Foraging for Food Part 3: Lovely Lemon Balm and Lavender

Both Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) and Lavendar (Lavandula officinalis) have long-term medicinal uses for human health and wellness. Although I did not pick these wild for the recipe, these are plants that can be grown and easily cultivated.

From a biochemical perspective, both of these plants contain volatile compounds (essential oils) such as citral, citroneilal and others which contribute to their fragrance and health-promoting actions (1). Lemon balm’s health benefits range from acting as a nervous system tonic and relaxant, sedative, carminative and an anti-depressant. From a digestive stand point, the carminative and antispasmodic actions make it a plant that is very soothing to irritable bowel and other symptoms such as nausea and dyspepsia (indigestion). Another medicinal use of Lemon Balm is for anxiety, restlessness, palpitations and low moods, especially if hyperthyroidism is present (2).

            Lavender is a well-known botanical that is helpful for a variety of neurological concerns, especially generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).  A recent study found that 160 or 80 mg of Silexan daily (a lavender oil preparation) caused both a 60% and 33% reduction in anxiety on the Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) score after 10 weeks (3).  Incorporate the mind-body healing effects of both Lemon balm and Lavender in this iced tea recipe!

Soothing Lemon Balm Lavender Iced Tea


2 quarts water

1 large handful fresh lemon balm

4 sprigs of lavender leaves

2-3 Sliced Lemons

1 tbsp raw honey (optional if would like sweetener)


1.     Fill a pot with 1 quart of water and fill with lemon balm and lavender leaves. Add 2-3 lemon slices.

2.     Bring pot to boil and let sit for 30 mins.

3.     Add 2 quarts of cold water and ice and chill until cold enough to serve.