Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is an herb that I purchased last week at the farmer’s market – it’s a member of the mint family, but when you crush the leaves it releases this fresh lemony scent it’s great.
Lemon balm is a plant native to the Mediterranean region, and has been used in cultures dating back to the ancient times. Supposedly it has a lot of medicinal properties. If you rub the leaves on your skin it is supposed to ward of mosquitos, and if you ingest it it is supposed to have antiviral/antibacterial characteristics, as well as be calming (like chamomile).
I had purchased some originally to go into my strawberry compote that I used for French toast last weekend – because lemony goodness was meant to be married to strawberries in my opinion, and in this case, I was definitely right! That compote was so awesome I could just eat it plain (and did haha!)
But I kept reading about making tea with lemon balm, and it was intriguing. After a long stressful day trying to work on some projects for work, I decided to give it a try, and see if lemon balm tea was as calming and relaxing as it’s claimed to be. I put my kettle on the stove and heated the water up to just before boiling. This is typically the temp. I will get my water to when making tea. I find if the water is boiling when making tea, tea tends to come out too bitter. So I just went with how I normally go when brewing.
Since I only had enough lemon balm leftover for one cup, I used this single serve cup for steeping loose leaf tea – I let the leaves dry out all day, and then in the evening, I chopped up the lemon balm, poured the hot water over it, and let it steep for about 5 minutes. After which, I removed the leaves and added in a little bit of honey.
The result? This tea tasted fantastic, and indeed was extremely calming and relaxing. It put me in the perfect zen place for the rest of the evening and was just what I needed to sit and focus on my work. If you ever find some lemon balm, I highly recommend making this herbal tea!
Hmm I wonder if I could read my fortune in those leftover tea leaves…