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Herb info 19/2017: Lemon balm.

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Herb card 19.2017: Lemon balm. Herb card 19.2017: Lemon balm. Lemon balm is a short-lived perennial. Don't pull up all small lemon balms you get each year, else you might one fine spring be without lemon balm altogether.

The herb tastes of lemon, so it's drying and a little cooling.

Within a few months, both the scent and the taste of lemon have faded from the dried herb. Nevermind that, though, because it'll still work.

Use lemon balm if you're so stressed that you can't sleep. Give it to kids who are all worked up for an Important Event (like christmas or a birthday). Take it for mild gut or menstrual pains.

Lemon balm helps you remember. Drink a cup of tea, chew on a leaf, take some tincture, if you're studying for an exam or if you've suddenly grown forgetful.

The herb helps people who suffer from an overactive thyroid. It's also more generally calming.

Give lemon balm to those who suffer from one or the other disease caused by herpes viruses. That could be cold sores (oral herpe), genital herpes, chickenpox or shingles (herpes zoster). Also give it a try with mononucleosis, as Epstein-Barr is a herpes virus as well.

Take lemon balm as a tea or a tincture, or chew on a leaf or three. The tincture is done within eight hours (four, if you're in a hurry). Chop up 100 g (4 oz) of fresh herb, pour it into a jar, cover it with 200 ml (8 fl.oz.) of strong alcohol, close the lid and let steep for a few hours. Strain, bottle and label.

A tincture that's steeped for the more normal 2–4 weeks will work, but it's not as elegant. The fast tincture grabs essential oils off the surface of the leaves; longer-steeped tinctures extract other, less desirable constituents.

Carmelite brandy

1 liter (quart) fruit brandy (or vodka)
40 fresh lemon balm stems
or 100 g (4 oz) dried lemon balm
1 organic lemon
1 tablespoon dried angelica root
2 tablespoons coriander seed
6 cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg

Strip the leaves from the lemon balm stems.

Make a fast tincture: put lemon balm and brandy in an airtight glass jar, steep for 4–8 hours, strain.

Wash and slice the lemon. Pour tincture, lemon and spices into an airtight glass jar, steep for

2–4 weeks, strain.

Bottle, label: "Carmelite brandy, July 2017".

Take 15–30 drops in hot water as needed for the flu, if you're too stressed to fall asleep, for headaches and to calm down.

Carmelite brandy is tasty enough to serve as a drink.

Henriette's herb cards: buy yours here!