4 Life Lessons from Lemon Balm to Inspire Your Best Self

Published on February 17, 2016

"Melissa causeth the mind and heart to become merry... and drivers away all troublesome cares and thoughts..." ~Culpepper's Herbal, 1652

I wasn't aware that a plant could bring out the best in me until I met Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis). Especially in the doldrums of winter, her uplifting essence is appreciated. I turn to Lemon Balm for more than just feeling uplifted.* Like Echinacea, Lemon Balm gives me direction in life. Whether observing it in nature or using it in a daily wellness routine, we can all take a cue from this herb. Here are some of my favorite teachings from Lemon Balm.

Consistently grow

Lemon Balm is always looking for new opportunities to grow. Every year, I notice new patches of Lemon Balm growing on opposite ends of my garden. As a member of the Mint family, Lemon Balm thrives in a variety of temperatures and conditions, preferring some shade in warmer climates. Lemon Balm can be propagated easily through root divisions and can be shared with friends by just taking a clump of it and replanting. When you try to minimize her growth - by cutting her back, containing her growing area or digging her up - she will reappear, strong and vibrant. She is determined to keep growing, no matter what adversaries she faces.

Lemon Balm reminds us that growth should be a constant in life. The ongoing process of understanding and developing ourselves to reach our fullest potential is a vital part of happiness and success. Ironically, as we continue to focus on our personal growth - confronting our internal fears, asking the tough questions and striving to be better every day - our world view also expands, and we are more conscious of the world around us and how we fit into it. Growth challenges us, but the rewards are innumerable and immeasurable.

Be Calm and Uplifting

When you rub a leaf of Lemon Balm between your fingers, you release the plant's volatile oils and can smell Lemon Balm's chemistry. The delicate minty, lemony aroma peacefully awakens the senses.* The volatile oils of Lemon Balm, such as citronella, that smell so good also help us move into a state of peaceful inspiration, gently guiding us to be leaders in our own lives.

I always strive to stay calm yet motivated, and those feelings are also the reason that Lemon Balm is one of my favorite herbs. Both the scent of Lemon Balm and its herbal action conjure feelings of confidence and ease, enabling concentration that leaves room for creative thought. I love to add Melissa Supreme Alcohol-Free Liquid Extract - with Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Gotu Kola and other nervines - to my water or herbal tea throughout the day.

Be Accessible to Everyone

Lemon Balm is not an intimidating plant. Its heart-shaped green leaves grow on stems that can reach up to two feet, with small, delicate white flowers appearing in the summertime. Lemon Balm grows in clumps, blending in with the greenery around it. It's not a plant that would strike you with its beauty, but that's why I love it. Gardeners, chefs and even kids can experiment with it and access it. We use Lemon Balm in a variety of our GaiaKids® formulas, including Tummy Tonic with Chamomile, Fennel, Ginger and other herbs to help ease an occasional upset stomach.* Lemon Balm soothes nervous tension in our digestive system as well as our minds.*

Let Lemon Balm remind you of the rewards of being accessible to everyone. As Maya Angelou said:

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Cultivate self-love

For me, the most profound effect of Lemon Balm is reminding me of the importance of cultivating self-love. Lemon Balm can help silence the internal critic, quieting mind chatter that can cause doubt that interrupts the trajectory of your dreams.* The more I work with plants, especially Lemon Balm, the more I feel myself opening up to ... myself. Lemon Balm has lifted the mental self-doubt and eased the velocity of my mind. It has opened me up in a way that is subtle yet strong. This duality is what you see when you observe the growing patterns of Lemon Balm: At first it appears subtly, and the next thing you know it is everywhere.  Be like Lemon Balm, and remember to propagate your self-love.