Lemon Balm is Official Herb of 2007

Lemon Balm  Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) is a lemon-scented member of the mint family. A native to southern Europe, it is a perennial that will over-winter in hardiness zones 4 to 5.  

As it grows, the lemon balm plant develops multiple branches, growing to a height of about two feet. Leaves are often 2 to 3 inches long, oval to almost heart shaped, shiny and wrinkled texture with scalloped edges. Small light blue to white flowers appear in late spring through midsummer.


Lemon balm has a delicate lemon scent and flavor. It is often used as a culinary, cosmetic and medicinal herb.


Fresh sprigs are used as garnishes for cold drinks and on salads and main dishes.


Fresh or dried leaves make a refreshing iced or hot tea.


Dried leaves are used as an ingredient in potpourri.


Lemon balm essential oil is used in aromatherapy and in creating perfumes.



And more Home Gardening Info


More Horticultural and Plant Use Info


Medicinal Uses for Lemon Balm


History, Cultivation and Medical Uses


My favorite lemon balm recipe and an herbal leaflet for you.

Herbal Homekeeping: Aromatherapy – Part IV of VI

Rose Pnk   Important PRECAUTIONS & Considerations When Using Essential Oils 

Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they must be treated with respect. It is important to be knowledgeable about them and their properties.


Note the label warning and cautions.


Most applications require only drops, NOT ounces.


Keep oils tightly closed in dark glass bottles; store in cool, dry, dark locations, out of reach of children; and NEVER ingest.


Always skin test before using: dilute a small amount and apply to skin on arm. Do NOT use if redness or irritation occurs. If at any time redness, burning or itching occur, stop using oils immediately.


Do NOT use undiluted (“straight” or “neat”) on the skin — first dilute with vegetable oil, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil.


Avoid eyes and mucous membranes when using essential oils.


These oils may be irritating to the skin: allspice, bitter almond, cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, clove bud, sweet fennel, fir needle, lemon Melissa, peppermint, tea tree and wintergreen.


These oils make the skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light ~ do NOT go out in the sun with these on your skin: angelica, and ALL citrus oils.


These oils should NOT be used by anyone with epilepsy: hyssop, sage, sweet fennel, and rosemary.


These oils should NOT be used by anyone with high blood pressure: hyssop, rosemary, sage, and thyme.


REMEMBER: Aromatherapuetic applications require pure, high quality essential oils — in selecting, it is important to consider:


   *100% pure and natural             *extraction method and plant part used to produce

   *country of origin                       *company reputation providing the oils

   *growing season


Do NOT self-diagnose ailments! To treat serious or complicated disorders, seek advice and guidance from a qualified aromatherapist or health practitioner.



In the next post, additional cautionary information will be pointed out to help you use and enjoy essential oils safely.

Herbal Homekeeping: Aromatherapy – Part III of VI

Rose Pnk     Be Careful with Essential Oils


 It should be noted that not all essential oils are beneficial to health — some are dangerous to use. Some are skin irritants, neurotoxic, phototoxic, can cause cancer, are abortive, or not to be used on children or during pregnancy. Before using, it is important to study further about essential oils and their properties.


Prior to using essential oils, be aware of any sensitivity. Never use them on or near the eyes, avoid mucous membranes or taken by mouth. Always skin test first (diluting a small amount with vegetable, sweet almond or grapeseed oil), and apply to skin on arm. Do NOT use if redness or irritation occurs. If at any time, redness, burning or itching occur, stop using the oil immediately. Some oils are irritating to the skin, some make skin sensitive to ultraviolet light, some should be avoided by those with epilepsy and high blood pressure — please be sure to read Essential Oils Precautions.


Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they must be treated with respect. It is important to be knowledgeable about them and their properties.


We recommend reading more about this fascinating subject and/or consulting a trusted aromatherapist to assist you, if you are interested in exploring aromatherapy.



Tomorrow we will cover: Important PRECAUTIONS & Considerations When Using Essential Oils.

Herbal Homekeeping with Essential Oils – Part I of VI

Rose Pnk      Herbal Homekeeping: Aromatherapy

“…We are… the fragrance of life…” 2 Corinthians 2:16 

These days, you can hardly walk into a store, turn on the television or look through a magazine without seeing a personal care product featuring essences or properties attributed to something herbal! Aromatherapy has gone mainstream, with widespread promotion, increasing distribution and availability. We are aware of these products and sometimes their touted claims, but few know that the origins of aromatherapy actually date back centuries. It is not New Age!

