Lemon Balm(Melissa officinalis) is a safe herb, not only for dogs but cats and horses as well. Native to the Middle East, Lemon Balm has been used medicinally and as a flavoring in cooking for centuries. Many people grow it for it’s wonderful lemon scent, it’s ability to repel insects, and it’s cheery light green foliage.
A member of the mint family, Lemon Balm can easily be found as starter plants at most garden centers, or if you are like me you can start your plants from seeds. I just love watching the seeds sprout and grow! It’s a great way to pass the time as you wait for winters end.
Lemon Balm is known as a nervine or an herb that effects the nervous system. It’s most often given to dogs that have separation anxiety, are afraid of loud noises like fireworks or thunder, or a dog that is just generally anxious. It may also help with hyperactive dogs.
Many times a dog who is anxious can also have an anxious or upset stomach. Lemon Balm works well for minor stomach upset, while also helping to relax and calm your pup.
Does your dog have noxious gas that can drive even the toughest person right out of the room? Well Lemon Balm might be able to help with that as it can help to reduce gas.
Repels Biting Insects
Lemon Balm contains high levels of a compound called citronellal, which is what gives it it’s lemony scent. Although bees and butterflies are attracted to Lemon Balm, biting insects such as mosquitoes and other pesky biting bugs are repelled by it’s scent. You can either make Lemon Balm tea, put some in a spray bottle and spray as needed, or if you have Lemon Balm growing in your garden just grab a few leaves, smash them a bit in your hands to release the powerful oils and rub them on your dog. The scent is pleasant but can be strong so make sure not to get the spray or crushed leaves close to your dogs eyes or nose.
Good For Wounds
Lemon Balm has anti-viral and antimicrobial properties which are very helpful during wound healing. Just make an herbal tea(will talk about that later) with Lemon Balm and use it as a disinfecting rinse to promote healing. Another option is to make a poultice. Just mash up a few fresh leaves, place on the wound and apply a bandage.
How to make Lemon Balm Tea
I usually use dried herbs when making teas for my dogs, but you can certainly use fresh herbs as well.
Teas are very simple to make. If using fresh herbs, coarsely chop about 2 tablespoons of leaves, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the leaves, and let it sit until cool. Being that Lemon Balm is non toxic and safe I don’t get hung up on measurements, this is just a general rule. If you are using dried herbs instead of fresh generally you would use an amount less than the fresh herbs, but as I said that’s a general rule According to Dr Susan Wynn DVM 1-2 tablespoons of dried herb can be substituted for fresh, give 1/4-1/2 cup of the tea per 20 pounds of body weight divided daily optimally three times a day
If using topically as a rinse, just follow the same directions above. After the tea has cooled use the tea to clean and disinfect the wound.
Not only does Lemon Balm have a delightful scent, it’s many medicinal uses make it a must have in your home and garden.