Lemon balm Experience

Personal Experiences with Lemon Balm tincture.

The following is a write up of my experience of lemon balm taken in tincture form.

The tincture – I made the tincture myself using the traditional method, that is to say I filled my jar with lemon balm and then filled it up with 55° local fruit alcohol. Sorry no measures and as for the alcohol, I always try to use home-distilled alcohol or at least locally produced fruit alcohol. It may have a lower alcohol content but in my opinion the fruit add soul and its less industrial.

I took a teaspoon full of the tincture twice daily.

Uses of Lemon balm – sedative, generally used for sleeping problems, nervousness, depression, anxiety, panic attacks. Primary action on the nervous system and secondary on the digestive, heart, thyroid and endocrine systems.

First observations – Things that would normally have triggered an emotional reaction (yes I am someone overly sensitive) didn’t have this effect. I felt like there was a distance between myself and what was happening outside myself (not bad, isn’t this what we try and attain when witnessing ourselves when meditating?), this sensation was quite pleasant.

Observations after three weeks  – little by little the effect of the tincture became oppressive. A heavy feeling, in fact the sedative action was taking me over.  At the same time, the inner me remained centred and calm. I noticed a more acute perception as if noticed even more than usual peoples motivations and weaknesses…I had a great need to be alone. People began to perturb me.

The speed at which I did things and my intellectual reactions were considerably diminished, as if my brain had been slowed down (not that it is extremely fast at the best of timesJ)

I had lost the ‘action’ part of my personality and carried out my business much more slowly.

I also had a feeling of melancholy, sadness, even slight depression.

The culminating point was when I felt totally ‘drugged up’ with a physical tiredness and feeling of being disconnected with the rest of the world.

In terms of the heart sphere, I soon felt a slowing down and my blood pressure lowered.

The very powerful ‘yin’ energy showed itself in a weariness/listlessness. I noticed dry skin on my face and a slight depression that I accepted.

Symbolically, this plant is linked to the heart and physically it can help calm an excitable heart. I felt that energetically it allowed me to look honestly at the needs of the heart, to be more sensitive to circulating energies at this level, opening of the heart, admit my fragility as well…a powerful plant!

Plant Spirit Meditation

I used Eliot Cowan’s system of meditating with the plant while listening to shamanic drumming for 15 minutes with the intention to ask for information from the plant about its actions.

Results – In order to meet the plant, I had the impression of entering deeply into the earth, I came out in a place that I remembered from childhood, a secret garden, where I used to go to be alone and close to nature. This very feminine, internalising aspect was present during the three weeks of experience.

The first message was very symbolic and I haven’t completely understood it yet : the lemon balm plant came into me through my vagina, went up into my body until it reached my head…..was the plant teaching me by entering into me or was it showing me that it had an action on all the systems….reproductive, digestive, cardiac, endocrine..?

The principal message of the meditation was visual and very clear…two large cords attached to the bottom of my feet and anchored strongly to the earth and at the same time my third eye was wide open, pulsating with orange and red colours. I understood that these images symbolised the stabilising, organic and grounded side of this plant at the same time a developed, strong and powerful perception.

Conclusion – What is sure for me is that lemon balm is a powerful plant especially for the central nervous system. I ask myself questions in terms of doses and duration…of course a lot depends on the case in hand. In terms of my experimentation, I didn’t have any major problems in the relevant spheres and it is surely for this reason that I felt certain negative effects even sometimes the opposite of those wished for, for example light depression, melancholy, nervousness – perhaps due to large doses or too long a duration. I already have quite a developed yin side so I think that adding more of this energy takes me far too much into the earth and inside myself. I imagine this being more beneficial for beings with too much yang. I also have a generally low blood pressure so a plant that slows down the heart rhythm takes me easily into a state of tiredness.

I was surprised at the powerfulness of this plant and I am now convinced of the important role that lemon balm has in herbal medicine. It shows that it is extremely important to understand the patient’s personal profile and the desired effect for example high doses could provoke sleepiness and sensations of sedation and micro doses on the contrary could stimulate the person. I think in the future I will begin with herbal infusions or low doses and keep to 21 days max. Seems to show interesting features for very speedy, highly tensed, overly active profiles that really need to simmer down, calm and anchor themselves both to the ground and with their inner selves.

What is interesting is that I did this experiment after having done a similar thing with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum). Everyone uses St John’s Wort, here in France, it is one of the number one plants especially for light depressive states, sleep, problems etc and lemon balm is seen as more a herbal tea plant, nice but with not much character. Wow has my impression changed, St john’s wort had a much gentler effect, working on rhythms (melatonin) and needing time to take effect, it irons things out, less ups and downs and in comparison Lemon balm slows everything down, heart, thyroid, nervous system are really bought right down to a go slow level.

I will continue researching the effects of lemon balm with the hydrosol next.