Lemon Balm

After School Teas


Outside a light drizzling haze of rain has begun which promises to give way soon into a steady downpour.  Walking home from the bus will likely be a wet adventure in worm hunting with rain drip dropping on each of our umbrellas.  When my kids get off the bus they are worn out, ready to relax and let down their guard.  Ready to be home.  I love to support and help them relax with nourishing snacks and a hug.

With the chilly rainy day I am looking forward to making a delicious tea to warm their bodies, ease their minds and gently stimulate their immune systems.  Today it will be Sunshine Tea.  This is a family favorite made with chamomile and St. John’s wort flowers.   It soothes a sadden heart and quells a worried mind, like a hug that let’s you know everything will be okay.  Some other day  homemade herbal chai with warming herbs and  antioxidant rich roobios could hit the spot.   Another afternoon could call for peppermint and lemon balm to refresh yet relax the brain and body.

chamomile blossoms

My children enjoy tea in a few ways.  We have a small lovely tea set complete with cups and saucers.  They love to sit at the table for a quaint tea party resplendent with pinkies in the air and a bit of practicing our English accents.  It is great fun and a lovely way to spend a bit of time together.  We also have some wonderful personal sized tea pots, one for each of us, each with it’s own brewing basket.  The kids were gifted these from grandma one Christmas.  The pots are very cheery and feature the kid’s favorite colors.  They feel very big indeed to have their own pot to pour from into their favorite cup, a kitty cup for one cutie and a puppy cup for the other.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes.  Herbal teas offer a great way to provide healthful vitamins and minerals, boost a stressed out immune system and ease a tense mind.  Just the aromatic fragrance when sipping tea is good medicine.

Sunshine Tea ~

Combine equal parts of chamomile and St. John’s Wort with the lavender, about 1 tablespoon of each herb per cup of water.  Cover with boiling water and a lid to keep in all the yummy therapeutic essential oils.  Steep for 3 to 6 minutes, no longer.  Strain and add honey to taste.  My kids love it with Lemon Balm Honey!

Herbal Chai ~

  • 12 to 18 Cloves
  • 14 to 18 Cardamom Pods
  • 2 sticks of Cinnamon or a palmful of Cinnamon Chips
  • 4 nice size slices of Ginger Root
  • 2 teaspoon Fennel Seeds (opt.)
  • 2 tablespoons Roobios
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of milk
  • Honey

Smash all the herbs in a mortar and pestle until they are busted open.  Give ’em some love while you grind.  This is a great time to put love into your tea.  Then put the herbs in the water and slowly simmer for at least 20 minutes, I like to do more if I can.  Add the milk and warm then take off the heat and add the roobios.  Steep for 10 minutes and strain.  Add honey to taste!  Delicious healthy tummy loving!!

Peppermint Lemon Balm Tea~

Combine equal parts of peppermint and lemon balm, about 1 tablespoon of each herb per cup of water.  Cover with boiling water and the a lid to keep in all the yummy therapeutic essential oils.  Steep for 15 minutes or longer.  Strain and enjoy!

How do you welcome your kids home from school?

Shared on: The Kid’s Co-op, Sunday Parenting Party, Afterschool Party

Categories: Back to School, Chamomile, Herbal Medicines, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Ingredients And Herbs, Lemon Balm, Natural Family Care, Parenting, Peppermint, St John's Wort | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Fresh Thyme And Lemon Balm Honey

The first snow is magical.  We were blessed with that special magic just over a week ago.  Just a light dusting,  it was beautiful.  The snow brought huge smiles to my girls’ faces in anticipation of winter fun.  Preparation for the storm included a trip the garden for one last harvest.  My little one followed along side me and helped me bring in our veggies and herbs.  As we rambled through the yard we found our  way to the fairy garden we planted a couple of months ago during the heat of summer.  We found a large amount of thyme and lemon balm all ready to come inside and join us for the winter.  We decided to make a little treat for getting us through the long winter ahead ~ herbal infused honey, yummy!

Fresh Thyme and Lemon Balm Needs A Bit Of Sorting

Infusing honey with herbs could not be easier…

Pack the herb into the bottom of a jar.

