Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Valium (good history at this page), immortalized by the Rolling Stones as Mother's Little Helper, was introduced by Roche Labs in 1963 as the first "lifestyle drug". The company was later accused of not warning the public or doctors of the addictiveness of Valium. Of course, more money can be made if you get the public addicted first! In its first ten years, Valium had been prescribed to 59.3 million patients, bringing in a new era of blockbuster medicines and "turning to a little pill" for help in getting through your day.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It makes a delicious tea both hot or iced, and a tincture of the fresh herb is handy and tasty as well. Lemon Balm works best as a fresh herb--you can dry it for tea-making in winter but its medicinal value will be lessened. It's better to tincture the fresh herb for medicine, and use the dried tea as little more than a tasty beverage.
Now might be just the time to make that fresh herb tincture, before the frost. Earlier in the summer would be better, though. If your lemon balm has gone to flower the most potent remedy cannot be made, though I'd make it anyway if you want some for this year. Include the flowers if they're there. In my somewhat shady/part sun spot, my lemon balm has not flowered so I can make a tincture of just the leaves and a bit of stem. That is best.
I once made myself a pot of lemon balm tea and proceeded to drink three cups of it. Beware! You can drink too much of this sedative herb at once. However, this was just what I needed that day. I'm a bit of an insomniac, especially in summer, and on that summer afternoon after my tea time, I lay down on my hard porch floor with just a little pillow under my head and fell fast asleep for three hours. After not sleeping much for days, that sleep was restorative.
Lemon balm is known for its cooling properties, valued in hot climates. It has a sour, lemon flavor which is rare in the mint family, and very thirst-refreshing. It helps in fevers by helping to open the pores so the feverish person can sweat out the heat. I have also given lemon balm tincture to a client for hot flashes during menopause. She had a background of some tension along with depression, and a red pointed tongue indicating heat throughout the body (in Chinese medicine) which is a specific for lemon balm.
It can help to calm a spastic cough. It eases heart palpitations and general anxiety. Being a mint, it is also a carminitive, which means it helps with digestion. It will ease gas and nausea and especially helps for nervous indigestion. For this the hot tea after a meal is best.
My teacher Matt Wood says at his website page on lemon balm:
"Melissa is a general remedy for some and a specific for others. While it will generally sedate most people, it is particularly suited to conditions of sympathetic excess, hyperadrenalinism, or hyperthyroidism. It is especially indicated when these tendencies are associated with the stomach or heart."<>
The dosage can be as small as 1-3 drops (when it's a specific and for that you probably need to see an herbalist) or as large as 10-30 drops. I generally recommend 5-10 drops twice a day, morning and evening for a chronic condition, more often in an acute situation such as when trying to calm heart palpitations or cooling a fever. Too much of any herb, however, and the remedy will no longer work. Don't overdo. It is considered a very safe herb.