Lemon balm is an herbal remedy with a number of therapeutic uses. In terms of its general effects on the body, lemon balm both sharpens the senses and relaxes the nervous system. Researchers have found that mixing lemon balm with valerian works as well as some conventional sedatives, but it does so without the side effects of many clinical sedative medications. It's generally used for treating nervous conditions, including stress, anxiety, depression and exhaustion. Lemon balm has also been effective as an antispasmodic agent, helping to relieve stomach gas and cramps. It has the benefit of relaxing blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure. Lemon balm has demonstrated some antiviral capabilities, and it has been found to be effective at treating herpes.
Lemon balm can be taken in a number of ways. Simply crushing a lemon balm leaf will release a powerful, stimulating scent. You can also use the crushed, dried leaves to make a tea, which you can then drink; the leaves can also be added to food and eaten. Lemon balm essential oil is a useful constituent of several aromatherapy programs. To take advantage of lemon balm oil's strength against oral herpes, apply the essential oil directly to herpes lesions on the lips. Lemon balm has no known side effects, and it can be safely used by almost anyone. The one potential exception is anyone who suffers from an underactive thyroid. Using lemon balm for more than a few days at a time can possibly worsen the condition.
In addition to its therapeutic effects, lemon balm can be a pleasant ingredient to use in your kitchen. For example, to make a refreshing Lemon Balm Sorbet, follow the recipe below. You'll need several ingredients:
- 2 big apples, chopped
- leaves from 6 lemon balm sprigs
- 2 cups (about 475 milliliters) of water
- 1 cup (about 240 milliliters) of honey
- juice from 2 lemons
Puree the apples and lemon balm and then transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Add the water and honey, and then simmer everything over low heat until it's thick and bubbly. Next, drop in the lemon juice and stir quickly. Allow the mixture to cool, put it in an ice cream maker and stuff it in the freezer. Once it is frozen, you can serve it with fresh lemon balm sprigs as a garnish. If you don't want to take lemon balm as a tea or tincture, this is an excellent way to get some of the plant's beneficial effects - - along with a tasty treat.
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