Making Melissa Water for Stress Relief

Published on 2 May 2024 at 11:25

Making Melissa Water for Stress Relief


My niece requested a start of Lemon balm.  She just moved to her first purchased home and wanted to nest by making herself a little herb garden.  It's funny in a way, because Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was my first herb too.  I think we all remember our first herb that we grow, whether it is from a pot on the windowsill, or a part of the flowers in the yard, garden or huge elaborate herb bed.  In any case, I see that my Balm is coming up nicely, but it is very hard to dig up starts to give away.  It tends to hate to be moved.  It will wilt down almost immediately.  Try to take it from the ground without much root interaction and immediately transfer to the new pot and add the soil.  Then douse with water and keep moist several days until it perks back up.  That's when I like to hand it over to the new owner.


Also called Balm, Bee balm, and Tea balm, it is a perennial herbaceous plant connected to the mint family, but with a warm, mild lemon scent and flavor.  I just call it Lemon balm.  In summer, I'll tuck a few sprigs into my lemonade or iced tea and enjoy a cool drink that way.  But if I am feeling particularly stressed out, and who isn't nowadays, I will make some Melissa water.  This is good for mild stress and anxiety while helping digestion.  You can use either fresh or dried leaves for your water and basically all you need is your Lemon balm plus some water and an optional bit of honey.  It is almost as easy as brewing tea, but with a bit of a difference.


The difference is that you must not boil the leaves, but merely pour 2 cups of the boiling water over a handful of leaves (or a few teaspoons of dried) and covering it, letting it steep for 5 to 10 minutes or longer.  By doing so, you extract all the healing properties of the water and covering it traps the good volatile oils in the water.  After this, strain and add honey.   I like to drink several cups right before bed as it can help you sleep.  It has the added benefit of helping the immune system as it is antiviral and antibacterial. If you feel the beginnings of a cold or flu it might be a good idea to brew some up. 


If you are so inclined, instead of tea, you can use your Melissa water as a relaxing bath or foot soak!  In this case, you will make it stronger by using 3 handfuls of the fresh leaves (or 1/2 cup dried) and pouring the 2 cups boiling water over this.  Let steep up to 15 minutes, strain and add the strained tea to your bath water or foot tub.  For added removal of any toxins, swirl in a 1/2 cup of Epsom salts to this too.  Your therapeutic bath is ready to enjoy and be sure to soak for at least 20 minutes to get the full effect.


It is an easy plant to grow once you get it started and a great one to have on hand to use and enjoy.  Have fun experimenting with it; you can make a simple syrup for the fridge to add to cold drinks, add it to berry jams and desserts as well as having it on hand for stress water any time you need it.  It truly is a versatile herb and easy to use.


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