Aromatic medicine has ancient beginnings, as illustrated by over 180 references to essential oils in the Bible! Today, aromatherapy is accepted as alternative medicine — and more to the moment, as complementary medicine (coordinated with all other therapies and treatments patient is undergoing). It has become an integrated therapy for many who seek holistic treatments.

Aromatherapy is a way to improve the quality of life on a physical and emotional level. It is the study of scent; and skilled use of essential oils for physical and emotional wellness. An art and a science combined, aromatherapy is based on the fact that individuals have uniquely personal emotional responses (based on memories and emotions) — pleasant and not — to certain scents. Modern day scientific studies are confirming the healing properties of essential oils, which have been practiced for centuries.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile, aromatic essences distilled from plants, containing hundreds of organic and natural components, acting on many levels. Because these oils do not contain any alcohol, the scent is longer lasting and stronger. All are highly volatile, evaporating easily in the open air. Essential can be damaging to the skin, painted and varnished surfaces, and wood veneers. (NOTE: Essential oils are NOT for internal use or to be applied undiluted from the bottle directly on the skin!)

Direct light can damage these oils, so they are usually sold in amber-colored bottles, and should be stored in a dark cupboard, in a cool, dry environment, out of the reach of children. The retail price is generally higher for essential oils than for fragrance oils, because so much plant material is needed to extract even a small amount of essential oil in the distillation process.

Spring Picks: Dandelion Salad

Dandelion  A Sure Sign of Spring: Dandelions ~!            

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
                                                 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “What is an herb? Often, it is a weed in someone else’s garden…                                                           but is a useful plant to another.” ~ Popular Herbal-ism  (paraphrased)                           

 “There is a time for everything,
                and a season for every activity under heaven” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Now sprouting up once again in yards and gardens everywhere spring is springing, dandelions are making their seasonal appearance! Believe it or not they can be tasty and actually serve a purpose, although it may be hard to believe!   

Favorite Spring~thyme Recipe: 
Spring Dandelion Salad

1 handful (or bunch) dandelion leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
4 cups romaine leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
12 cherry tomatoes
1/8 cup finely chopped red onion
1 small bunch chive leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chive flowers

Thoroughly wash and dry the greens, tomatoes, chive blossoms and leaves. Combine all ingredients, tossing well. Serve with your favorite vinaigrette.

Note: Dandelion greens are available in many supermarkets. If you wild craft (harvest) your own, be sure they are chemical-free! 

About Dandelion: Dandelion  Taxacum officinale
Genus name derived from the Greek taraxos, meaning ‘disorder;’ akos for ‘remedy’
Family: Compositae
Other family members include: daisy, dandelion, and marigold
Also known as: Lion’s Tooth, wild endive
Parts used: Primarily roots, also leaves
Commonly regarded as a weed, its invasive nature has long overtaken the recognition of dandelion as the medicinal herb is really is. Shown to have many medicinal benefits, the leaves should be harvested when they are young, as they become increasingly bitter. It is often recommended that the taproot be harvested at the end of the second growing season. Clip the flower before the seed head forms, to prevent spreading.

Dandelion’s healing history goes way back, more than 1,000 years. Use of the dandelion is traced through many recognized forms of herbal medicine, including ancient Chinese, and Ayurvedic.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed in the Doctrine of Signatures, which follows the line of reasoning that a plant’s physical characteristics reveal their healing properties. Based on this practice, anything yellow was associated with the liver’s yellow bile, and used as a remedy for liver-related health conditions.

Dandelion’s reputation was well-established by the 17th century. The French thought the leaves were shaped like lion’s teeth naming it dent de lion, which when later anglicized, translated as dandelion. Reportedly, English herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended dandelion for every “evil disposition of the body,” thus making the herb become known as the ‘official remedy for disorders,’ as was so often prescribed.

The colonists of early America introduced the dandelion. Native Americans readily adopted the herb for use as a tonic. Later in US medical practice, the American Eclectic physicians, forerunners of today’s naturopaths referred to dandelion’s properties as overrated. While herbalists recommend dandelion for specific conditions, the FDA continues to regard the herb as a weed with “no convincing reason for believing it possesses any therapeutic virtues.”

Ever heard of a “Spring Tonic”? The old folks made them every year. They made dandelion wine, too.

Attesting to the dandelion’s long and proud history of use as a healing herb, a cultivated and well cared-for plant specimen is featured in the Herb Society of America’s “Medicinal Herb Garden,” located in the National Herb Garden.

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