After one of the wettest winters I can remember, the appearance of the sun and the feeling of the warmth it gives, sends such a feeling of joy and hope that change is in air. My favourite flower, the daffodil, is brightening up gardens everywhere and the lambs are arriving to the shocking reality of a cold wet environment after their five months inside their mother.
If you suffer from S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), or you are just fed up with the weather, then there is an easily grown herb which can help you. Lemon balm, melissa officinalis, a member of the mint family, is the herbal tea to drink to uplift your mood.
How does lemon balm tea make you feel?
Since the Middle Ages it has been used as a calming herb and helps you see the glass as half full rather than half empty. It is known to reduce stress and ease anxiety as well as improve sleep, and it is also said to help with indigestion. Lemon balm grows most of the year but like all in the mint family, it hibernates underground in winter and then comes up with more vigour in the Spring and Summer.
This year I had one plant that didn’t hibernate at all which was great for fresh herb tea supply! With Lemon balm herbal tea, fresh, is definitely best, but if you haven’t got it in your garden yet, then tea bags are available. Make sure when you are making herbal teas, use about six leaves per cup and cover the brewing infusion and leave for at least five minutes. The delicious lemon flavour can be enhanced with a little honey if you prefer.
Spring is also the time to plant other herbs to enjoy in your meals and increase the nutritional value as well as add taste and flavour. Your garden centre will have a good selection, but be patient about planting basil, as it is very sensitive to the cold. I recommend waiting until Spring is well established before planting basil as a companion herb to your tomatoes.
Spring is a great time to be planting a wide variety of herbs, here are a few tips to ensure your herbs flourish:
- Water herbs daily but don’t over water as they don’t like to sit in soggy soil
- Find a sunny spot for your herbs – most herbs enjoy plenty of sun
- As the weather warms up, it is important to keep your herbs watered and remove any parts of the plant that die off or go to seed. It’s a good idea to also remove any flowers that form
- Herbs can be used fresh or if you have excess, you can freeze them. It’s best to chop them up first before freezing
Let’s welcome Spring with open arms and enjoy all the joys it can bring.
- Written By Lynn Kirkland (Herbalist and Founder of The Herb Farm