When you smoke lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) it offers a gentle, refreshing and calming experience. This herb has been used for centuries as a mood-enhancer and digestive aid, and modern scientific studies reveal that this mild sedative contains antiviral and cognitive-boosting properties.
It's also a good choice to use in herbal smoking blends, along with other calming herbs like valerian and hops. Several studies show that when lemon balm is combined with valerian, it helps people who have trouble sleeping; in one case, 81% of participants who took this combination reported improved sleep.
You can enjoy this fresh, lemony-smelling herb in tea or brewed as a hot or cold infusion. It makes a tasty substitute for mint in homemade iced teas or herbal tonics and is easy to grow in the garden or potted on the windowsill. The leaves' light fragrance is a perfect wake-up in the morning or pick-me-up when you're feeling befuddled and stressed out. It's also an excellent natural addition to haircare products for a light, refreshing scent and to help reduce hair breakage.
Another simple way to use lemon balm is in a glycerin-based remedy, such as this Ginger & Lemon Balm Cold & Flu Syrup. To make it, fill a small jar with fresh or dried lemon balm and cover with a mixture of 3 parts vegetable glycerine and 1 part water; cap the jar and store in a dark place for at least 4 weeks. Dose 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed to treat symptoms of cold and flu.