Herb Garden Knowledge

from Julianne Zaleta

Lemon Balm

I wanted to point out the virtues of a plant that probably most of us are weeding out of our beds all of the time that might be very helpful.  Lemon balm has self seeded everywhere and it's a great little herb.  Firstly it's an anti-viral, not necessarily for this novel virus, but I like the idea that it's got that "attitude."  It's relaxing, not sedating, just a little calming to the nerves.  It's also a refrigerant herb, meaning that it will help to cool you down in summer heat.  And to top it off it's antidepressant, very gently uplifting.

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When studying herbalism The Plague is constantly referenced.  Herbs were the medicines of the day and the people who used lots of herbs were the ones who survived.  For more on that look into Thieves Oil or Thieves Vinegar, a maceration of plants that grave robbers would use to protect themselves when they ransacked bodies during the plague.

 

Over the course of history nature has coughed up the plants that are the antidote for whatever virulent infection was ravaging the planet.  I'm not saying lemon balm is the answer but with all of those attributes plus the lovely lemon flavor you might want to take a look.

 

I drink a tissane of it daily and you can do that with fresh or dried.  Sometimes I wring out or bruise a stem and stick inside a fresh bottle of seltzer and leave it for a few hours.  Some of our best cocktail ingredients started out as medicine against epidemics such as gin, vermouth, tonic water and bitters.  You could try macerating some in vodka and make lemon balm vodka and mix up a batch of Quarantini's.  I'm making lemon balm honey right now to use instead of simple syrup in cocktails this summer.  Stay healthy everybody!

Community Garden in South Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY (corner of 6th Ave. & 15th St.)

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