HomeHerbal Uses10 Best Herbs to Start Your Home Herbal Apothecary

10 Best Herbs to Start Your Home Herbal Apothecary

Lemon balm has a mythic history: across the ancient Mediterranean world, it was highly revered as a sacred herb by priestesses and melissae (oracular beekeepers). Fragrant and festively green, it was grown throughout temple complexes and around beehives to please both the goddesses and the bees. Because lemon balm’s medicine unites peace and joy in the heart, it anchors a state of well-being and sanctuary for those who enjoy its nectar.

Modern Western herbalists share these sentiments, and there is nary an herb garden or home herbal apothecary that doesn’t include lemon balm’s citrusy essence. I use lemon balm primarily as an acute and tonic nervine remedy. Its cheering qualities make it a gentle but powerful herb for sadness and prolonged melancholy, as well as an uplifting seasonal tonic for those who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Lemon balm is especially beneficial for nervous or anxious states, such as tension headaches, stress-related insomnia, panic attacks paired with heart palpitations, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and overexcitement or restlessness in children.7 As a tonic, lemon balm nourishes, strengthens, and rehabilitates the nervous system, especially when combined with other bliss-bringing nervines such as milky oats (Avena sativa) and skullcap (Scutellaria spp.).

A treasured carminative herb, lemon balm is a beautiful remedy for soothing the stomach—I recommend it for nervous indigestion, colic, gas, nausea, and the discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome.8

Lemon balm is also used as an effective topical and internal antiviral herb, especially for viruses of the Herpesviridae family, including herpes (types 1 and 2), chickenpox, shingles, mono, and sixth disease (roseola).9

Visit this article to learn more about using lemon balm and tending it in your home garden (it’s so easy to grow!).

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