Fresh Thyme

Pour honey over the top.  Use a chop stick or a knife to stir the herbs into the honey because the honey will sit on top of the herbs and need a bit of help making its way to the bottom of the jar.

Before Stirring The Honey In

Some fun gooey bubbles will come up and insight potential giggles from little onlookers.

Honey Bubbles

After stirring you will see the honey level go down and will need to add some more to top it off.  Perhaps the fairies took a little sip?

After Stirring

Then comes the hardest part, waiting.  Waiting for the honey to be done.  If you can, try to wait at least a week before you start eating your honey.  Truth be told we have already “tasted” the honeys many times and even had some on pancakes.  Ah well…

Make sure to label your honey and stir it every day.    Or you can simply turn the jar over a couple of times a day.  This great tip and a wonderful video tutorial from Mountain Rose Herbs on making herbal honeys can be found HERE.  After a week or so has passed either strain the herbs out of your honey or just eat them along with the honey.

Please Note:  When infusing fresh herbs in honey you want to be sure to keep the herbs covered in honey so they don’t rot.  The water content in the herbs is what makes this happen.  By keeping the herbs covered the honey preserves them and prevents spoilage.  It is really hard to keep the herbs covered which is why turning the jar over a couple of times a day is just brilliant   Because the flipping of the jar doesn’t keep the herbs submersed in honey, but it does keep the herbs coated and that does the trick!

How to use infused honey…

Well this is the easy part!  

A tasty spoonful here and there…
Spread on biscuits and toast…
A big dollop in a cup of tea…

It gets even better though because the HONEY is infused with the medicinal properties of the plants, it becomes delicious little immune system boost during the winter.  Along with the amazing healing benefits of honey, LEMON BALM is a wonderful antiviral which eases tension in the nervous system and lifts the spirits.  Thyme, rich in essential oils, is an antiseptic that is amazing for spasmodic coughs and fighting off infection.  The thyme combined with soothing honey should be wonderfully soothing for respiratory issues.

Does it get any better than this?

Lemon Balm and Thyme Honey

Shared on: Natural Living MondayThe Woodwife’s Journal, Kid’s Co-op

Categories: Herbal Crafts And Projects, Herbal Gift Ideas, Herbal Medicines, Herbs For Cooking, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Infused Honey, Lemon Balm, Medicine Making | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

Honeyed Peach Lemon Balm Sorbet

Each summer finds me eagerly awaiting the arrival of the peaches.  To me peaches are the best of summer captured in fuzzy orbs of juicy deliciousness.  Blessed are we to have a local farmer’s market just minutes from our door where the most amazing organic peaches are sold freshly picked off the trees.  And each week the stout farmers from Morton’s Orchards drive their beautiful fruit through the Rocky Mountains to bring those of us on the Front Range of Colorado peaches, apricots and cherries.  And, it gets even better because they sell seconds.  Seconds!  I really shouldn’t be telling you this because the seconds are coveted and they go fast.  You have to get to the market before it even opens and stand in line to get your box of seconds.  The “second” peaches are super tasty even if they are a little funny looking at times.  I consider it an honor when I am lucky enough to get my own box of seconds.

This past weekend I was one of the happy few to get a box of seconds.  And throughout the week we have enjoyed munching on bright juicy peaches savoring each tasty bite.  But now the week has grown old and I still have a lot of peaches.  After a bit of thought I decided to whip out the ice cream maker to create some peach sorbet.  For a bit of pizzazz cheery lemon balm seems like the perfect accompaniment.  If you have never had lemon balm, I highly suggest you seek it out.  Bright and happy, lemon balm has a beautiful lemony scent that lends it’s self well to many foods.  Plus it is a beneficial plant for the nervous system and it great during the heat of summer for crankiness that comes when we get tired and overheated.  Click here to read more about this special plant.

