The ancient people of Greece observed that bees were strongly attracted to the uplifting fragrance of Lemon Balm and planted this herb near hives. In fact, the botanical name; Melissia officinalis is derived from the Greek word for bees. After being introduced to Europe by the Moors, this “elixir of life” became very popular during the Middle Ages and became known as “cure all.” The plant was used to support sleep, soothe the nervous system and calm a gassy digestive system.*
Our recipe for lemon balm is the perfect “balm” for a hot summer day when we are feeling hot and perhaps a little agitated. The cooling properties of lemon balm team up with the barley, which is used medicinally across many cultures, notably Britain, Greece and parts of Asia. Barley water with orange is served to the tennis players during Wimbledon. Ayurveda extolls the diuretic and digestive tonic properties and Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends barley as a liver tonic. In China they even discard the grain and use the remaining barley water only! *
Barley is a wonderful source of beta-glucan, a polysaccharide which has been shown to have a beneficial effect upon the immune system, our microbiome and many health-related conditions.*
Lovely Lemon Balm Barley Lemonade
(a recipe and a tongue-twister!)
Makes 5 cups
¼ cup organic pearled barley
¼ cup of organic raisins (optional)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Juice of 4 organic lemons (4 fl. Oz)
Zest of 1 small lemon (optional)
2 tablespoons of organic Lemon Balm Leaf c/s
3 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (approximately- adjust according to your desired sweetness level)
- Soak the barley and the raisins in 1 ½ cups of water overnight in a pan.
- Add one quart of water to the existing water, barley, and raisins.
- Add the salt and lemon zest to the pan.
- Cover the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the lemon balm to the hot liquid.
- Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
- Strain and retain the liquid.
- Add the maple syrup and the lemon juice and stir.
NOTE: barley is a gluten-containing grain