti- Anxiety Herb (nervine herb): Gently soothes nervous esteem – has even been used for children as a calmative.
  • ADHD help: Protects the brain from over stimulation – many include lemon balm in their ADHD wellness program.
  • Allergy help: Lemon balm is a natural antihistamine.
  • Graves disease – Studies indicate that lemon balm can inhibit Grave’s disease.

To make lemon balm tea, use a sprig of fresh stem with leaves or 1 teaspoon of dried leaves and 8 oz. hot water. In our family, we use about double this amount in order to get all the medicinal and vitamin kick we can.

Have a great time exploring with and growing with medicinal herbs. If you would like help with natural and alternative wellness solutions, let me know.

Yours truly (left) at an Herbal Tea Workshop

Brendan will be speaking at this upcoming event:

5/7/19 –(Free)  Adirondack Garden Club –  “Creating a No-Till Woodchip Garden & Grow Your Own Food and Medicine” 8 AM – at North Warren EMS building, 2 Cougar Lane, Chestertown, NY, 518-494-3165

* Information contained herein is for educational purposes. Herbal materials are not approved by the FDA and are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure. See your healthcare professional for such.



About the Author

Brendan Riordan of Riordan Family Farm is a husband of 31 years, father of three, organic vegetable farmer, minister, certified herbalist, and prepper. His dream was to move out of the city and purchase some land where he could continue his passion for growing plants and start a farm. That passion eventually led to Brendan to starting a vegetable farm in upstate New York. 

Brendan is a certified Family Herbalist through the school of Natural Healing and is available to help those seeking natural and herbal alternatives for their health. He offers in – office and phone consultations. He believes the body can heal itself if given the proper nutrition and herbal intervention. Brendan also believes in the power of prayer to heal and is willing to pray for any who desire it. You can email Brendan at riordanfamilyfarm at verizon dot net and you can find him on his website,  Brendan’s Facebook group is Body, Mind, Holy Spirit

Disclaimer: Herbalists in the United States are not allowed to diagnose, treat or cure. We can only educate you towards your wellness goals. The FDA tells us to direct you to a health care professional.

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