Lemon balm in the garden

Making Sorbet

Here is what you will need:

  • 6 to 8 super ripe peaches, pit removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of farm stand honey (plus more to adjust for taste, just in case)
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 5 sprigs of fresh lemon balm, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice

Easy Instructions:

Mix the hot water and honey to dissolve the honey.  Place everything in the blender and whirl it up until well blended.  Then just pour it in your ice cream maker and wait, patiently…

For a more in-depth discussion about making sorbet visit Simply Cooking.  She recommends using just a bit of alcohol to keep the sorbet from getting rock hard.  I think this is ingenious yet I didn’t do it with this sorbet because I wanted my kiddos to partake.  I am looking forward to someday giving it a try.

Shared on the Living Green Link-up and the Natural Living Link-Up 

Categories: Herbs For Cooking, Kitchen Creations, Lemon Balm | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Herbal Infusions for Children

Herbal infusions are great for all people and are especially wonderful for
children because infusions are high in vitamins and minerals which growing bodies need.
The best herbs to use for infusions are like healthy foods and each have their own set of characteristics.  To appease children many herbs can be made into very yummy beverages.  You can serve infusions warm, at room temperature or iced.  Feel free to add lemon, agave nectar, honey or even juice to taste.  Below is a quick reference list of a few favorite herbs for children’s infusions.  For further information about these herbs please visit the Materia Medica section of Mama Rosemary.
Chamomile ~ Tastes appley, bittersweet… kids say: great!
  • calming, relaxing
  • good for digestive stuff (tummy aches especially related to nervousness)
  • promotes rest
  • useful for complaining and whininess.
Contraindications ~ A very few people are allergic to chamomile and other plants in the Asteracea (daisy) familyImportant ~ Only steep chamomile for 3 to 8 minutes as it gets very bitter if left to steep any longer, my kids won’t drink chamomile if I infuse it for longer than 4 minutes.
Lemon Balm ~ Tastes lemony, yummy …. kids say: delicious!
  • refreshing and cooling so great during hot weather
  • calming for hyperactive children
  • helps relieve nervousness and crying
  • good for digestive stuff
  • antiviral and bacterial so great during cold and flu season
Lycium Berry ~  Tastes fruity, super yum… my kids love them soaked in apple juice!
  • high in bioflavonoids and polysaccarides
  • tonic for blood, eyes, kidneys and immune system.
  • Can use as a substitute for raisins.
Mints (Spearmint/Peppermint) ~ Tastes yummy, classic mint taste… kids say: great!
  • centering
  • helpful for digestive stuff, eases gas and cramping
  • antiviral
Nettle ~ Tastes green, milky, kinda like soup… kids say: not bad
  • extremely high in vitamins and mineral
  • whole body tonic especially for  mucus membranes and blood         
Oatstraw ~ Tastes bland… kids say: great
  • soothing to nervous system
  • high in vitamins and minerals

Rose Hips ~ Tastes yummy, kinda sour… kids say: great!

  • high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids
  • tones and nourishes mucus membranes
  • Soak the hips in juice or water to make a super yummy “jam”.

Note:  Taste ratings are mostly taken from Kids, Herbs & Health, this is a great reference book for parents!

 Yummy Combinations ~
 Equal parts spearmint, peppermint & lemon balm, add nettle or oatstraw for even more nutrients.
 Equal parts lemon balm, oatstraw and rose hips
  Equal parts lemon balm and chamomile
  Equal parts rose hips and lycium
  Equal parts nettle and oatstraw
Another Fun Drink for Kids: 
Almond Milk ~ high in calcium and protein, hypoallergenic (most kids do great with almonds)  To make fresh, simply soak 1 cup of  raw almonds overnight in water in the refridge.  Drain and rinse the almonds . Place in a blender with 1 quart of water and blend for 1 to 5 minutes.  Strain thru a jelly bag and enjoy!  Almond milk will keep for 2 days in the refridge.  Use the left over nut meat in baked goods, casseroles etc…
 A Couple Great Books for further study:
  • A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra 
  • Kids, Herbs, and Health by Linda B. White and Sunny Mavor
Categories: Chamomile, Herbal Tips And Tricks, Herbs For Kids and Mamas, Ingredients And Herbs, Kitchen Creations, Lemon Balm, Lesson Plans For Preschool And Home, Oatstraw, Peppermint, Roses | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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