Lemon Balm is prized as safe but effective herbal mood enhancer. It can help with anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, melancholy, and depression. Helpful for digestive upset, menstrual cramps, and menopause. A safe herb for children, substitute glycerin for the rum in this recipe to make an alcohol-free tincture.
- 50g Melissa officinalis tops
- 100ml 75% rum (191 proof)
Step 1: Harvesting the herb
The best time to harvest lemon balm is early in the morning before the sun hits the leaves or becomes too intense, this helps preserve the volatile oil content of the plant. The volatile oils and medicinal compounds in leaves become most concentrated just before a plant begins to bloom. When you see the first few flower buds form, it is a perfect time to harvest.
When making fresh tinctures it is ideal to place the processed herb into the alcohol immediately after harvesting. If you need more time, then place your harvested herb in a sealed container in a cool location and use as soon as possible.
Step 2: Adding the alcohol
Place freshly harvested herb, minus woody stems, into a food processor or blender, pour alcohol over top and blend for 30 seconds, pulsing if needed. You can also chop the herb by hand, just be sure to chop it as finely as possible.
Step 3: Letting the alcohol infuse
Pour alcohol and fresh herb mixture into a glass pint jar. You may need to place a weight on top of the herb, such as a small inert rock, to submerge it under the alcohol. Make sure to label your jar! Let the mixture sit in a cool dark place for a minimum of two weeks. You don’t need to shake fresh-plant tinctures as they create their own natural osmotic current.
Step 4: Straining & bottling
After two weeks or so you can squeeze the alcohol mixture through muslin to remove plant material. You now have a finished tincture ready to pour into labeled tincture bottles.
Always label your jars! Every label should include the common and latin name of the herb used, whether the herb was fresh or dried, the ratio of herb to alcohol (in this case 1:2 weight to volume), where the salve was made or where the herbs were gathered, the month and year.
Enjoy 1 - 2 mls of tincture up to 3 times per day or as needed.