How to make perfect lemon balm tincture and how to use it

Lemon balm (latin: Melissa officinalis; polish: Melisa lekarska) is a great herb to make tincture from. It contains many substances that are beneficial to our health. The most important ingredient present in lemon balm leaves is the essential oil, whose main ingredients are citral, citronellal and geraniol.

Lemon balm by Wikipedia

Simplest recipe to make lemon balm tincture is to put leaves to a glass jar, add vodka or spirit (not stronger than 70% alc/vol – 140 proof) to cover up the leaves. Seal the jar tightly and keep lemon balm in alcohol for minimum 2 weeks up to 1 month. Later strain and store tincture in a dark glass bottle. 

When needed use 15 drops dissolved in water. If you would like to know more about healing properties of lemon balm and have more detailed recipes you will find it all in this article. I’m making tinctures since 2001, with all kinds of lemon balm drinks that I tasted and literature which I gathered I tried able to put it all into a ultimate lemon balm compendium. Have a good lecture and hope that you would have success with your own tincture. 

I will cover uses, benefits, dosage and at the end of article you can also find a list of equipment that might be useful when you will be making a lemon balm tincture by yourself.

More recipes – check on my blog

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Where to buy lemon balm for tincture?

If you are not using fresh herb you can find dried lemon balm on Amazon here – Organic Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis Dried Loose Leaf by Nature Tea (2 oz)

What are most known lemon balm properties?

As mentioned the most important ingredient of lemon balm leaves is the essential oil, which you can buy and use in aromatherapy. 

In addition to essential oil, lemon balm leaves also contain:

  • tannins,
  • flavonoids,
  • mucilage,
  • chlorophyll,
  • carotenoids,
  • and phenolic acids, of which the most active are: rosemary, caffeic and ferulic acid.

These acids have strong antioxidant properties.

Lemon balm is best known for its calming properties, which have long been used in folk medicine.

Infusion of lemon balm relieves severe nervousness, neurosis, excessive agitation, as well as problems with falling asleep. Melissa oil also relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, so you can drink an infusion of lemon balm, e.g. for problems with flatulence.

How to use lemon balm leaves for tincture to keep calming properties?

The calming effect of lemon balm is due to the essential oil contained in it. Remember that this oil can be found only in the small hair on the edges of lemon balm leaves. 

They tend to break quickly and easily, so when you make tincture make sure to use fresh leaves. They would have best tension reducing and sedative effect, which was confirmed in research conducted by Dr. H. Różański.

What are other lemon balm beneficial properties?

Quite frequently people are wondering what is lemon balm tincture good for, is it only the calming effect that it has? 

Fortunately no, it has a lot of other properties. 

The phenolic compounds present in lemon balm – flavonoids and phenolic acids – have a strong antioxidant effect. 

Antioxidants eliminate the action of free radicals, which are one of the reasons for the development of such diseases as atherosclerosis, diabetes and neurological diseases. 

This means that drinking an infusion of lemon balm can lower the risk of developing these diseases.

Melissa oil also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. 

Studies have shown that the antiviral properties of lemon balm oil (used on the skin) affect, among others for herpes virus. 

It is therefore possible to drink lemon balm supportively in states of reduced immunity and during bacterial and viral infections. 

However, please remember that the use of lemon balm may impair the ability to drive vehicles, so be careful with it.

Simple recipe for dry lemon balm tincture 

Wash freshly picked lemon balm leaves and put them in dark bottle. Add vodka or spirit to cover leaves – make sure that it’s between 40% alc/vol to 70% alc/vol strong. 

Leave it for 2 weeks. After this time strain and store in a dark bottle. 

Use 15 drops dissolved in water in states nervousness and insomnia, colds and when you feel nausea.

How do you dilute alcohol lemon balm tincture?

Dilute 15 drops of tincture in approximately one-quarter cup of water. 

Approximately one teaspoon of tincture will equal the medicinal strength of one cup of infusion, but many studies have shown greater effect of water-alcohol extracts.

What type of alcohol is used for tinctures?

Most spirits used for drinking will work, but vodka or other grain alcohols that are at least 40% alc/vol (80-proof) work best. In case of lemon balm make sure that you will not use alcohol stronger that 70% alc/vol (140-proof).

Is the alcohol in lemon balm tincture harmful?

Alcohol is one of the best substances for extracting and concentrating the constituents in most herbs. Taken in small amounts this alcohol is not harmful. But as with all alcoholic drinks, taking too much of this tincture may impair your ability to drive for example. 

How long do lemon balm tincture last?

When stored in a cool, dry place, herbal tinctures last at least three years, if not longer. If you use dark bottles, they will last longer because the light will not damage them. If your area is humid or hot several months out of the year, try storing them in the refrigerator during the hot and humid season, so they last longer.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to make lemon balm tincture?

Never, ever use other alcohol than drinking spirits. No methyl alcohol, denatured alcohol or rubbing alcohol can be used because all are either toxic or unpalatable (avoid all contact with methanol !). 

Although most tinctures are made with vodka, you can also use other spirits, such as whisky, rum or gin, having in mind that it will affect final taste of your tincture – but such experiments can be a great fun!

Lemon balm in cosmetics and aromatherapy

You can use lemon balm not only for your tincture. All those beneficial properties of lemon balm herb can also be used in home cosmetic treatments. 

The infusion of lemon balm, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, works well for people with seborrheic and prone to pimples. 

A tonic prepared on its basis will have a soothing effect on the skin, regulating the sebaceous glands and alleviating inflammatory changes.

On the basis of lemon balm, you can also prepare a hair rinse. It is especially recommended for people with oily hair. It will also help fight dandruff.

Lemon balm oil can be used in aromatherapy. Just pour a few drops into the aromatherapy fireplace or air humidifier so that the relaxing aroma of lemon balm floats throughout your apartment.

Recommened edequipment – what you may need to have to make such tincture at home

I hope that you have found my article useful. Below I’ve gathered all items that I am using when making my tinctures, some of them, like airtight jars, are necessary, some are just handy, you do not need to have them all to be able to make a good tincture.  

recommended tincture equipment
Tincture equipment examples
  1. Airtight jars.
  2. Mortar for herbs – granite.
  3. Mortar for herbs – stainless steel.
  4. Funnels for filling bottles.
  5. Large bottles, dark glass.
  6. Medium bottles, dark glass.
  7. Small bottles with dropper, dark glass.
  8. Cloth for tincture filtering.
  9. Coffee filters for tincture filtering.
  10. Alcohol meter to check how strong is your vodka/spirit.
  11. Tincture press for better extraction.

    Here you can also find a more detailed post with list of equipment that might be useful.

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Damian from PolishTinctures
Best regards from Kraków!

If you are looking also for other recipes, check out my blog – I have written about almost 100 other tinctures, use the search option below and you might find what you are looking for:


Other names of lemon balm

If you would like to check more info about the lemon balm here you can find article about it

It is also known under such names: Balm, Balm Mint, Bálsamo de Limón, Common Balm, Cure-All, Dropsy Plant, Honey Plant, Melisa, Melissa, Melissa officinalis, Melissae Folium, Mélisse, Mélisse Citronnelle, Mélisse Officinale, Melissenblatt, Monarde, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary, Toronjil.

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