How to Make Lemon Balm Tincture at Home

Years ago, I planted a lemon balm plant I purchased from a local garden nursery. I had no idea this plant would spread across my entire garden and provide more lemon balm than I know how to use. That’s when I looked for ways to use it up and learned how to make lemon balm tincture.

Lemon balm is a herb that tends to grow freely; many consider it a nuisance plant. It belongs in the mint family, sharing the same sprawling nature.

Despite growing rapidly, lemon balm has many benefits to enjoy. This medicinal herb helps with improving sleep, encourages relaxation, aids in digestion, and eases headaches and pains. One of the best ways to tap into these benefits is to make and use a lemon balm tincture.

Related: How to Make Echinacea Tincture: A Step-by-Step Guide

A jar of completed lemon balm tincture
A jar of finished lemon balm tincture. Look how dark it is!

All About Lemon Balm

Lemon balm – Melissa officinalis – is a medicinal, herbal plant that belongs to the mint family. It is highly aromatic with a delicious minty yet lemony scent. If you grow other mint plants, you’ll quickly recognize how this plant also grows wildly, spreading across your garden, even if it’s unwanted.

Lemon balm contains volatile oils and antispasmodic properties, perfect for calming the nervous and digestive systems. If you are suffering from indigestion, flatulence, or bloating, lemon balm is a fantastic herbal remedy. It’s commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep-related problems.

That’s not the only way to use this medicinal herb!

Lemon balm has antiviral properties, and herbalists often use it to treat cold sores. Others use it to help with menstrual cramps or menopausal problems. It may be able to ease pain as well.

Lemon balm is safe for kids, and if you have kids who need to calm down to rest, this is an overall effective choice for them.

How to Make Lemon Balm Tincture

Making any herbal tincture is roughly the same each time; if you make one, you can make another. Lemon balm is safe to use fresh, so if your garden is overflowing, there is no need to wait until dry to make a tincture. By the end of the growing season, your herbal cabinet will be full of lemon balm tincture.

It should be noted that this is the folk method of making tincture; we don’t use exact measurements. Professional herbalists rely on measurements for their products.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clean glass jar
  • fresh lemon balm leaves OR dried lemon balm
  • vodka – 80 proof

Directions:

A jar of fresh lemon balm leaves and vodka
A jar of fresh lemon balm leaves and vodka
  1. If using fresh lemon balm, wash and dry the leaves first to avoid any dirt or bugs entering your tincture.
  2. Get a clean, glass jar and fill the jar with fresh or dried leaves. I often make my tinctures in pint jars, but you can use half-pints or even quarts, depending on how much lemon balm you have available!
  3. Pour vodka over the leaves until fully submerged. Close the jar and shake well.
  4. Be sure to label the jar (herbal tinctures often look the same!), and store it in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. Remember to shake it every few days. When using dried materials, you sometimes need to add more alcohol because the dried leaves reconstitute slightly. That won’t happen with fresh leaves!
  5. Using a cheesecloth, fine mesh strainer, or coffee filter, strain the liquid out of the tincture into an awaiting clean glass jar.
  6. Label and date the tincture, leaving it in a cool, dark place for storage. Most of my tinctures make their way into amber-colored dropper bottles for easy use.

If you have children or want an alcohol-free version, swap out the vodka for vegetable glycerin. The process of infusion is still the same.

Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the lemon balm tincture up to three times daily for anxiety, stress, or sleep support.

How to Use Lemon Balm Tincture

Lemon balm tincture offers many of the same benefits as a cup of lemon balm tea but in a quicker version. Here are some ways to use this tincture; you’ll see why you should have it on hand!

  • Use it when you need a good night’s sleep.
  • Help you unwind after a long, stressful day
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Ease stomach aches and belly problems

Start with a dropper full and move forward if you believe you need a larger dosage. Lemon balm is safe for most people, but you should avoid taking lemon balm if you have thyroid problems or take thyroid medications.

Also, few studies focus on lemon balm and pregnancy, so talk to your doctor to see if this is safe for you. You should always err on the side of caution, especially during pregnancy!

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