Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lemon Balm tincture treats depression, stress, and even fevers

  I grew up with a mom that had a green thumb.  She could grow anything, anywhere and at anytime.  I did not inherit that thumb.  After many years of failed houseplants, seedlings and gardens, I decided to consult the Farmer's Almanac before planting anything...it helped!  Things planted when the almanac says the conditions are good, seem to flourish more!
  Now, when it comes to any herb from the mint family, even the most challenged of growers can feel pride in that plant.  It will become bigger and stronger with every year as it spreads (sometimes it will even take over a spot).  My Lemon Balm has done just that.  I planted it 8 years ago, and now it is a huge bush that I regularly visit for it's therapeutic leaves.

This was taken in May, it is even bigger now!  We planted it near the deck so it will deter mosquitoes!

  It is just as easy to make the tincture as it is to grow the plant.  All you need to gather is:
  • a clean glass jar and lid (I boil mine to sanitize, but some say the dishwasher will do)
  • freshly picked Lemon Balm leaves ( you could make with dried leaves if you don't have a plant*see below)
  • vodka (since I am gluten intolerant, I have to use one that is not distilled from grain).
  • strainer and cheesecloth

  1. Place the leaves in your jar and muddle a bit to release the oils.  I fill them a little over 3/4 full because once they wilt, they sink.  *Remember from my tinctures with dried herbs, they SWELL*
  2. Fill to within an inch of the top with vodka, be sure the leaves are all the way submerged, or you risk spoilage.
  3. Label and date the jar and put on a shelf somewhere where you will remember to shake it every few days.
  4. After 5-7 weeks, you are ready to decant.

  I didn't have a cheesecloth this time, and you don't have to have one.  However, I ended up straining it 4 times to get the liquid more clear.

  Once the liquid is strained into another clean, glass jar, it is ready for use.  It is best to put some into a glass dropper bottle to have easy access.  I use 2-4 droppers full whenever I am feeling stressed, blue, or just out of sorts.  The tincture is also good to take when you have feverish colds, as is the tea made with fresh leaf infusion.  I don't like the taste of an infused teas, so instead, I add it to my orange or black  tea, and strain after 5 minutes.  

  The resulting liquid is so dark and beautiful!

Please give it a try and let me know how it goes.  Do you have any other tinctures that you enjoy using?  I would love to hear about it.

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