If I were stranded on a desert island one of the first plants I’d go looking for is lemon balm. It would help keep me calm, and considering I was stranded on a desert island I would be in need of a heaping helping of calm. It would also help me sleep which would be another plus.
Lemon balm has also been shown to improve cognitive function and decrease agitation in dementia patients. The desert island comparison ends here because I’m going to hope I would be rescued before cognitive impairment set in.
For a lemon balm tincture, I cut a generous amount of lemon balm. A good time to harvest for tincture is in the early flower stage. You have to look pretty closely to see lemon balm flowers. Fittingly, they’re lemon yellow, albeit tiny.
After stripping away the stems, I weighed the plant matter. This is done because a good proportion of plant to menstruum (the liquid used to extract the medicinal constituents from the plant, in this case Everclear, a type of pure grain alcohol) is 1:2. That is, one part plant to 2 parts menstruum.
I had 6 ounces of plant, so I combined the lemon balm with 12 ounces of Everclear in a food processor and processed until it was well chopped and I had a sort of coarse slurry.
This takes several pulses.
I used a canning funnel to help me get the mixture into a canning jar.
Then I pressed the chopped lemon balm down to get it below the level of the alcohol because it was sort of fluffed up by the processing.
To finish, screw on the lid and label the jar with the kind of plant, menstruum, and the date, shake daily for two weeks, then strain through a pressing cloth or a couple of layers of cheesecloth.
Store in a dark glass container in a cool place.
Dosage for adults: 1-2 droppersful, 3-5 times daily, seniors use the lesser amounts. (A dropper contains about 25 drops). It is typically taken in a small glass of water.
P.S. Lemon balm is also good for cold sores. To make a lemon balm ointment, follow the instructions for plantain-infused oil here, substituting lemon balm for the plantain, then make a salve with these instructions, again substituting lemon balm oil for the plantain oil.