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After I had been diagnosed with cancer in 2000, I started having issues with “stress and anxiety” in my life. I mentioned this to my doctor years ago, and she prescribed a drug called Zoloft. I tried it for a few weeks, and it did make me feel better, but the thought of having to be dependent on this medication bothered me a great deal. It was in a pill form and often I try to find something that is less synthetic and more natural in my approaches to battling health issues.

My anxiety issues were something new and were not a life long struggle. My heart goes out to people who live with anxiety issues from their early teen years and on into adulthood. Mine was triggered by illness in my adult life. Having adult “anxiety issues” made me more compassionate to others that deal with “anxiety disorders” on a daily basis. I had no idea, before my NHL what it was to have a hard time completing tasks when an anxiety attack put a halt to my daily activities, for example, work or family errands. It is not as easy as learning to “relax” and “slow down” in life. It may be psychological, but the symptoms are very physical and real. I have known several people who have had to go to the emergency room with their anxiety symptoms for they were sure they were having a heart-attack. They were sent home with the information they were experiencing a panic attack. It seems; living in our fast paced world today, more and more people are dealing with these stress-related illnesses.

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                                  Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) It grows about 25 to 36 inches tall but I use mine often, so it does not get that tall. It also provides good lemony flavor to salads, fruit dishes, or fish.

For many years, I used the herb Tulsi or Holy Basil, which I drank as a tea, and it worked wonders for me initially. I grew it in my garden several times, and it was a lovely plant, but after I was prescribed a high dose of prednisone this past summer (to cure my severe poison ivy ), I struggled with anxiety issues again. It was not a pleasant experience, and Holy Basil no longer was providing the relief, as it did in the past. It seems high doses of prednisone may trigger anxiety issues in some people. Well, it did in me! Since Tulsi tea was no longer giving me the relief, I pondered what I would do to deal with the return of my anxiety issues. I decided to try Lemon Balm, which is abundant in my garden and also ideal for insomnia. I had read it is used for anxiety or help in relieving stress, so I decided to give it a try. It worked!!!!IMG_0374

I tried a few Lemon Balm herbal teas from an online company this past winter and found they were bland, with no lemon flavor compared to my fresh lemon balm from the garden. When you grow your own, it is disappointing what they sell on the market for tea. I am freezing this herb this summer for later use in the winter when I don’t have it growing outside. It is one of the first perennial herbs with lovage that shows up in our garden early spring and one of the last to disappear in the fall before the cold weather arrives.

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It is “green medicine” and one that I feel will be beneficial in our urban potager for many years. I’ll let you know how it does when I try it this winter after freezing it! Please be safe using any herbs for they do interact with other medication. I would check with your doctor or read the side effects and interaction of Lemon Balm with other drugs.(read more here about Lemon Balm at Web Med)

Lemon Balm may help

  • digestive problems
  • upset stomach
  • bloating
  • intestinal gas
  • vomiting
  • colic
  • pain
  • menstral cramps
  • menstrual cramps
  • headache
  • toothache
  • anxiety
  • insomia
  • restlessness
  • alzheimer disease
  • attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder
  • high blood pressure
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My original patch of Lemon Balm still comes back every year. I just uncovered it from a pile of leaves today in the garden.

I started my lemon balm from seed which I got from Seed Savers Exchange about 5 years ago. My small patch has spread in my garden. I would sow it in early spring and keep it moist throughout the first season. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow in your garden. It does spread so keep it in check. It makes a lovely plant that provides for beneficial insects in your organic garden. Did I mention it tastes good too! Yep, it sure does, and if you like lemon flavor, you will love this little herb, and I have no doubt you will find other uses for this in your life!

 

 

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer